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Roommate Contracts Clarify Boundaries

It is not uncommon for colleges to require students who will be sharing living space to sign roommate contracts. These contracts typically spell out expectations for acceptable behavior, along with roommate rights and responsibilities. Even if you aren’t required to sign a roommate agreement, these contracts can be an excellent tool for preventing misunderstandings about what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Roommate contracts typically include

  • Advance warning for guests
  • Length of time acceptable for guest visits
  • Times guest visits are acceptable
  • Guidelines for use of common space when visitors are present
  • Same sex versus opposite sex visit guidelines
  • Personal property boundaries
  • Standards for cleanliness
  • Dealing with dirty laundry
  • Designated quiet hours for study or sleep
  • Guidelines for sharing control of television and other appliance
  • Weekend versus weekday rules
  • Dealing with telephone messages
  • Telephone usage limits and restrictions
  • Procedure for distributing mail
  • Fair division of shared expenses
  • Deadlines for payment of rent and other bills
  • Smoking rules
  • Drinking rules
  • Allergy issues that may impact acceptable behavior
  • Pet ownership and care guidelines
  • Procedure for updating roommate agreement
  • Consequences for violating roommate agreement

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