Roommate in NYC
July 31, 2008 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Thinking about getting a roomate to live in my apartment in NYC...Where are good places to find one, please tell me some of your New York Roomate stories, and how I could screen for people to move in my place?

I currently live in a two bedroom apartment all by myself (it is a very nice Luxury here in manhattan). I have gotten into some debt and I thought that one of the good ways to get rid of it was to get a roomate at least for a temporary basis (i am thinking 3-4 months). I work a 9-5, and I am a part-time musician (the extra room currently has a recording set-up that I will have to take down)........I am worried about taking this step and would like to listen to all recommendations about how I can make the best of this fact if you think that it is a bad idea please say so (I also just got rid of my car and that will help a lot towards paying off my debt).

I am currently looking at craigslist as the main source to do this....are there any other places where I could find room-mates?

Thanks in advance.......
posted by The1andonly to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Craigslist is how I went in the past. I don't have much advice to give you except that if the future roommate mentions how where they last lived, their roommates were jerks, their roommates weren't the jerks and you should avoid this person. Ask questions about their last living arrangements, how it ended, etc.
posted by Stynxno at 1:27 PM on July 31, 2008

My wife and I are currently living with folks we found on It's been wonderful- We live with 2 Danes and a Frenchman and aside from getting to New York sort of "all over again", they've introduced us to entire ex-pat communities we didn't even know existed. Plus, you can hold language lessons or puzzle over cultural curiosities.

The downside is that most CSers, even though they're long term stays, probably won't stay more than 6 months, so plan for that. But when we put out the word about having open bedrooms, we got probably 15 replies.

On the other hand, usual roommate caveats apply. All of our brownies disappeared, the bathroom can be a crowded place, TV use can be annoying. But on the whole it's 95% positive.

As for screening, find a potential roommate, go get dinner or a few beers or invite them over to play Gears of War. Whatever you think you'd want in a roommate, try to set up a scenario to simulate that.
posted by GilloD at 1:52 PM on July 31, 2008

Craigslist is the place to go. This would fall under their "sublets and temporary" category. It will be fine.
I just went through this myself, in NY, last week for about the 4th time. Everyone does it.

Just have people come to the place to see it and meet you and have a friend on hand to help you judge people if you are nervous. Then you can gossip about which ones might turn out crazy. You'll be able to figure out within a short conversation whether or not you will live well with someone.

Ask about their hours and their cleaning habits- when do they get up for work? Come home? Is it ok to leave dishes in the sink? How often do you think the floor should be swept?
posted by rmless at 1:56 PM on July 31, 2008

go get dinner or a few beers or invite them over to play Gears of War

Along this vein, have the meeting be as casual as possible. I wouldn't go so far as going out to dinner or beers, but comfortable conversation in the living space with some alcohol seems to work. I've lived in a number of roommate situations, and the ones that fit best were the folks who I just enjoyed talking to and got along with.

I personally didn't think interrogating on dishes in the sink or sweeping of the floor was necessary, and honestly it was a turn-off if people asked it. Tell them how you take care of your apt, and be honest about it. Then gauge their reaction to it.

I would also think about what it's going to be like having someone living in your space.
I recently moved out of a place where I moved into someone's well-established home - she also needed the cash. It was really tough for me as I felt like I was always in someone's else's house.

So, I would find someone who is not going to be home much, doesn't care too much about their living situation and/or likes to live in their bedroom. This will probably mean that you will do the cleaning in the living room/kitchen since they won't use that space, but you do that now. And it might allow you to keep your living situation somewhat close to how it is now.
posted by anthropoid at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2008

Oh, and Craigslist was always the way to go for me, but Couchsurfing seems interesting.
posted by anthropoid at 2:53 PM on July 31, 2008

You can contact local universities in the area and asked to be listed there as well, if you'd be comfortable with a grad student.

Realize a roommate is like a guest who never leaves, and isn't really a guest, but someone with equal rights, especially once you draw up a subletting agreement. Have you had a roommate before?
posted by availablelight at 3:13 PM on July 31, 2008

availablelight....Yeah I have lived with roommates before but they were also very close friends that knew at what time i woke up and knew better than to make noise after 11pm during weekdays........I just wonder how people come to find and live with strangers because that i've never done.
posted by The1andonly at 4:11 PM on July 31, 2008

The1andonly, if it's your home and your listing on CL, than you get to set the parameters.

Remember that applicants are not doing you a favour by wanting to live in your house; it's a mutually beneficial arrangement. So be clear in what you want, and then be eager to meet the people who purport to be fantastic matches. If weeknight quiet, television scheduling, and a tidy bathroom are the most important things to you, than put those things in your ad and ask specifically about them when you meet people.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:12 PM on July 31, 2008

I asked ¨Should I get roommates?¨ a while back.

Other than CL, you can network with people that you know or put up posters in places where people who appeal to you as roommates might hang out. I occasionally see people looking for roommates on a few of the smaller mailing lists I´m on, which is less unwelcome if it´s a list targeted at people in a certain area, who are likely to be changing residences periodically, and you have actually meet most of the people on the list.

If you want roommates that will be quiet after 11pm, or not mind if you set up a recording studio in the living room occasionally, or behave in any other way that would be a dealbreaker for you, it will be helpful in finding this if you can communicate what you are looking for before they move in.
posted by yohko at 12:03 PM on August 1, 2008

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