You have finally decided to move away from home. You just found the perfect place to live; now all you need is the perfect roommate. Reality check: no one is perfect! Everyone has flaws and everyone is different. The best way to decide how to get along with your roommate is communication.

Communication is a valuable skill that every roommate should work on. It is usually the most effective way to solve problems between roommates. Another tool to ease conflict between roommates is a roommate contract.

A roommate contract is an agreement with specific conditions that each roommate agrees upon before making the decision to live together. This is the easiest way to settle disputes over almost anything. Whether the dispute is over quiet time or is as simple as what type of music can be played in the house, you and your roommate can make up your own contract. This contract should be used at times to solve these simple disputes.

Most contracts between roommates should include the following:

• What time is suitable for a quiet study time?
• Who will clean what and when?
• What are you willing to share?
• When is a suitable time to have guests over or throw a party?
• What happens if someone cannot pay the rent on time?
• How and when will problems be discussed?

These are just a few ideas for a contract. It all depends on how well you know and trust each other. If your new roommate is someone you have just met, plan for a formal contract to be written. Many colleges strongly recommend them.

Having a contract will help settle some arguments that come up along the way. What better way to prove your point than by showing your roommate the signed contract? Good luck on finding a roommate, and be sure to check out some sample contracts on the Internet.
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