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Ah, roommates. Sometimes you can’t afford to live without ‘em — but it’s not so easy to live with them. I’m a big advocate of a roommate agreement, through which everyone in the apartment sets up policies about utilities, pets, parking, etc. But even before you get to that point, there are a few questions you might want to ask, whether you’re doing a year-long share or just summer weekends:
What’s The Guest Policy?
You may assume that you’re each paying for a bedroom and that friends might occasionally stay over — only to discover that one of your roommates has a steady who hangs around all the time, acting as a ghost roommate and drinking all the milk. The political way to inquire about this might be, “I had this happen in my last place and we were all a little surprised… how do you expect us to handle visitors?”
What’s The Deal With The Common Areas?
If you’re living with a basketball fan, you deserve to know that you’re not getting near the TV during March Madness. If you’re living with a cook, it’s good to know that you’ll have to fight for kitchen time. (Although I can say, based on a decade of experience with roomies, it’s always good to live with a cook.)
Where Did The Couch Come From?
When you’re applying to live on someone else’s turf, try to find out if one roommate has brought all the living room furniture — and if it all disappears when she moves out. (Conversely, if you hate the couch, try to discreetly find out if you can help replace it.)