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If I handed you my rental agreement, would you read it from top to bottom?

Probably not.  Neither will one of my potential roommates.

So with that said, how do I ensure rules are adhered to?

Do I go over each rule in person with them? Not really.  That’s not my top priority.

My priority is setting expectations.  This starts during the initial phone conversation before meeting them in person.  Then continues when I meet them in my house to show them around.

What does setting expectation mean?

Here are some examples:

  • My house is kept fairly clean.  And I expect that it’s kept that way.  So if you make a mess, clean it to the cleanliness level that it was left at before.
  • I also travel a lot.  So I need someone reliable in keeping up with the place while I’m gone. I need you to take out the trash, collect the mail, and do any other necessary household tasks I need done.
  • There are no locks on any of the bedrooms doors, so we trust each other living here.  If you can’t respect that, then this isn’t the place for you.  Yes, I’m that stern.

In short, I tell them what I expect if they were going to live here.  I’m upfront about everything so that there are no surprises down the road.

During these conversations, I have yet to have someone put up resistance with comments such as: “oh, that might not work” for me.    If that ever arises, that person is not a fit for me, no matter how desperate I am for a roommate.

Set these expectations early.  That’s why I bring it up when I first meet them.

What expectations do you set for your roommates?

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