SAMPLE OF A ROOMMATE CONTRACT Roommate Contract Residence Address We the residents of __________ hereby agree to the following terms and agree these terms will pertain equally to all the undersigned roommates. 1. Consideration will be shown to one another. Treat others, as you would want them to treat you. 2. There is to be NO smoking in the room at any time. 3. Chores, as indicated in your schedule, are to be done to an acceptable standard and completed by Monday at 11:00 p.m. 4. The person who is on kitchen duty is responsible for taking out the garbage whenever it is full throughout the week he/she is on duty. 5. The shared areas, after use, are to be left in a clean and tidy condition such that it can be used by another person without them having to clean or tidy up. Clean up after yourselves. 6. No slamming doors. 7. Turn off alarm clocks in the morning immediately after waking up. If any of the above terms are not followed, the following steps will be taken: 1. The complainant will approach the offending roommate to advise them of the violation, and determine whether the violation occurred on reasonable grounds. 2. If the violation occurred on reasonable grounds, and is viewed so by the complainant, no further action need be taken. 3. If a question remains as to the reasonableness of the violation, a CA will be called to assess the situation and take action if necessary. Roommates’ signatures: 1. 3. 2. 4. SUGGESTIONS FOR PROACTIVELY ADDRESSING ROOMMATE CONFLICTS In order to develop a healthy roommate relationship, it is vital that communication begins right away. This list is designed to provide discussion topics for roommates and strategies to employ when times get tough. Living with someone else is a challenge that can be met successfully with a little work and focusing on making the relationship work from the beginning. 1. INITIAL CONVERSATION STARTERS It is important for roommates to start learning about each other and discovering whom it is they will be living with as soon as they move in. The following questions provide good conversation starters: • Where are you from? What was it like growing up there? • What is your major? What do you hope to do with that? • What do you feel comfortable telling me about your family and friends back home? • What are some of your hobbies, interests and talents? • What types of extra-curricular activities are you hoping to get involved in? • Are you more of a morning or a night person? When do you typically go to bed? Wake up? • What type of environment helps you concentrate on your studies most effectively (e.g. Can you study with music on, with others in the room, etc.)? • Have you ever lived with someone before? What was it like? • What do you think are the most important things for us to work on as roommates? 2. PASSIONS AND PEEVES Finding out what is important to one another helps roommates better understand each other. The discussion topics listed below allow roommates to discover more about each other. • Some of the causes I feel very passionately about include… • A few things that really annoy me are… • I feel…about alcohol and other drugs • I feel…about having overnight guests • Smoking is… • I tend to…when jokes or derogatory comments are made about other people • When I’m angry, I show it by… • Sometimes I feel extremely pressured by…and show it by… • A few touchy subjects with me include… Other topics to discuss are: music preferences, sports teams, subjects you are studying, TV shows, relaxation methods, and keeping the shared space neat. 3. DIFFERENCES Differences are one of the key ways we learn from other people. Chances are your world is going to open up as you get to know more about what makes your roommates different from you. Make yourself open to this valuable type of learning. Since we are all products of our roots, to truly understand where each of us is coming from, it is important to share information with one another: • My cultural background is… • My faith is… • My lifestyle choices include… (e.g. vegetarianism, commitment to abstain from alcohol, etc.) • Things I’ve experienced due to my cultural/spiritual/lifestyle include… The key is communication and to try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. More times than not, you have so many things in common that they outweigh the differences. 4. MOVING IN As roommates prepare to settle in, talk about these “little things” that could easily become major points of contention in the future: • Using each other’s stuff: The desire to share with roommates may make perfect sense in the beginning of the year, but how will you feel with increased wear and tear or damage to your possessions. • Arranging a cleaning schedule: This should be done early on – dirt can accumulate very quickly. 5. COMMUNICATION The majority of roommate conflicts occur when communication breaks down. So, be proactive and strive to make your communication methods healthy and effective. Try these tips: • Agree to disagree. A difference in opinion can be fine, as long as you can choose to respect one another’s perspectives. Don’t pass judgment. There are always at least two sides to an issue. • Talking it through. Inevitably, you will be displeased with something your roommate does and vice versa. Commit to working it out verbally and don’t give in to the temptation to talk behind one another’s backs. This will cause more problems and continue to deteriorate your relationship. • Leaving messages. You will come to rely on each other for communication with “the outside world”. So, agree on what to do with phone messages, verbal “stop-bys” and other messages that may get lost in the shuffle. You can’t change someone, but you can communicate openly with someone. Be honest; don’t try to hide your feelings. You must be polite, direct and considerate of other’s feelings but you can’t forget about your own either. 6. THE ART OF COMPROMISE Sharing a space requires flexibility and equal consideration. So talk about some of these things before a situation requiring compromise arises. • I’ll assert myself in situations where… • I feel taken advantage of when… • What compromise means to me is… 7. IF CONFLICT HAPPENS There will be times when you and your roommates will get on each other’s nerves. Holding it in or blowing up is not the answer. Consider the following suggestions when conflict arises between you and your roommate: • Don’t argue in the heat of the moment. You are bound to say things you will regret. Let yourself cool off to get your thoughts together and you will wind up being much more rational and productive. • Use “I” statements to relay how you are feeling about the situation at hand. • Enlist the help of a Community Assistant. If you and your roommate can’t resolve an issue peacefully, ask a residence life staff member for assistance. 8. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE BEST FRIENDS Whether your roommate experience results in a lifetime friendship, or a civil parting of ways, there are bound to be many experiences and dilemmas along the way. It is important to realize that different people can become compatible roommates. With tact, respect, care and an open mind your chances of developing a solid roommate relationship increase dramatically. It is all a part of the residence experience…and, done right; it can be one of the best parts.
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