Find the right roommate, stay sane
When you’ve moved into a room in someone else’s house, you’re essentially at their mercy. You could unwittingly rent from someone likely to trash your furniture or to borrow and never, ever return your favorite shirt — you know, the one with the cat eating pizza while cruising the Milky Way.
Instead of throwing an all-night rager the night before your Econ midterm, a real MVP roommate will move the party down the street, to the nearest bar with $1 taps. Instead of letting their boyfriend or girlfriend park in the driveway, they’ll save that spot for a the person paying for it.
To head off issues before they start, you need to find your Ohio State soul-roommate. Here’s how.
1. Meet first, and ask good questions.
You might be in a rush to unpack and indulge in the college lifestyle, but agreeing to rent before meeting your roommate(s) opens the door to your worst housing nightmares. Get to know them — find out where they’re from, what they’re studying at OSU, if they’ve had roommates before. Ask if you get a parking space, what you’re expected to pay for utilities and — just real casually — if anyone’s carrying a criminal record. (Pro tip: If your housemate is on house arrest, you’ll have to live by the same rules they do at home.)
2. Observe the surroundings.
Does the listing say they’re “looking for a tidy tenant” but during the walk-through, you can hardly see the refrigerator over the pile of dishes in the sink? It’s probably code for “looking for a live-in house cleaner.” In lieu of food, is the fridge full of cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon? You might have met your match.
3. Check references.
Did their last room-renter run for the hills mid-semester? Although that’s conveniently created an opportunity for you, there might be a very good reason that renter abandoned ship. Ask for references from your potential roommate — and actually check them.
4. Set boundaries early.
If you found a future roommate that you want to spend the rest of your lease with, it’s time to set boundaries to protect your new apartment partnership. Are the condiments communal? Need to nix Thursday night house parties? Or do you use special expensive shampoos that they should keep their hands off of? Now’s the time to tell them.
Your Ohio State apartment should be a beautiful thing. And your MVP roommate will make sure of it.