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With the cold weather around CT, some of my roommates in the past have expressed an interest in getting a space heater for their bedroom.  I assured them that my townhouse stays comfortably warm with the electric heaters in the bedrooms and through out the townhouse.  I’m not making this up.  My townhouse is fairly new, built in 1988(it’s fairly new relative in terms of a house) and isn’t drafty like older dwellings, which don’t have tight seals around windows and door ways.

In addition to being completely unnecessary, I also don’t like having space heaters around because they can be the source of potential devastating mishaps such as a house fire.  Rightfully so, according to the U.S. Consumer Safety document #098, space heaters accounted for nearly 2,400 fires and $48.2 million in property loss.  With these statistics, I won’t let my roommates bring them in my townhouse.  Its too much of a risk and there is no point when the heat in my townhouse can maintain a comfortable living temperature.

This also brings up another topic about allowing your roommates to move certain appliances such as a mini-fridge.  So far, none of my roommates to date have moved in a mini-fridge that are common found in college dorm rooms stock piled with the cheapest beer.  But if they did have a mini-fridge in the bedrooms, I probably wouldn’t care.

The Most Unusual Appliance

During a conversation when I was showing my place to a potential roommate, I asked him what he intended to move in.  He said “I really don’t have much – I’m just have some cloths, my desk and these two 5U rack computers.”  I replied “Huh? What the heck was that last thing you said?”  He restated “ two 5U racks about this high.”  At that point, I had an idea they were rack-mounted computers, but was unsure how big they were.  Luckily for me, I work at a place where there are a ton of rack mounted computers and found out exactly how big a 5U rack computer was.

With the thought of him moving two 5U computer racks and the fact I charge fixed flat rate for rent.  I had a feeling my electric bill would increase noticeably with these two power sucking so-called computers.  With this in mind, I selected another roommate because of these “computers” he was going to bring in.   There were two main concerns I had about him bringing these massive computers in if he did move in and they are:

Increased electricity consumption – As I stated before, I charge a flat rate for month so I expect my roommates to use a certain amount of electricity, but having someone bring in massive electronics to take advantage of your flat month rent – it wouldn’t have worked out.  I could of negotiated with him, but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle and to be the source of arguments if the pricing wasn’t right.

Liability – if anything, this was a bigger concern.  With two 5U computers, I’m assuming it cost a pretty penny.  So, if anything did happen to his computers, I didn’t want to be liable against my home insurance policy.  For homeowners renting out a room, make sure your roommates have their own renters insurance – just in case anything happens.

Closing Thoughts

It maybe worthwhile to ask a potential roommate what they plan on moving in.  In my case, I avoided unexpected increased electric bills by knowing that he was going to be moving in two 5U computers.  Also knowing what major appliances your roommate plans to move in may avoid disasters such as a space heater could be the cause of house fires.  You as the homeowner should ask these questions, but also respect the privacy of your roommate.  So far, I have not had any roommates irked by me asking what they plan on moving in with them.


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