Making a roommate relationship work for everyone requires planning, commitment, involvement and, sometimes, hard work. There are many advantages of having roommates—companionship, friendship, and the opportunity to share expenses and responsibilities are just a few of these advantages. But there can be a downside, too, if you find out too late that your roommate never pays his or her bills or is reckless with the property. You may find out you're not really compatible or that you have different values.
For all these reasons, it makes sense to sit down with everyone involved and talk about some ground rules for how you want to live together before jumping into a roommate situation. You'll want to develop a list of simple rules with clear definitions. After all, the words "quiet" and "occasional" can mean different things to different people.
Consider putting these simple rules in writing and having all the roommates sign the form. This may sound a bit stuffy and formal, but it can help you avoid future problems if your agreement is written down and not just verbal. If you find yourself disagreeing with a roommate, you won't have to rely solely on memory-you can go back and read your written agreement.
The list below can be used as a starting point for items to discuss with your roommates before signing the lease.
This section was adapted from University of Pennsylvania Off-Campus Living.