One good New Year’s Resolution would be: anticipate roadblocks and plan a way around them ahead of time. One potential roadblock is a disagreement or other problem that could arise with a roommate. How about starting out the new year by considering what could happen in a variety of “what if” situations with a roommate, and then figuring out how you could best handle them? Meet with your roommate – or roommate-to-be – and write down the possible scenarios you can think of. Then discuss a fair resolution to each, write down that solution, and sign an agreement that states you will adhere to the solutions you’ve agreed to ahead of time, should any of those situations arise.
Of course the perfect roommate relationship is one that’s based on true compatibility and genuine friendship, but it isn’t complete, or safeguarded, unless you have a business-like agreement, in writing. It’s this last part that often is clouded by or even stymied by the first two. After all, if you’re compatible and friendly, why would you want to cast a pall on a good relationship by becoming obsessed with legalities?
The answer is that you never can know the future. How many married couples who you knew to be careful, thoughtful, and reasonable ended up in a messy divorce down the line? And even if your friendly relationship does not change, circumstances outside your control could – financial changes, health situations, or the demands of children or extended families could force change on your shared living arrangement.
Why not protect yourself – and by the way, your roommate too – by drawing up a legal agreement? Check out this blog post on things to consider – and put down in a written agreement – with roommates. I’ll bet that even their short list of things to consider and decide on before moving in together will make you say, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that!”