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Everyone’s ideal roommate is someone that pays rent on-time, in-full, and lives somewhere else. This is ideal because you still reap the financial benefits of roommates without dealing roommate issues. One of these issues may be dealing with a roommate that is a slob or just plain negligent about cleaning up after themselves.

During each and every initial e-mails and phone calls I’ve dealt with, every roommate stated that they’re clean. No one ever admits that they’re messy because it’s just not how you sell yourself if you’re trying to find a place to live.

Now being a clean and tidy person is subjective. A dish rinsed under lukewarm water may be clean to someone’s standards, but may be dirty under someone else’s standards.

I’ve lived with dirty people and clean people during my 9-year stint as a live-in landlord. From those years I’ve think I’ve figured out how to determine if a potential roommate is a slob or not.


During the initial meet up to show the place(you should always do this). Take a peek inside their car. Try to get a quick glance at the passenger seats to see if it’s filled filled with Dunkin Donuts wrappers or bagel wrappers. Also try to get a quick glance at the cup holders.

Why does this matter?

I think there’s a strong correlation between how clean the inside of their car is to how clean of a person they’ll be as a roommate.

If the passenger seat is packed with trash, it might show that they’re too lazy to take the time to clean.

If they are occupied with empty coffee cups and soda bottles and the surrounding area shows spots of “gunk” from splashes of beverages in said cup holder, then it might show how oblivious they are to grime and dirt.

In short, I believe if your potential roommate keeps the interior of their car clean, then there’s a good chance that they’ll keep their room clean.


This little tip won’t help every live-in landlord because potential roommates might not have cars nor will it be possible to sneak a peak on the inside. I just had a showing of my residence to a potential roommate and this person had tinted windows. If you can sneak a peak, I think there’s a strong correlation between how clean a person keeps the interior of the car and how clean of a person they are.