For most of us, getting into college also meant getting out of our parents’ houses. In a way, it is a true step into adulthood and a way to learn valuable life lessons… one of them being how to live in a shared apartment/dorm room. To make sure this experience goes as smooth as possible, here are some tips for living in a shared apartment for students that are moving in with someone for the first time.
Get to know the place before you move in. While this may seem rather obvious, it is important to note how many things can be overseen when moving in a place. While those living in dorms should also consider some of these tips, so they can come prepared.
Here are a few things to consider:
- The Commute – Is it close enough? Lectures can start quite early and students life ain’t easy. With all the academic obligations, the last thing you need is a long, complicated commute. It will be hard both on your nerves and body (getting up even earlier for a college class just so you don’t get stuck in traffic never really gets easier). Location is important!
- The rent – Be realistic, can you afford it? This is a team sport. You and however many roommates have to commit to a budget. More on this later.
- Maintenance and landlord- Make sure that something isn’t too good to be true. Did you find that perfect apartment? Close to college, good location, big spaces? It will not hurt to be inquisitive. It might just turn out that there are some mayor maintenance demands, quirky landlords or reluctance to commit to anything but an oral agreement. All of those can make your dream apartment an expensive mirage.
- Damages to the appartment– Be sure to document everything possibly damaged in the apartment so you don’t get into trouble for a previous tenant deed.
If you are moving into an apartment with someone, this is by far the thing you have to set most clearly. Paying the rent is an imperative and the way you choose to pay it is quite important. What problems with bills are there? Well, you might make it to an easy agreement on paying equal shares on an apartment, but what about utilities? Does someone always use all the boilers hot water during long showers pays more for water? Or what about heating and electricity? And who actually does the paying?
These sort of questions are important to ask and require clear answers. Few arrangements can be made. You can all put money in the hands of the most responsible of you, making him the (technically) only one that pays the bills, while you cover your part. While this is straightforward, the stress can easily get to the person in charge and many friendships can be tested to their limits by a late or nonexistent compensation for their part by the other tenants.
There is also a possibility of splitting responsibility by utility. For example, you pay for electricity, one roommate for water, another one for the heat and so on. These, however, can lead to significant problems in unequal billing.
Possibly best option is to use the fruits of modern technology in a form of an app that would track everyone’s bills.
This is possibly the most important among tips for living in a shared apartment for students as a healthy relationship with your roommates depends on a just division of fiscal responsibility.
Make it clean
We know that changing the parents home for a shared apartment can be very difficult if you or your roommates have different habits and standards when it comes to tidiness. Prevent common roommate problems by taking care of your room.
Having a livable space inhabited by few people means those few people have to keep it clean. While a landlord can be obligated to fix bid damages, nobody is going to wash your dishes instead of you. Few complications can arise. Maybe one tenant is far more disciplined than the rest, always sweeping the floor, washing the dishes and cleaning the windows while everybody else just minds their own business and keeps making more mess. This will no doubt make the person doing all the work feel resentful and will start some arguments.
On the other hand, you could always face a reversed situation. All but one do their job, who instead of cleaning after him leaves it to the others.
To prevent this, distribute the workload. You can even make it “official” and put it in some writing. Make sure that communal areas are clean, the kitchen is hygienic and that the bathrooms are fine.
Final among tips for living in a shared apartment for students – Partners and boundaries
This one is tricky. We all have a right to private life and control over what people we give a right to be part of it. Problem is, that with common living area comes a decrease over our control to decide who goes around the apartment. It might get really tricky if you end up running into someone’s partner or friends while in a state (of mind or dress) in which you would rather be alone. Also, partners can move in together without officially “moving in”. This can create a situation in which people are inhabiting the apartment but do not expect to pay for anything.
As in the previous, you must make deals beforehand. How much time has to pass for a guest to become the inhabitant? Or what times should the apartment be clear of tenants or guest? Make a plan and a rulebook and keep by it.
These are tips for living in a shared apartment for students that will make your student days much more enjoyable experience.