If you’re tirelessly having to ask for bill money, seeing someone have a 3 week sleepover, or wondering where the smell of cigarettes is coming from you may have not taken the time to create a roommate agreement. Having roommates in NYC is often an economical necessity. Choosing the right roommates is half the battle among dodging potential creepy landlords and cat-lady neighbors. Now that you’ve settled with a few people with whom you share enough common ground to cohabitate, it’s time to team up and create a roommate agreement so you can live happily ever- yea, just do it. Just as you sign an agreement to lease a rental with your roommate, you need an internal agreement too. Here are 4 things to include in a roommate agreement.

1. Bills, bills, bills

Your finances are why you chose roommates in the first place. Keep your wallet and boundaries in check by including in your game plan for when, where, and who pays up. Splitting utilities with roommates can be trickier than collecting for rent, so make sure all the details are worked out in the agreement. List the person responsible for collecting payment from everyone, the utility/company the payment is for, the exact amount to be paid, and date of each month it’s due.

2. Household chores and the roommate agreement

Unless you’re a fan of cleaning up messes you didn’t make, household chores are a priority to include in your roommate agreement. It would be wise to keep a chore list separate from your roommate agreement. The chart as well as the consequences for following it should be mentioned in the agreement. Cleaning charts should be as specific as the bill schedule listing who does what, when. You could give the “clean up your own mess” theory the ol’ college try, but if it doesn’t workout then amend your roommate agreement.

3. Guests and entertaining

Next up is one for the visitors, parents, boyfriends/girlfriends, and one-night friends. Set limitations on length of stay and details to be considered during a visit. This includes letting guests know there are house rules. Here you and your roommates can iron out a lot of other details like booze or no booze in the house, where to smoke (always outside and away from front door), and noise level/curfew. Keep in mind each other’s schedules, your Saturday off may be someone’s Monday at work. Not a bad idea to keep everyone’s schedules in-sight before throwing a get-together and inviting a bunch of guests.

4. Violations of the roommate agreement

When you sign an agreement to lease a rental with your roommate, you agree to certain rules and regulations. Failing to meet those standards can get you kicked out. Well, the same should be the case for failing to uphold the roommate agreement as well. While this is a seriously uncomfortable situation to be in, it must be done. Having a roommate who doesn’t honor the roommate agreement can be infuriating to live with. Should someone be a repeat offender, having had a few house meetings and ample amount of time to correct wrong doings, roommates may ask someone to leave. Clearly, someone not in favor of following the rules is living as uncomfortably as those who prefer them. The agreement has been agreed upon and will result in consequences and really unfavorable living conditions.

Roommate agreements are life savers. It doesn’t take much time to build a structure you and your housemates can agree on so everyone is living comfortably.

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