Do I need a roommate?
When contemplating life off campus, you might find yourself wondering if you need a roommate. Living with another person has its perks and its challenges. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Consider these questions to make your decision:
- Are you ok with sharing a room or an apartment?
- How much are you looking to spend on housing? Based on the average monthly rent in DC (2015): you probably need to share a room for a budget under $1,000; you should be able to split an apartment comfortably for a budget of $1,000-$1,400; you can probably afford a studio apartment for a budget over $1,400.
- What are you looking for in a potential roommate? You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but you should be able to live together cooperatively.
Connect with other students looking for a roommate on the Off-Campus Postings site.
Living with a Roommate
Once you have found a roommate, it is vital that you discuss expectations and ground rules.
If you and your roommate(s) run into a problem that you cannot resolve on your own, you can always schedule an appointment with Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution Services.
One way to clarify responsibilities is to make a written agreement with your roommate(s). Check out AU's roommate agreement and our guide to roommate agreements. Think about and discuss the questions below.
- Are you splitting it 50/50?
- Are you determining it by room size?
- Are you determining it by who is in which room?
- How and when will you pay?
- What are your guidelines for guests?
- Are you okay with overnight guests?
- How much advance notice should you have?
- What about parties or large gatherings?
- How will you divide chores?
- Will you divide chores by room or by task?
- Is a chore wheel something you might use?
- How often will you clean?
- How will you keep stocked up on cleaning supplies?
- What objects are you willing to share?
- If something breaks, who and how should it be replaced?
- If you split the cost of buying something, who will keep it when you are no longer roommates?
- What conditions and agreements can you clarify?
Subletting Your Property
- Permission: Check your lease to know if you are allowed to sublet. Talk with your landlord before listing. If you have a roommate, have a discussion about your intentions. Involve your roommate in the process.
- Listing: Advertise your apartment by telling your friends, using social media, and listing it on the Off-Campus Posting site.
- Interview: Once people respond to your listing, you and your roommate should set up meetings with your potential subletter. Decide who you think would be a good fit. Let those who did not get the sublease know that you won't be making an offer.
- Contract: Define the dates of the arrangement, if payment will be paid to you or the landlord, and room condition expectations for when you return. Set our your expectations in a written agreement.
- Leave: Stay in contact with your roommate (if you have one), as well as your subletter to make sure that everything is going smoothly.