For many young people, renting your first home means more responsibility. You might not want to go it alone. At times, getting a roommate might seem like the perfect solution. It can prove very practical for financing. Still, having a roommate means assuming different responsibilities for your household. Let's think about the positive and negative aspects of roommates.
Roommates Can Save Money
Rather than having to pay the rent on a one-bedroom apartment, you might find it cheaper to invest in a two-bedroom unit with a roommate. You can split the payment of the rent, thereby often paying less than you would for a single unit. Still, splitting costs means setting clear expectations of who pays what. After all, you'll both have a responsibility to ensure payments arrive on-time.
Splitting costs might not equal a 50/50 deal unless you agree to those stipulations. For example, it might prove better for one roommate to pay utility costs, while the other pays the water bill. That might lead to slight inequities. In other cases, one roommate assumes all extra costs on the property. The other simply pays the rent. Whatever course you and your roommate agree to, place them in writing. That way, neither party will have confusion on what they owe.
Roommates Mean More Responsibilities
When roommates share a home, both parties will likely appear on the lease. In that case, both will likely have to sign the document. By doing so, each will assume responsibility for their actions on the property. Each party has an obligation to see to the property's upkeep and maintenance. Each also has a duty to follow lease rules, and to respect the home's intended use.
More People Sometimes Equal More Liabilities
As more people enter a space, the risks of damage to the property, or harm to others, might increase. Thus, the need for renters insurance often increases as well.
Insurers differ in how they address roommates. Some might increase a renter's rates for bringing them on. Others might not renew coverage if you fail to disclose a renter in the property. Often, it's a good idea for you to increase your policy’s liability and possessions limits. While some insurers will include both renters on a policy, this is sometimes not advisable. Your renters insurance should pertain to your insurance profile. Therefore, most renters and roommates will often need separate policies.
So, when getting a roommate, do so only when you can guarantee a secure environment. Assuming you both keep the property safe and secure, you have little to worry about.