I live in a 2 bedroom (leased) apartment that I share with a friend. Our yearly lease expires in March. My friend has recently decided to cohabitate with his boyfriend, and has found a new apartment. Not wanting to move myself, but not quite able to foot the rent/bills myslef, I’ll be staying put but looking for a new roomie. This is the first time that I’ve been on this side of the situation - I’m the guy screening prospective new roomies, rather than interviewing to be the new roomie.
So I’d appreciate whatever advice folks can give me about screening potential new room-mates. Of course, there are a few basics I’m sure of - no smokers, no pets (that’s in the lease), must be employed. Preferably I’d want someone in my age range (40), and somebody sober (as I am), but that I’d be flexible on.
But what advice can anybody share on the subject? What should I look out for? What should I CLEARLY SPELL OUT beforehand? What should I be prepared for? What are your own experiences/ horror stories of finding a room-mate?
You should probably require first and last months rent up front.
You should retain the right to kick them out for behavior you find objectionable. If possible, you should try to see where they’re currently living so you’ll know how they live.
Preferably deal with someone who already lives in the area - this way you can meet them in person beforehand (treat it like a first, blind, internet date - meet at a Starbucks (or similar) during daylight).
I’m looking for a roomie right now too. roommates.com costs money and craigslist is free, but I find the “quality” (highly subjective, obviously) of people on roommates.com is higher than on craigslist. Maybe the roommates.com people are a little more serious about it, since they’re willing to pony up the $20 or so (it depends) for the service.
Have someone else look over your conditions prior to laying them out. If you’re being unreasonable about something, you might do well to relax your standards or you may have a hard time finding a roomie.
Get a written lease. Spell out who is living in the room, utlities, overnight guests. Include a clause “Any illegal acitivity is grounds for immediate eviction.” Rent should be paid by the first in cash.
Above all, don’t take any bullshit. Pay or leave. Don’t try to be “nice” about collecting the rent. If your roommate doesn’t have the money, find out when they will have it. If they don’t have it by that date, tell them to hit the road.