I have some simple, easy to follow ground rules that I tell any potential roommate before they move in. I don’t make specific rules on what time they can come through the front door and such. I don’t like to micro manage. It’s just not my thing.
However, here are my ground rules(no particular order) I tell potential roommates:
1. Don’t Piss off the Neighbors – My neighbors and I get along fine. They don’t seem to mind that I rent out (both) my spare rooms to roommates. If my roommates have a problem with my neighbors (hard to believe), I tell them to come talk to me before antagonizing them. It’s very difficult to get rid of them, but it’s much easier to get rid of my roommates.
2. Take out the trash/get the mail – We all have to pitch in to keep the place running. Meaning if you see the kitchen trash or recycle bins full, take them to the dumpster and empty them. The same goes with the mail, if you have time to get the mail(ie sitting around watching TV or facebooking away on the computer), please get the mail. It takes less than 3 minutes.
3. Don’t burn down the place – Don’t be an idiot and forget to turn the oven off or worse yet, leave the iron plugged in. I recently seen a hockey pro shop catch on fire because someone accidently left the heat gun on. They now have an outlet on a timer to avoid having the heat gun being left on accidently. I’m serious debating having outlets on timers to dummy proof appliances that be the source of fires.
So far, I have yet to find any potential roommate to consider these ground rules too restrictive to enjoy their time while renting a room from me. As far as cleaning goes, it’s up to the responsibility of the roommate to keep their room clean. We each take an hour out of lives every month and clean each of the common areas(bathroom, kitchen, and living room). I’ve also never met a person that opposed to cleaning especially since everyone is doing their fair share.
Ideas for Making Ground Rules
Keep them simple and to the point. Don’t be overly specific that it feels restrictive to the roommate. Make it known that you’re easy going, but you want someone responsible.
Lastly, be upfront about your ground rules before your roommate moves in and not after. I wouldn’t want my roommate to be in for a rude awakening about these ground rules after they already committed to moving into your house.
Like I said, I’ve never found any roommate that thought my ground rules were overbearing on their freedom. I made the rules to say “these are the important things I want you to follow when you live here.” If you’re considering renting out a room, consider setting guidelines like I have done. If you can other ground rules or have comments, let me know in the comments section.