Loving Living with Roommates

Personally, I have always preferred to live with friends. When I rented an apartment in Washington, D.C., we had 4 people living in a 3 bedroom place, and I currently rent in San Francisco with 3 others.

I have only lived alone once, and it wasn’t long before I began having intense discussions with my household appliances, inventing food-preparation challenges and “camping out” in a tent in the other bedroom.

As a semi-recent graduate, I find that not only does this cut down on costs, but it also preserves that communal and spontaneous atmosphere that I cherished while still in college. There is something very nice about coming home to an apartment that is warmed and lit by the conviviality of it’s occupants.

photo courtesy of mia mabanta
Of course, when living with others, there are more potential issues that can arise; living together can be great, but it can also be challenging.

One of the issues that I have found leads to tensions among roommates is the ownership of communal and usually expensive items, such as couches, TVs, kitchenware and other furniture.

In a perfect situation, it would be best to be able to head to IKEA, Best Buy and Costco before moving in, decide democratically on what items are necessary and then split the bill. This is, however, a rare occurrence, as all the roommates would need to move into a new apartment together and lack some or all of those major items.

More often, the situation is such that roommates move in at different times and bring all sorts of these items with them. Also, sometimes a roommate can move into an apartment that is already completely furnished, which can lead to a discrepancy in the amount that that roommate is invested.

Is it fair to have one or two people own most of the communal items in an apartment? Of course those people are the owners and can take them wherever they go or sell them, but certainly the roommates’ usage, especially with furniture, contributes to depreciation.

What is the best way to handle this situation? Has anyone had experiences with this and devised an agreeable solution?

On Friday, the bloggers at MyNewPlace will get back with our own creative solutions as we continue to explore the peaks and valleys of living with roommates and help you foresee potential issues.

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