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How to Handle Common Roommate Problems

Unresolved Issues Put Your Living Arrangement at Risk


Many people enjoy living in an apartment with a roommate. After all, roommates provide companionship and convenience, not to mention savings in rent and other monthly apartment expenses.

But when you choose to share an apartment with another person, there's a chance that a conflict may arise. Whether a conflict has to do with finances or personalities, it can grow serious enough to make your apartment living unpleasant. Even worse, if a roommate conflict doesn't get resolved, it could put your living arrangement at risk.

Here are some tips for handling common problems that arise between apartment roommates:

1. The Messy Roommate-Neat Roommate Conflict

Young woman apologizing to upset friend.
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Are you at odds with your roommate when it comes to how neat and clean you want your apartment to be? It's ideal to choose a roommate who agrees with you on housekeeping matters, but things don't always work out that way.

If you find yourself with a roommate who doesn't see eye-to-eye with you when it comes to neatness, it doesn't have to spell the end of your living arrangement. Find out what to do if you feel stuck with a roommate who's messier than you -- or neater than you.

2. The Who-Pays-What Conflict

Roommate Candidates Meeting
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Are you having trouble agreeing on how much you and your roommate should contribute toward apartment expenses? Or perhaps you casually discussed the issue before you signed a lease, and your roommate "conveniently" forgot some of the conversation.

Although it may be tempting to figure things out as you go, putting your agreements in writing is the best way to make sure you pay your bills in full and avoid misunderstandings and arguments that can threaten your roommate relationship.

3. The Roommate Who Stops Paying Rent

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When you split rent with a roommate, you're both responsible for getting the full amount of the rent to your landlord on time. Even if you pay your share each month, your roommate's nonpayment could put your tenancy at risk, too.

Because a tenant is on the hook for a roommate's portion of the total monthly rent, one tenant's poor financial habits can lead to both tenants' evictions.

Read more about this common roommate problem and how to handle it.

4. The Roommate With Strong, Opposing Political Views

Political Disagreements
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You don't have to be a political junkie to encounter problems with a roommate over politics. Many people are passionate about abortion, healthcare reform, the war on terror, and gay marriage, among other hot-button issues.

If you discover you're living with a roommate who has a strong, opposing political view, conflict may ensue. Not only might you start to detest your roommate for his views, but you might argue when you or your roommate wants to promote your political party or favorite candidate by posting signs, buttons, and other items in your apartment.

There's no reason people of different -- even opposite -- political persuasions can't live together. Here's what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

5. The Roommate With Different Holiday Decor Ideas

Holiday Decorations
© Mimi Haddon / Getty Images

When roommates celebrate different holidays or have opposing ideas when it comes to how -- or how much -- to decorate their apartment, it can lead to arguments.

But there's no reason you can't try to compromise when you're living with a roommate who disagrees with you about holiday decor.

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