Keeping it cool with your roommate


It’s the beginning of November and you’ve been in school for nearly two months now and have likely settled into a good routine of getting to class on time, scheduling your part-time job around your classes and finding time to keep up with your assignments and reading.


It’s also been around two months since you and your roommate have moved in together and there’s a slight chance that the honeymoon phase is already over.


Do they never, ever replace the toilet paper roll, is there streaks of toothpaste left all over the bathroom sink, does it always seem like when you’re craving yogurt the last one is always gone?


Whether it’s a family member, your best friend or an acquaintance, getting used to living with someone else in an 800 square foot apartment can be a challenge. You might be a neat freak, they might enjoy living in chaos and filth; you may hate to cook while they love it; you might like to relax in peace and quiet in your spare time and they might prefer to blast their movie, music or video game so the neighbours four doors down can hear it as well.


Whatever the situation, the best way to keep your cool and ensure a good, long lasting rooming situation is to communicate. And, it might be helpful to draw up a fun (but yet, serious)  contract. Put some rules in place and work together on rectifying small concerns that could eventually turn into major blow-ups.


By communicating and managing expectations, it is possible to live in harmony. Some additional tips on how to maintain a peaceful, enjoyable and fun living arrangement are:


  • If it seems as though one person is eating all the food, store things separately and buy all your own food. Keep things organized by having cupboards and shelves in the refrigerator that are designated for each person.
  • If cleanliness is becoming a sore spot, then create a schedule for vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and washing dishes. If everyone knows what is expected of them, then it’s easier to make a point of cleaning rather than just ignoring it and assuming that your roommate with a passion for the mop will take care of it.
  • Know each other’s schedules. If you know that your roommate is working on Tuesday, then plan to stay in that night and enjoy your quiet, alone time.
  • Remember to respect each other’s privacy. If you each have a bedroom, consider making a rule that this space is private, off limits and your own domain.
  • Discuss who will claim the rent on their personal income tax return, only one person per household can claim the $700 education property tax credit. This may involve negotiating an equalization payment between roommates once the tax refunds are issued.
  • Set rules involving company. If you have a buddy crash on the couch for a day or two, even a week that’s cool. Any more than that and that this person may be considered a roommate, but one who is not contributing to the rent!
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your concerns, but also ask your roommate what bugs them as well. No one is perfect and like any relationship, being a good roommate is about give and take.


Vionell Holdings Partnership (VHP) provides rental housing and property management for an array of residential and commercial customers, including Condominium Management. VHP currently has nearly 4,000 units under management in Manitoba. For more information please visit