Sunday, March 25, 2012


There has been a revival of the extended family for living situations and along with it a growing number who find that roommate opportunities can provide an economically less stressful way to have a roof over one's head.

A quick look at craigs list provided the following ads:

$550 Room in great house, great neighborhood

Private room in large house with large yard in great neighborhood. Full house privileges. Includes all utilities, pool and jacuzzi, satellite TV with movie channels, pool table, horseshoes, garage parking. Smokers and pets welcome. Positive people preferred. 
$250 Furnished Room for Student/Intern *Utilities Included*

Room is spacious and furnished
Closet and drawers for easy organization
Large windows open to a wide green and gorgeous view of Central Park
Utilities included
Central Park is right across the street, good to relax, go for a run
Safe, residential neighborhood at all hours

$500 / 4400ft² - Spacious Downstairs Room For Rent w/Private Bath ALL FURNISHED
We are a quiet American Asian family with 2 college girls looking to find a quiet, responsible room mate to fill in our 1 downstairs bedroom in our house. As you can tell from the pictures below, we live in a spacious 4000+ square feet home at Mountains Edge. Your rent will include brand new furniture, a private bathroom, internet, laundry and kitchen privileges. We also conveniently live right next to the explorer's peak park. Due to the household being mostly girls, we do prefer a female room mate. Smoking is ok outside, dogs are ok if they are potty trained (we have a small doggy door) Please SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY.
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Yes, the last one is nice!!

What makes a GOOD roommate?  Some of the things that pop to mind are:
  • Clean and one who picks up after themselves
  • Financially responsible once the rent is agreed upon it should be paid as top priority
  • Verbally positive, considerate, and keeping noise levels at a level that does not disrupt others.
  • Considerate of the personal boundaries of others and their possessions

In contrast, What makes someone a BAD roommate?
  • Messy, does not keep their space or community spaces picked up.  Leaves dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor
  • Financially irresponsible and pays their share of the expenses inconsistently
  • Verbally rude, grouchy, cusses, yells, loud when people are sleeping, foul language
  • Inconsiderate of the space and possessions of others
  • Sexually parading partners throughout the home or lewd personal habits such as pornography
  • Drug or alcohol use and any associated behaviors and risks.  Who really wants to get busted for someone else's pot habit?
As I thought about it I concluded that much of it all boils down to good habits, good character, and common courtesy.  How simple is that?

As I reflected even further I wondered how many families can say that all members treat each other with the same respect that we would hope and expect from strangers?  How many divorces or relationship breakups are caused by any of the above?  How many children are mercilessly yelled at?  How may spouses have to put up with drunkenness, pornography, or have to go around picking up after another?  How many teenagers blast the music or have rooms that look like a tornado has hit?  Or, the newest social phenomenon highlighted by the media of hoarding? Those are some of the biggies but what about the little things like leaving the toilet seat lid up?

We are born into families but how many enter friendships or relationships with others where not even these basic minimal courtesies are extended?  It's often easy to spot them even on the street - the one who leaves garbage at the bus stop or doesn't take back their own shopping cart.  At work we see the growing tendency to not hold doors or take the last of the coffee without making more. 

Words for the day:

We need to not only expect it from others, train our children, but above all tolerate nothing less from ourselves in whatever living arrangements we are in.


Practical Parsimony said...

I have never, ever taken my cart back and know no one who does this. ??? However, I know people who have immaculate homes and trash the streets.

At one time, I tried renting a room. The first guy was an alcoholic and got into my food all the time, making about five gallons of tea at one time. He said he was "going to kill the F***ing b***h, meaning me.

The next smoked pot and drank cheap wine, walked around naked and peed on the walls, threw up on the bathroom walls in his own private bath. I did not find that until it was concrete-like.

I decided nothing could be hard enough for me to endure renting a room. I did not want to rent to women because they all had boyfriends they wanted to entertain or children and grandchildren they would babysit for. Children having the run of my house was not something I desired.

Carol Schultz said...

I remember you sharing those stories and that is just the point I was making. Some people are just disgusting in their behavior! Thankfully we can and should learn to watch out for them. I too have missed or ignored the clues in the past so wanted to remind everyone that these arrangements can and do work if we are watchful and don't assume that others share the same standards as we do including and especially those in our own family or ones we may be considering a romantic relationship with.

Practical Parsimony said...

There was no romance intended with these two. I got glowing reports from others about their character. sigh...However, I have rejected romantic relationships based on person habits!

I didn't mean to repeat myself.

We are expected to leave carts in the parking lot, so I don't feel bad about not taking mine back.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol, I just came across your website by chance when looking for a 'room to rent' image. I've bookmarked it for now but what I've read so far is fascinating.

I am a seperated 48 yr old male currently renting a room from my mother-in-law. Yes, strange I know. I've been here for two years and for the most part it works fine. My soon to be ex wife has fallen out with her mother and my twin daughters do not want to see Nanny and so this has made things difficult. So I start looking for somewhere else. Personally I would never dream of behaving like some of the example stated. I understand that I am extremely lucky to have a roof over my head and everything is included for my weekly rent which includes food.

I spent a period of six weeks living somewhere else early on, renting a room again. The advertisment sounded ideal and the landlady was very pleasant on the phone. It wasn't until after I had moved in that the problems started. She had a fit that I had used three units of electricity in one day. Then she decided she had the right to lecture me about 'giving up on life' because I spent 6 hours in front of a computer. (I build websites and promote country music over the internet). It went downhill from there.

Whilst the Landlady has to be careful whom the rent to, my experience has shown me to ask a lot more questions before I agree to rent a room.

Great site!

Carol Schultz said...

Glad you stopped in and shared both the good and the bad of the situation. For a while all the single adults in our family were living in a room mate situation and it worked well for all. As you mentioned the key is finding the right situation.