A roommate is a great way to supplement some of the costs associated with living off campus. However, your happiness with your living environment can be greatly affected by your roommate relationships. Keep in mind that friends are not always the best roommates. Before moving into a rental with someone, it is wise to set up expectations. A contract between the parties is a great example of how to develop expectations with your roommates.
If you are looking for roommates, there are resources to list this information, just as there are resources to list rental properties. You may post listings for roommates on craigslist.org, Facebook Marketplace, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and around MSU. A word of caution: Thoroughly screen each candidate before adding them to a lease.
Be aware that Bozeman city code has the Rule of Four, which states that no more than four unrelated people may reside in a single household unit.
Questions to Ask Potential Roommates
Before you move in together, it's important to discuss common expectations about living together. Questions should have clear answers, and it's not a bad idea to put expectations into writing so that everyone is on the same page.
- What are their general lifestyle habits? Do they keep their living area clean and organized?
- What are their social and study habits? What is their typical level of noise?
- What is their school/work schedule?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- How do they solve conflicts? Are they willing to compromise?
- How will you handle paying bills? Whose name will be on the utilities and how will the cost of these monthly expenses be covered? Who will pay the internet, garbage, electric and water bills? What happens if a payment is missed?
- Are you going to share food and other items?
- How will you split cleaning responsibilities?
- Will you have overnight guests and visitors?
- Do they smoke?
- Do they have any allergies?
- Are pets acceptable? What type and how many?
- Does the person with the bigger room need to compensate the others?
- What is your expected level of privacy?
What about alcohol and throwing parties? How will we maintain safety?
Things to Consider
- A bad roommate can affect your credit, finances and future housing opportunities.
- Beware of roommates you don’t know, and ones you do. High school friends might not be the best roommates.
- Roommate switches are common, but require proper documentation and landlord approval.
- Roommates should be treated like business partners with a written agreement.
- License your pet; it’s the law.
- All dogs must be on leash, unless in your fenced yard or in a designated dog park.
- Pick up after your dog – keep Bozeman beautiful.
- Three or more dogs living in one home require a kennel license.
- You can find the animal ordinances and licence information at the City of Bozeman's website.