I read a lot of blogs about adding a roommate to your lease when I was preparing for this and they all began with lines like:
It’s not complicated…
It’s a relatively simple process…
And other similarly cheery, dismissive little lies. I realize that often when we’re relaying certain bits of information, it’s going to be dry- maybe even just a smidge boring but: the reality is getting a roommate can be an absolute nightmare. Anyone who has ever had a bad roommate or even been on the search for a roommate can tell you. It’s not simple, it’s not uncomplicated and it can be rife with some pretty disgusting things. For instance, have you ever seen what pops up on PassiveAggressive notes respective of roommates? If you haven’t but language and general ick factor stuff offends you- give it a pass. It’s a good way to explore just how bad the world of having a roommate can truly be. Even if you have found the perfect place, adding a roommate can get a little problematic if you’re not careful.
Now, having said all of this there are some smart things to do before you get a roommate. You can check out ApartmentTherapy’s Gross-o-Meter, which will help you determine if your
habits might make you the bad roommate. However, when it comes to getting your own, there’s a smart way to go about it and well, then there’s printing random Craigslist ads and drawing from a fishbowl. I don’t recommend that. If you have someone in mind, or even if you’re just considering adding a new roommate, there are two steps that will make everything much smoother for you.
- Step One: Make sure it’s okay with the landlord
Really, you can just check your lease and see if there’s a clause about occupancy limits. If after you look and it’s okay, then write your landlord requesting to add a roommate. It may be useful to have a copy of that person’s credit report, if you have it. At this point you might also want to see if you’re in for a rent increase or deposit increase. There are limits on how high a deposit can be from state to state, so don’t worry too much about that shooting through the roof, but it’s something that can happen.
- Step Two: The Changed Lease
If you’ve gone through step one and the landlord has given the okay, you may also be asked to sign a new lease agreement. Sometimes, you can just modify an existing lease, but typically, an entirely different lease will be drafted. At this point, if a higher rent is in order, no notice is necessary- so, it’s best that you are prepared for that, should it occur.