I have a friend who is desperately trying to find a third roommate in order to stay in her dream apartment once the lease is up. She put up a Craigslist ad and has had a few responses. But finding a roommate on Craigslist isn't the same as using the online service to find a midcentury sofa, Taylor Swift concert tickets, or even an apartment. You are inviting a complete stranger to live in your home, so there are some precautions to take. For five tips I recently heard from someone who's had lots of experience living with, and kicking to the curb, roomies found via Craigslist,
- If you have a question, ask it! Don't be afraid to dig deeper — think of it as a job interview, and you're the boss!
- Get a feel for your potential roomie's lifestyle with a conversational tone; that way she is more likely to answer honestly. Is she a bookworm who stays in her room most of the time? Or does she start partying on Wednesday?
- Find out if she has any vices before she moves in. If she has an unhealthy lifestyle that in any way makes you uncomfortable, you might want to reconsider.
- If you're charging her a different rent than yourself and/or other roommates, don't fill her in on the total apartment's cost. If she feels the price is fair for the room she's renting, there's no need to cause unnecessary dissension. Don't be greedy, but if her room is considerably larger and has an incredible view, it makes sense to up the price.
- Don't put her name on the lease if you don't have to. Just in case it doesn't work out, it will be a lot less messy to kick her out if no official docs were signed.