Roommate Guide


Things to consider

Before agreeing to live with someone new, make sure you talk about policies of smoking, pets, drug use, weapons in the house and how bills will be split. These have ALL been issues for people in the past. If you have any doubts or arguments with roommates about money or rent before you move in, seriously consider NOT living with them. The problems only get worse.

Culture also plays a part, so discuss different habits if you are going to be rooming with people with a culture different from yours. It can be a very enriching experience, but educate yourself on types of food, expectations, etc. before moving in just so you have no surprises.

Living in a house with a live-in landlord is pretty rare for students in Davis but it is not unheard of. They tend to be strict about who comes over/what time you come home/how much electricity is used/etc because it is their own home. Maybe students do not find this to be a good living situation. It's almost like having parents again, and you don't have the same power since you aren't equally responsible for the place, like when you share a lease equally with another roommate.

Finding the right person

If you don't already have somebody in mind, roommates can be found via the following services:

See our Rental Housing Guide for more information

Coping with a roommate

Share your tips for successful roommate living here.

And also, what to avoid...

Dividing rent fairly

Most places to live do not have identical bedrooms, and this can create issues if roommates are expecting equal shares. Fortunately, there are better methods: The New York Times has a [WWW]fantastic tool for revealing different preferences among roommates. The process guarantees an "envy-free" result of who gets what room and how much they pay, such that no one would rather have someone else's room+rent.

The [WWW]associated article puts it this way: "Part of the beauty of the approach is that you don’t have to come up with numbers yourself. All it requires is that at each step you pick which room you like best based on the prices assigned to each room at that moment. As the method proceeds, the prices get closer and the decisions become harder, but it contains no surprises. You’re never stuck with a price that you haven’t chosen."

Before You Become Roommates . . .

Choosing roommates may be the most important decision you will have to make as an off-campus resident. To make a more informed choice, we encourage you and your prospective roommates to sit down together and use this flyer as a guide for discussion. By discussing important issues now, you may avoid problems later on. Explore your differences thoroughly and your tolerance of those differences.

Most prospective roommates discuss basic questions like what type of housing and how many roommates they want, but it's important not to stop here. You might also gain considerable benefit from discussion of habits, preferences, and expectations. Be sure to define terms; what you mean by sometimes, quiet, clean, and so forth may differ drastically from what another person means. Once you have completed the getting-acquainted process, take plenty of time before making a decision. Remember to weigh compatibilities and conflicts carefully, and don't be afraid to say no. Once you have selected your roommates, we suggest that you establish house rules immediately and WRITE them down. Sign your names and make a copy for each person.

Things For You To Consider

The Basics

Things to Discuss with Prospective Roommates




If you decide to live together after discussing these issues, recognize that the process of communicating has just begun. Your roommate cannot read your mind! Set a pattern of communicating and working together on common concerns. Make a commitment to continue to be open, honest, assertive, and considerate. Remember, roommates are a choice!

-from the Student Housing Office, University of California, Davis 7/84

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