Finding A Roommate – Legal & Practical Tips
After going through a separation or divorce, you may need to find yourself a roommate now that you are relying on a single income. Finding the right roommate can be a daunting task. You need to deal with the reality that you really don’t know someone until you live with them.
Don’t let money concerns completely dictate the criteria by which you choose to share your living space with, it’s smart to have a screening process and always have escape route planned. You might receive two-hundred dollars a month with one roommate, but this same roommate can make your life a living hell. Is it worth the difference in rent the roommate pays. If possible, peace and security should be your major concern.
Just because you get along well with someone at work doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be compatible as roommates, and while you should enter into a shared living arrangement with a positive attitude.
Checks and Balances
It is worthwhile to pay for a criminal record check on a prospective roommate. To do so, you can contact the local police department, which can run a statewide check. There are also criminal record check services that offer to run checks in other states. Remember, though, that a criminal record check has limitations. It doesn’t guarantee that your prospective roommate is a terrific person. Nor does it even prove that he or she hasn’t committed a crime. It only demonstrates that he or she hasn’t been convicted of doing so. Be careful and screen your roomate.
Request a current credit check, too. If the prospective roommate is offended, that’s unfortunate; you need to know that his or her share of the rent is going to be paid. You can also ask to see bank balances and a letter of reference from not just the current employer, but also previous ones. The same should hold true if you’re students: find out how your roommate is funding his or her education and living expenses.
Roommate Locator Services
Services that offer to match you up with a roommate are abound. The good ones can be a great tool in finding the right roommate. Over the past few years online locator services have become quite sophisticated. I would be hesitant to use Craigs List for finding a roommate. You will need to use you common sense and good judgement. If you can afford it, it may pay to go with a good established online rental service.
Avoid giving too much personal information when using one of these locator services. From a security standpoint, it’s better not to give your current phone number or address. Keep correspondence to email, or think about signing up for a separate voice mail service.
Note the disclaimers that these services post: checking out the character and credit worthiness of potential roommates is your responsibility. Although a cautious approach is prudent, there’s every possibility that you’ll find a suitable roommate and that you’ll live together harmoniously.