Roommates – Not Just for Students Anymore    

As housing prices in Canada’s biggest cities continue to rise and availability of suitable options is limited, more and more people are considering alternative living arrangements. Once roommates were the domain of skint college students but this is not the new reality. Many are considering the value of sharing a living space – or co-living- and not just singletons. Couples and even families realize there are advantages beyond the obvious financial ones that come with co-living experiences. You typically gain more elbow room in the form of extra square footage, often some outdoor space but perhaps most importantly, you gain an immediate community. Initially, it may seem like an invasion of space and privacy but framed more objectively, your roommates can be an important source of company, support and security. And it is a great way to have some money left over to live the fun and exciting city life you keep scrolling through on Instagram!

To truly thrive in this type of slightly unconventional setting, a certain level of diplomacy will be required – more than with a spouse or sibling – but if executed maturely, you can thrive. Be aware of how others perceive your behaviour. Sure, some things will likely get under your skin but the same goes for your habits.

Once you’ve carefully selected your co-living partners, here are some tips to ensure the arrangement remains harmonious.

1.Establish Rules

In order for everyone to enjoy their collective space, you must set expectations and set boundaries. Determine when everyone showers, if they like music played out loud, and clearly outline in what condition, the bathroom and kitchen should be left. So often a stack of dirty dishes in the sink is a sure way of sabotaging a co-living arrangement.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

2. Set up a Cleaning Schedule

Hopefully you will have selected a roommate(s) with similar cleanliness standards but even still, everyone has their own expectations so it is important, firstly, to not impose yours on others and to collectively draw up a rotating schedule for keeping shared spaces clean and tidy.  Of course, the running assumption is that everyone will be responsible for their own bedrooms!

Alternatively, consider hiring a cleaning service. The divided cost might be quite reasonable and the peace of mind and state of place will be very much worth it.

3. Share Noise Expectations

Clearly convey noise requirements to one another. People have varied tolerances so be respectful and reasonable. Consider city noise by-laws  as a guide and weekday/weekend variations on the rules.

Photo by Annie Spratt

4. Manage Shared Costs

This is always a tricky one. There is no point in everyone heading to Costco to buy toilet paper in bulk because, frankly, storage space will be limited. However, you don’t want to grow resentful when you feel like you are the one always buying the communal items. Consider a money jar. Roomies can pop in $5 a month and then indicate on a sign-up sheet, what has been purchased and by whom.  Also consider using one of the apps dedicated to cost sharing. (Check out our earlier blog post, “Share and Share Alike: Best Apps To Manage Utilities).

5. Encourage community

Have potlucks, game nights or barbecues to get to know one another better, make friendships and to get more out of your living arrangement than simply a place to rest your head.  Alternatively, consider finding a common hobby or simply watch The Bachelor or Game of Thrones together!  Regardless of how you do it, just make an effort to get to know your roommates better and strengthen your co-living community.

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These efforts will go a long way to fostering good roomie relations and a happy, stress-free living environment.

Kristina Ikavalko

Kristina Ikavalko

Creative Content Creator for Liv, based in Vancouver. Fan of field hockey, food, fashion & politics.

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