Couch Surfer Compensation Packages
As we alluded to in our recent Apartment Pet Peeves series (posted on the MyNewPlace Facebook page), we have an additional guest staying with us for a month. That guest was our 4th roommate until a lovely couple we knew from Colorado arrived on July 1st. So, our old roommate had no choice but to move out…to our couch.
So now our apartment has two more people than it did 2 weeks ago, (we are operating under the more the merrier maxim) we’ve got to figure out what kind of payment plan on which to put our ‘my bed is your couch’ roommate. According to Roommate Common Law, any a period of 7-14 days should be gratis, anything more and some kind of compensation should be discussed. But here, I think there are a few things to consider.
Firstly, not one but two of the current roommates, (myself included) were allowed to stay by previous roommates for free on the couch for more than one month, so it would be nice to pass along that heritage of hospitality.
The circumstances are not quite the same, however. Both our situations were acclimatization focused. We had just moved to the city and needed a place to keep ourselves (and our stuff) somewhere while we found jobs and permanent residences. The hospitality was extended as part of a halfway house kind of deal.
This is very common, especially for recent graduates, which is why we wrote an about the Recent Graduate Dilemma and an apt follow up, called The Rules of Couch Surfing, which, I think, if obeyed can be applied to any couch surfing situation, regardless if the person is an incoming or outgoing roommate.
We won’t reprint that classic list here, maybe on Facebook, but regardless, our former roommate/current couch occupier has followed the rules without too much difficulty, so it is not as if she need to compensate for any disruption in the apartment’s operation.
That being said, it is not as much a matter of her paying for intrusion, but more a matter, of “hey man, if I could live on the couch for free, I’d do it, so in the interest of being equitable to our other roommates, fork over some bones, or clams or whatever they call it these days.”
But the compensation would have to be split 5 ways; do we each get a hundred bucks? Perhaps it would be better for her to use that money towards some kind of apartment improvement project. But what, (we’ve already got a TV, a couch and a frying pan) would we ever need?