What to look for in a house share situation
January 22, 2008 10:22 AM Subscribe
Young (24) single female looking to sublet a room or share a house with strangers in a large US city. What things should I look for/insist on to maximize my chances of having a pleasant, safe, experience?
posted by needs more cowbell to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
(I've left the city unnamed because I don't know yet; right now I'm considering the Bay area but I may end up going someplace totally different.)
I've seen lots of nightmare roommate/housemate/rental situations on AskMe. I'm hoping to avoid falling into one of those situations. I'm not entirely naive (if anything, I'm overcautious and slightly terrified about the idea in general) but I'm sure there are things I wouldn't think of on my own. [Example: Previously, I rented a room in a house and the landlord--older man who did not live there--came over to watch TV and drink beer in the living room. I didn't expect that, but the signs were probably there, since he lived next door and still had much of his own furniture/stuff in the house's common areas when I signed the lease. Since the rooms were rented out individually by the landlord, there was nothing in the lease to prevent him from hanging out in the common areas like that. Now I know to be careful about that, but I'd like to avoid having to learn about everything like that by direct experience.]
Ideally I'd like to live in a housemate situation where people talk to each other and hang out in common areas rather than renting a room and not assimilating into the group. At minimum it's important to me that roommates don't steal my stuff, don't do hard drugs or have really unsavory guests, and don't flake out on their bills regularly.
What things are red flags? What things should I make sure to have (like lease specs) or ask about? I realize there are no guarantees in this sort of situation, but I'm sure there are rules of thumb. I'm worried that being too uptight and distrustful will make it hard to get along with roommates, but I also don't want to be overly trusting and then get really, really screwed. I'm open to any sort of advice about this.