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Tips for Living with Roommates in Big Cities

Nearly one third U.S. adults live with a roommate - and that doesn't include romantic partners or college-age students. The thing is, any experienced roomy is aware of the fact that platonic cohabitating doesn't look much like the carefree stereotypes created by sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother or New Girl.

On the contrary, finding good roommates is a complicated business that should be addressed seriously. If you're in a situation where you need another person to help split the rent in an apartment in a large city like New York, here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Always Sign a Contract
There are many subtle legalities that come with living with a roommate. For instance, adding a roommate to an existing lease is complicated and even co-signing a lease together can get sticky if someone leaves before it expires.

You also want to understand what responsibilities you share as tenants and who will address each concern (or how you will share each duty on a schedule.)

In addition, it's important to ensure that anyone who cohabits in a space with you understands the restrictions, such as noise pollution and maintaining personal space, that come with living in a city setting. That's why you should always sign a separate contract with a new roommate specifically stipulating how any potential scenarios of this nature should be handled.

Set Ground Rules
Ground rules are always important with roommates. When you're in a big city with limited wiggle room, though, they're absolutely essential.

Go over your situation with your roommate and start by considering all of the classic ground rules. This includes items such as how to share food, respecting personal space, divvying up chores, and understanding if, how, and when you can invite guests into your dwelling.

Along with that, consider city-specific roommate items. For instance, if one of you has a car and the others don't, will you share the vehicle? If so, how will the non-owners participate in the costs involved?

Regardless of the specifics, always set ground rules that pertain to your unique big-city-roommate situation.

Properly Organize Your Spaces
If you live in a city apartment, chances are space is at a premium - and sharing it only makes things that more cramped.

Decluttering is one of the best ways to make a home feel more spacious. However, when you share a space with another independent adult, you can't simply pick up their stuff and relocate it in a cleaner spot.

Instead, look for ways to actively promote the collective cleaning and organization of your shared spaces. For instance, you can use a locker (or even a few of them) to help organize your common living spaces in a trendy and industrial yet clean fashion.

If you make an effort to stay organized, it will make your shared city life much easier to bear over time.

Finding Roommates in the City
A good roommate is always hard to come by. If you're living in a small-yet-expensive space in a city, though, a quality roommate who will respect rules and shoulder their share of living costs can be that much more valuable.

As you set out in search of a good roomy, remember to ask the right questions, set ground rules, divvy up responsibilities, sign contracts, and keep your limited spaces as organized as possible.

Proactively taking steps like these is the best way to keep your shared living arrangements copacetic and sustainable for as long as they may last.