Living with a roommate is rarely the optimal situation, but living with a roommate who doesn’t respect your space can be a downright nightmare. Sometimes we’re thrown into a situation we can’t control – we get assigned a roommate during college days; we are forced to live with someone we don’t like because we have no other affordable options, or we move in with a friend we think is great until living with that person. No matter what your situation is, if moving out isn’t an option, here’s how to survive living with a bad roommate.
Two wrongs don’t make a right
If you have a roommate who is disrespectful of your personal space, it can be tempting to be disrespectful right back. But this isn’t going to make your feel better long-term and it certainly isn’t going to fix any of your problems. If you focus on being a good roommate, there will be fewer fights and you won’t find yourself under attack when the two of you try to resolve problems.
Come up with house rules
Speaking of resolving problems, if you’re two very different people in terms of the living conditions that make you comfortable, you need to sit down together and come up with house rules. Be prepared to compromise. Maybe in exchange for your roommate agreeing to clean more often, you agree to allow overnight guests. Or, maybe you make a house rule to take turns buying the milk, but otherwise label your food and not eat anything the other person has purchased.
Lock your possessions
If you don’t trust or like your roommate, try spending as much time out of your place as possible and when you do leave, lock your possessions (at least, the ones that are important to you). If possible, lock your bedroom door, but if you share a bedroom (such as in a college or military dormitories situation), you can instead invest in a box or other container that locks which will at least help you secure your most important items like jewelry and money.
Split the bills evenly
The best way to handle bills is to split every thing evenly. Some roommates like to handle it with one roommate paying for electricity and another paying for cable (or whatever) and other times roommates take turns paying bills every month, but this can lead to problems since utilities bills aren’t always the same every month. Instead, split each bill down the middle to avoid fights.
Allison writes with RentersInsurance.com, where you and your roommate can both go to learn about insurance for renters and get plans for financial protection.