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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Off Campus Student Housing: Tips for Avoiding Roommate Conflicts

Are you a university student who is thinking about living off campus during the upcoming school year? Have you decided yet on the type of off campus student housing arrangement you would prefer—one that would also match your budget? Living off campus while studying at a college or university offers many advantages, including the ability to come and go as you please. However, if you’re like most students, you probably lack the financial resources to live completely on your own, especially if you’re taking a full load of classes. But this doesn’t mean that living off campus is impossible either. One of the many potential off campus student housing options is to share an apartment or flat with one or more roommates. This allows you to share the costs associated with living in an apartment, including things like rent, utilities, cable and internet access. However, regardless of the savings, and despite how well you and your roommate relate to each other initially, there are bound to be some conflicts along the way that you may not anticipate. These are a natural part of sharing a residence; however, many of them can be mitigated or avoided by following a few simple tips.

Off Campus Student Housing: Tips for Avoiding Roommate Conflicts

So you finally chose an apartment, met two roommates (say, Jeff and Manuel) who were willing to share the costs and you moved in. Initially, things were great and the three of you were getting along famously. However, after about the third month you begin to notice a sour smell emanating from Jeff’s room that is rapidly taking over the apartment. You’ve pleaded with him on several occasions to wash his clothes and dishes, but still the odor lingers and the combination of soiled socks with the strong smell of rotting meat begin to make you rethink the whole roommate arrangement. On top of this, despite your constant reminders, Manuel is now five days late with his share of the rent, and the cable television, a bill he had promised to pay, has now been shut off.

Naturally, this scenario is fictitious, but conflicts like these are very real and extremely common when two or more people share off campus student housing. And while not all conflicts can be completely avoided, there are many ways to allay or avoid them. Below we have listed just a few tips that will help make your apartment-sharing experience a little less stressful.

• Address conflicts early. Many roommates, when sharing off campus student housing, fail to address conflicts as they arise. Instead, they let them fester, which only builds more and more resentment between the two parties and what could have ultimately been a minor conflict turns into World War II. This is a common, yet huge mistake. Experts suggest roommates be upfront with each other and try to resolve conflicts early, before they become too big to manage.

• Discuss financial arrangements before moving in. When entering into a roommate agreement the question of who will pay for what and when should be decided prior to making any residential commitment. Put this in writing so there is no confusion down the road.

• Show courtesy. The oldest—and still the best—tip when sharing off campus student housing is to be courteous to and mindful of each other. Behavior such as hogging the television, computer or other items in the common areas of the apartment will only cause conflict, so always act in a manner like you would like to be treated and behave in a way that’s positive and considerate.

Conflicts are a natural part of life and are particularly prevalent in roommate situations, but by keeping the lines of communication open and demonstrating courtesy at all costs many of these conflicts can be minimized or eliminated altogether.

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