So you’ve found the perfect home, and you’re looking for someone to take up residence there. Whether it’s going to be you and a roommate, or you’re looking for someone else to live in your home, it is essential that you find a tidy, reliable, and friendly person to share your place of residence. Everyone has heard the roommate horror stories of destroyed property, missed rent, and unsavoury houseguests. Better learn to weed out the riff raff before anyone signs a lease or roommate agreement. These five simple things to look out for will save you or your property managers a great deal of headache.
1. Do they look nice, and are their clothes well-kempt?
First impressions are important. When planning for a job interview or the first day of class at school, just about everyone will consider what they’re going to wear and how they will put on their best face for their new classmates or potential coworkers. Why should it be any different for a roommate or tenant? A potential renter who cares how they come across to you is the type of fastidious person you want sharing your home. If they can’t make an effort with themselves, how can you expect them to care about two weeks’ worth of dishes piling up in the sink?
2. Are they happy to have a friendly conversation?
A great roommate or tenant is one you can have a friendly working relationship with. In every cohabitation situation, there’s going to be a time where you’ll have to hash out how chores, food, and houseguests can be managed, and the outcome is going to have to work for both of you. Try having a pleasant conversation with your potential flatmate or tenant. Are they bright and forthcoming, or surly and withdrawn? Even if there are disagreements, it’s far preferable to work them through face-to-face with a reasonable, mature adult instead of pushing notes under each other’s doors.
3. Are they forthcoming with references?
Everyone has a past, for better or for worse, but even if everyone gets a chance, it’s better for you to be prepared than to enter into a legal agreement with someone whose track record you don’t know. There are a few different camps when it comes to how many references you should ask for, but the general feeling is the same: if your potential renter shies away from your reference request, then likely they’ve got something to hide and maybe you should shy away from them.
4. Do they have pets?
Sure, the idea of a nice cat or dog to keep you company sounds pretty great at first, but that’s before a week of sleepless nights punctuated by claws skittering up and down the hallway. Before you agree to share your house with people and animals, make sure you know what kind, how many, and how friendly they are. Nobody wants to be explaining to the FedEx guy why their roommate’s untrained dog is currently hanging off his forearm. Most of all, know yourself. Do you want alone time and hairless clothing? Maybe animals aren’t for you. Choose your flatmate accordingly.
5. Is their employment situation stable?
If you’ve ever rented an apartment before, you know that feeling when half your paycheck turns into rent. Whether you’re renting out your basement suite to help pay your mortgage or looking for someone to live in that spare room, you need to be positive that their bank account can handle the hit, so yours doesn’t have to take two. Sure, some people win the lottery or inherit thousands from their rich uncle, but the best way to ensure regular rent payments are made is by choosing a housemate who has a regular income and knows the value of money. Keep in mind that someone who works part time for minimum wage is going to struggle to pay $1500 for a luxury apartment. If your place is out of their price range, they might be out of the running.