Co-habitation: Why you should think before signing a lease now

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Soon enough exams will end, a new semester will start up, and students will begin to think about housing. Perhaps they are first years moving off campus for the first time, or upper year students who are deciding whether or not to stay in their current house.

Regardless of the experience, a huge deciding factor is roommate selection. I’m sure that everyone is all too familiar with stories about housemate relationships going sour, friendships ending, lasting resentment, etc.

However juicy the negative stories might be, there are also stories out there of housemates who lived together for 3 or more years. Situations where living arrangements worked out, fighting was non-existent or minimal, and there was mutual compatibility.

This is the holy grail of housing. This is what we all strive for… or avoid it entirely and decide that our own company suits us just fine and we’re going to look for a place on our own. Whatever your decision, the best advice would be to take some time and think about it, before you rush into signing a lease.

Some universal things to ponder would include: study habits, partying habits, pets, parking, cleanliness, and general lifestyle choices. Let’s be realistic, you may get along great in a social situation (or res) but will this carry over to renting a place together? Be sure to learn a little bit more about the people who you are choosing to spend your home life with. Keep in mind, just because you choose not to live with someone does not mean that you will never see them again. Sometimes a friendship that might not survive co-habitation would flourish by living in separate houses.

Here are some facts: Guelph has a housing surplus. Current tenants only need to give their landlord 60 days written notice before moving out. This means that May 1, 2010 leases will peak in February and March 2010. September 1, 2010 leases will peak in June, July and August 2010! You have more than enough time to choose your housemate wisely.

Well… I moved into a house with some friends and we’ve really been having issues. What now? Interpersonal conflict is always difficult to resolve and this does not get any easier when both parties live under the same roof. Remember to choose your battles and maintain open communication. This brings to mind the advice of using “I” statements, rather than accusatory “You” statements. If you feel like you need help with mediation, or want to talk to someone about your co-habitation problem, feel free to make an appointment with an Off-Campus Living peer. You can even come and visit us before you move in and we will help you to set up a housing agreement. You can book one-on-one sessions during our office hours, the sign-up sheet is right by the Student Life desk; or, you can always email [email protected]

The bonus is that if you are really fed up with your roommates, we can also provide information about subletting your room or assigning your tenancy!

Posted by Off-Campus Living at the University of Guelph.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question

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