Finding the perfect roommate is like finding Mr. Right. It’s tough and most of the time, impossible. Living with another human being has conflict written all over it. Conflicts are normal and are bound to happen. The difference lies with how you resolve it and how committed you are to making things work.

Looking for a housemate, as in romance, should begin with the right intentions and the right reasons. Among the top reasons for finding a roommate is to have someone to split the rent with. If you want to take the condo plunge but you doubt that you can fend for yourself, getting a condo roommate is a practical solution. In some cases, a group of friends might just decide to be housemates too. Officemates who live far from work also end up sharing a space.

condo roommate dispute

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Getting a roommate has become so common that in the last half-century, roommates have replaced spouses. A Pew Research showed that the first living partners of most American 20-somethings are friends or strangers, not partners. This is also easily true for highly urbanized cities where most young professionals thrive. It’s more than friendship but convenience and savings.

However, living with someone goes beyond splitting rent. Condo roommate conflicts are bound to happen so before you stop seeing each other eye to eye, learn how to settle disputes.

 

Who gets to clean?

In a 2010 survey, 56% of the 2000 respondents said that living with a friend had put a strain on their relationship if not resulting in falling out altogether. What makes this even more unfortunate is how basic and trivial the causes for disagreements can be. The top reason: 75% said the roommate didn’t clean up.

A messy housemate is a deal-breaker. Imagine going home with your roommate’s clothes on the couch, her shoes all over the floor, and leaves dirty dishes on the sink for days.

roommate cleaning

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What to do:

Before moving in, define cleanliness. You might be surprised that while you have a penchant for tidying up and while you think that is a good thing, your roommate is annoyed by them. Face It --- some people do not mind the mess as long as they can still find where their bed is. Agree on a cleaning schedule and if you have the inner “Monica (from the TV Sitcom, Friends)” in you, take the lead. You may also agree on getting a cleaning lady drop by once a week.

 

Who took my food?

Well, if it’s not you, then it’s probably your roommate. The survey showed that 43% find pinching food or drink without asking is a cause for conflict. Dealing with a roommate who loves taking things without permission is a problem because condo living means living on a budget. And some roommates are well, not born generous.

roommate food

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What to do:

If your roommate already made a habit of invading your part of the refrigerator, just talk to him about it. Try offering food next time to let your roommate know that you are okay to share (and that he should not worry about asking). To avoid confrontations, agree to label.

 

Where’s my party dress?

As with food, things can also get messy when personal belongings are involved. If one day you find your dress in your roommate’s laundry, relax and think how you will confront her, if at all.

roommate wardrobe

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What to do:

If you do not like to have an argument over a dress, tell her in a casual conversation how you hate it when people take your stuff instead of borrowing it. Hoping that she gets the message. If not, just make a habit of locking your door or your cabinet.

 

Who pays for what?

Rent and bills are easy to split down the middle. How about small household items like paper towels and trash bags? If you keep paying for them and your roommate doesn’t feel the need to share, this could lead to serious problems.

pay rent

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What to do:

Agree if you will take turns on picking supplies. You may also go on a grocery trip together and have a basket for “common supplies” and split the bill right there and then. If you are the type who does not mind “it’s no big deal” expenses, then don’t raise a finger.

 

Who pooped on the floor?

So, your roommate has a pet. More and more condos in the Philippines allow pets but with strict regulations. Pet is a serious issue if one of you has allergies, afraid of pets, or can’t stand having pets around.

roommate pet

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What to do:

Before moving in, make sure your potential roommate also enjoys having pets around. It’s not just allergies but also personal preference.

 

Hey, who invited you?

A party in your condo unit that you are not even aware of? Conflict.

If your roommate happens to like throwing parties for friends, the noise, loud music, smoking and alcohol will surely be a problem.

condo party

Photo courtesy of A Currell via Flickr

What to do:

Discuss this from the get-go. Regulate parties not just for your own peace but for all tenants in the building. How many will be going? Until what time? Will there be alcohol? Can they smoke?

 

Don’t you think your BF/GF should split the rent, too?

If suddenly you find an extra roommate you didn’t bargain for (who doesn’t pay rent), it is inevitable not to get pissed. Sharing the space with someone is hard enough; imagine sharing it with that someone’s significant other you don’t really know.

couple argument

Photo courtesy of Sharon Mollerus via Flickr

What to do:

Have a BF/GF schedule. If they are allowed to spend the night, decide on how many times a week. It would also be nice to establish good relations with your roommate’s significant other to make the situation less awkward --- dine together or watch movies.

 

Who put that frame up?

You and your roommate might have clashing décor ideas. You want neutral, she wants color. If you decide to live together, this should be addressed head-on.

condo wall decor

Photo courtesy of Asher Isbruker via Flickr

What to do:

Find a common ground to your design differences. If not white or yellow, maybe red will do. Purchase the decors and put them up together.

 

Who cares about politics?

You don’t have to be a political junkie to find your roommate’s strong political views annoying. Some people are crazy about politics, healthcare, and abortion. If you do not agree with them or simply do not care, this could be a potential condo roommate conflict.

roommate studying

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What to do:

Agree to disagree and don’t try to convert each other. Same goes with religion. Try not to talk about it or stir the conversation elsewhere when one of you starts it.

 

Who threw up in the bathroom?

A roommate who comes home drunk is a serious problem. Aside from the puke, the habit isn’t for everybody to tolerate.

roommate shared bathroom

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Burg via Flickr

What to do:

This is among the most serious issues to talk about. Tell your roommate that his late-night partying is concerning you. Note: show concern and don’t lecture.

 

When the roommate stopped paying rent

Now this calls for an emergency. If the main reason you found a roommate is to help you with rent, then late payments are going to hurt.

 

roommate rent fees

Photo courtesy of Kath Northern via Flickr

What to do:

Decide on who gets to collect the rent and collect earlier than the payment date so when someone is short, you can still do something about it. When a roommate has to skip a month of rent, agree if he gets to pay in full the next month or will reimburse your money. Put it in black and white.

 

Roommates are fun to have. In some very ideal cases, they end up as your life partners, your bridesmaid, or your best friend. There will be disagreements along the way but when you treat each other with respect, dirty dishes and late rent can’t get in the way.