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How to Deal: Roommates from Hell

By: Stacy Rosario

     Sometimes it can be great to have a roommate help pay the bills, clean the toilet ring, and to just simply hang out with. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Your roommate could end up being a lazy slob that can’t hold down a steady job to pay the rent or have any sense when it comes to vacuuming under the couch. Keeping that in mind, prospective roommates are drawing up agreements before deciding to room together. Sound a bit too extreme?

     Imagine you’ve just failed an exam and you’re on your way home to wallow in your misery. While driving, you fantasize about those cookies in the cabinet and how you’ll devour them over the course of the day as you sulk on the couch, and curse your life over soap operas. Upon arrival you discover the cookies are missing, the kitchen looks like a tornado hit it, someone you’ve never seen before has stolen your seat on the couch, and his nasty Birkenstocks are resting on a now scummy coffee table that was clean when you left that morning. You glare at him, as if he’s just robbed you of any possible happiness in your life; then your roommate walks in and cries with sheer delight, “meet my new boyfriend, Bob,” with a mouth full of cookies. Contract anyone?

     To resolve roommate issues before they arise, consider drawing up a contract with your future roommate that outlines each person’s responsibilities. Nowadays, a verbal contract is not enough. A contract with a signature and, perhaps, a credit card number may be the solution where phone, electric & expenses are concerned; you know, just in case.

     Christopher Pineda, 19, who lives with two of his girl best friends, says his white, dry erase board is what keeps his house clean. “When we realized cleaning after ourselves wasn’t working, due to school and work, we came up with a plan: A Cleaning Chart,” said Pineda. “We make sure everyone has a chore and a certain day to complete it on.”

     A Roommate Contract might include: financial obligations & living responsibilities i.e. vacuum, dishes, food, and borrowing rules. Just remember the more detailed and specific you are, the less room there is for ambiguity. An actual written document may not guarantee you’ll be free from all disagreements with roommates, but it may definitely prevent future problems, that could end up in roommate chaos.

     There are some, however, that disagree with this latest trend. “Whether you know the person or not, there are always going to be tribulations regarding the agreement, which could then lead to relationship problems,” said Bonny Godoy, 27 for whom neither a verbal agreement nor a signature in blood worked. “My best advice is, if you can afford it, live alone.”

     If living alone is out of the question, consider moving back home. You’ll have your laundry done and always find a bite in the old fridge…but kiss your 5 AM curfew buh-bye.

0 0 171 20 May, 2003 College Life, Lifestyle, National, News May 20, 2003

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