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Living Arrangements

Identify the warning signs and learn how to handle a bad agreement.

"Everyone has this universal understanding of roommate drama." ~ Leighton Meester


Here are the basics.

Imagine entertaining the idea of venturing out into the "real world"  away from your parents to start your very own life at a young age.

CONGRATULATIONS! Just like that you are now considered a young adult to the rest of the world and expect to know the basics of being independent immediately without experiencing it firsthand.  Now, I'm sure as you know this can lead to some issues whether it be with someone you live with, in the workplace, within friendships etc. 

In this guide on how to detect a bad living arrangement, I will be giving real-life examples of my reasoning on why you need to pay close attention and take your time with finding a place to live. (whether it be alone or with roommates) I will provide a list of questions you can ask during the "initial interview" with any prospective landlord or roommate to ensure it is the right decision.

The Search

I know what you are thinking...

"How will I ever find a place to live?" 

Finding a place to live can be discouraging at times, especially if you have found places and do not qualify for them. 

Another complication you could run into is the rental property or landlord doesn't allow pets if you have them. 

When looking for a place to live you should make a checklist of things you want in a rental property. It should look something like this example below.

Apartment/House Checklist

Necessities:

  • one bedroom
  • living room area
  • decently sized kitchen
  • dishwasher
  • laundry facility or hookups
  • bathtub
  • cable hookup
  • pets allowed
  • properly management

Once you make a list of things you do want then you can start your search whether it be from friends, the newspaper or online (most popular method). Some websites you can use are Craigslist, Zillow, Hotspot, Google or ApartmentsforRent, etc.

The Viewings

After you have chosen the apartment, it is time to go to viewings. If you have decided to live with roommates, see a sublet, or live alone, regardless, you need to see the space before you accept any offers. When you are on these viewings you should keep the following in mind. 

Living alone:

  • The condition of the apartment/house
  • Landlord attitude
  • Price (is it negotiable?)
  • Are all the amenities you are looking for on the premises?
  • Can you picture yourself living in the space comfortably?
  • Can you afford it?

Roommates/sublet:

  • Are you with roommates and what is their history?
  • Do they have steady jobs and how long have they been employed there?
  • Do they have a negative energy and complain about past roommates?
  • Do they have a bad payment history?
  • Are they a friend? (Ruins relationships)

The Agreement

Do not agree to sign a lease agreement without being 100 percent comfortable. You also need to read the fine print before signing.

At this point in the process, you have found the place you want to live. 

The next step is to sign the agreement.

Ensure that you read anything that is listed in it to include:

  • rent price
  • late fees
  • start date
  • payment methods
  • landlord information
  • maintenance
  • rent due date
  • parking
  • trash

Once you feel comfortable with the lease feel free to sign!

Roommates—the Bad & the Ugly

From experience, I have had good roommates and there have bad ones. My most recent roommate adventure was a disaster due to being misled. 

My roommate at one point complained constantly. Due to another roommate moving out she moved in her boyfriend (in the end I saw his controlling side), she blamed everything on her anxiety, had started asking me for money to cover bills, she quit her job one day from being fed up, etc. 

Most of those things were red flags, but at that point, I was already planning to move out because there was too much negative energy. My advice would be if people you are living with start asking to cover their bills and become financially unstable, you should consider moving. 

Always communicate with anyone you live with as well, because you can share how you feel with each other and fix things. Be careful of any red flags of not being stable and walk away from the agreement.

Good luck in your searches!