Tips for Selecting a Roommate

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Is mama bird kicking you out of the family nest or is your current place about to be condemned? Perhaps you are looking for a new place to start the next chapter in your life i.e. going to college or starting a new career.

There is a lot of rental property out there, but some places may be out of your price range, especially after you’ve made a short list of some of the amenities that you’re looking for in your new home. This could include in-suite laundry, a balcony, lots of storage space, a secure entrance, modern finishes, or a great neighbourhood.

If this is the case, you might consider sharing the cost of an apartment with one or two roommates. It will make living on your own more affordable and possibly more enjoyable.

Whether you’re considering moving in with your best friend, a distant cousin or a friend of a friend, be sure to choose a roommate carefully. Here are some tips to make the experience a great one for everyone involved:

  • Talk to your potential roommate(s) to determine if there are lifestyle traits that you can’t live with. If they have a cat and you are allergic to cats, you may not be compatible. Engage in a conversation about all pets. Everything from snakes to budgie birds – they may not already have a pet but they have may have plans to get one once they have their own place.
  • Try to get a feel for what your new roommates’ lifestyle might be. Do they watch a lot of TV, are they gamers? Are they home all the time or never at home? Do they party or would they rather immerse themselves in a good book? Do they smoke? You won’t find a perfect match on all lifestyle choices, however, it is best to know what you are facing before moving in together.
  • If you have the opportunity to visit them in their current living situation, do it. What is your level of comfort when you’re there? Do they leave their dishes in the sink, is there pop cans and pizza boxes sitting on the counter from last week? Or, is it like walking into a museum all neat and perfect? More often than not, rifts between roommates revolve around cleaning duties.
  • It’s important to decide in advance what extras you need or want when living together. For example, will you subscribe to cable/satellite TV or the Internet or both? How will the bills be divided?
  • How will you handle sleepovers with girlfriends, boyfriends or couch-surfing friends? Company is a bit like leftovers, after a couple of days they need to be thrown out to avoid unpleasantness. Be prepared for this.
  • Figure out how you’re going to handle food. Do you split the fridge and cupboards in half and do your own shopping? Do you share everything and just split the grocery bill or is it a combination of both? Set the rules in advance because eating the last slice of your roommates pizza could cause World War III.
  • Look for a space that works for your lifestyle with the amenities that fit your budget.
  • Go apartment hunting together. When you find the right place, have all roommates apply as tenants rather than having one main tenant and the other roommates as occupants. This allows all incomes to be considered in the screening process and provides equal rights to all tenants with the Residential Tenancy Branch should problems come up.


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 
www.vhproperties.ca.

VHP has committed to constructing 128 multifamily residential units in Portage la Prairie the first 64 units will be ready for occupancy in fall of 2019.