Room Mate Qualifications

julianamarchOctober 31, 2007

Hi, How do you make sure the person you are interviewing to be your room mate is telling the truth? I want some in their 50's professional person, non smoker, not have men over, clen very clean, will not break or damage things. will not run up any bills and pay me on time. I am a widow 59 yars old and live on only my social security check as only means of income.

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bud_wi

Do what landlords do. Run a check on them. If you do not know how to go about that them hire a PI firm. It would be worth the $ for peace fo mind and reduce the odds of a nutcase moving in.

If you are looking for a 'professional' in their '50s they are probably only going stay a short time like "until they get settled in town" or "until their divorce goes through". It probably won't be viewed as long term living arrangements for them. This of course depends on your city. Places like SF or NYC where rents are astonomical, more commonly have professionals living as roommates.

Have you considered the idea of rather than looking for a "roommate", who would be an equal, of taking in boarders. You could limit the areas of the house that they can use. You could also even charge more by offering services like being responsible for light cleaning, linens and towel service, even meals if you wish. A boarder would sign a lease with you giving you (and them) clear legal rights. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 3:06PM
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quirk

Is this a house that you own, or are you looking to share a rental?

First of all, what bud said, background check credit check etc.

But this will only tell you so much-financial responsibility, yes, how clean they are or if they date and want to have overnight guests no. There is no way to be 100% certain they are honest. What you can do is talk to them, ask lots of questions, encourage them to ask you lots of questions, be very very clear about what kind of expectations you have ("clean" means different things to different people so be specific). See if they seem like reasonable people to deal with, willing to answer questions, appropriately curious about you not just ready to move in with anyone who'll have them. Talk about any differences that come up, what you can compromise on, what you can't. Go out of your way to point out whatever things are about you that may make you difficult to live with. Talk about lifestyle. Bedtimes, noise levels, tv watching times, do they like to throw dinner parties for their 50 closest friends, do they often have friends over for pizza and movie, do they have family that will visit? Do you? Can you live with their lifestyle, can they live with yours?

Have a written lease/rental agreement/roommate agreement. If at all possible, I highly recommend month-to-month, either of you can end it with 30-days notice, if you turn out to be incompatible no harm no foul, and make it clear up front they'll have to leave if you can't get along. This is easy if it's your own home. If it's a rental, anything you do, subletting/roommates will have to be cleared with your landlord, though. Ideally (at least in my opinion) you would keep the lease with your landlord in your name only and have a sublet agreement with roommate that still leaves you in charge and ensures you will be the one to stay in apartment if roomie situation doesn't work out. If landlord is amenable to that, you should be able to do it month-to-month as well and can still kick out anyone you can't live with.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 5:48PM
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bud_wi

Duh. I'm slapping my palm to forehead. I forgot I was in the *Apartments Forum*. The advice I gave was more appropriate for a homeowner (Except for the background check part. Do that.)

Quirk's advice was excellent. You may want to put the word out that you are looking for a roommate through any church gorups or hobby clubs that you belong to. You are more likely to have someone who is like minded apply for the room than by placing an ad in the daily newspaper or Craigs.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 8:16PM
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tulain

If you own it or lease it, you are fully responsible for any damages your new roommate does. And, a roommate is just as difficult to evict as any tenant. They have full legal rights, and worse they are right in your face because they are living with you. What if they get a boyfriend, girlfriend, or just plain bum friend that crashes at her/your place permanently.
By all means, get your roommate on a lease. Cover all the standard possibilities, like guests and pets. Look at your own lease for the example, or get one from the internet.

Though trust is a virtue, it would do you no harm to background check someone whom you have contact with on the day to day basis. It is understandable that there are some people who balk at doing a background check on someone whom they are starting to form a close relationship with. However, thereÂs no denying itÂs one way of keeping yourself safe from those with less than honorable intentions. For someone who plans to share his or her home with non-relatives, a background check is advantageous in knowing where your housemate really comes from and whether the information he or she told you is the complete truth. Landlords and landladies would also do well to do a background check on every prospective renter. It is best to hire only professionals to do the background check, in order to ensure confidentiality and protection of privacy. Some people hire professionals to do a background check on the person they will marry or a concerned father may wish to know the origins of someone his child is marrying. Done quietly and discretely, the process of background check will contribute a lot in preventing unsavory consequences from happening.

You should run a background check on your roommate. I think the cost is about $30. You should receive the report either immediately or in 3 days. I got the information here: Tenant Screening Background Checks include: Verification of identity, SSN, employment, and address history. Checks State and county criminal records, sexual offender, terrorist watch, credit check, bankruptcy. (Federal criminal records available.) Matched by name & birthday.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 11:48AM
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dreamgarden

I have had roommates in the past that were not honest. Sometimes friends or family will come to stay. I don't like to have to change my locks more often then necessary, so this is what I do to maintain security while they are staying and after they leave.

I have two locks on my front door. I normally use the top lock. When a guest comes to visit, I give my guest a key to the bottom lock and only use this one while they are staying. After they leave, I collect their key and go back to using the top lock again.

This was helpful when I had a falling out with a roommate who was three months behind on the rent. A mutual friend told me that they were planning to move out while I was at work so they could get their stuff without paying.

Before I left for work the next day I used the other lock. A neighbor called to tell me they had tried to get in while I was at work. Later that day they showed up at my job and whined about not being able to get their stuff. I told them they would have to wait until I left for the day and asked if they had the rent money.

"Oh no, we don't have that, we'll send it next month". I met them after work and stood and watched while they loaded up what few things they actually owned. They never did pay me, but at least I wasn't missing anything 'extra'.

I keep some private papers and valuables in a locking file cabinet in my den. The den is kept locked when I have guests. It has a solid steel door and I am the only one who has a key to this room.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 2:29PM
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