The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Roommates should consider expenses

    Moving off-campus gives a sense of independence from the academic grind and dorm life. Whether sharing an apartment with another person, or being one of eight tenants in a house, situations with roommates cannot be avoided.

    Freshman Kailyn Van Beckum said she is thinking of renting next year and is searching for a roommate who is respectful of her study habits.

    John DeRosa, property manager for Rental Resources of Eau Claire Inc., said respect is important, and students should pick somone who they want to live with for that reason.

    “It is best to make sure you are comfortable with them,” he said.

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    Senior Katie O’Connell agrees. “You should understand (habits) at the beginning because some things are hard to change later in the year.”

    Other responsibilities that might not cross a student’s mind, DeRosa said, is how to split rent and security deposits between the number of tenants in a house or apartment.

    When living on-campus, other considerations like food expenses and visits from guests should be brought up among the occupants as well, DeRosa said.

    Senior Candy Spiegel said she and her roommates split costs such as utilities, but when it comes to food, they all buy their own.

    According to Tenant Resource Center, some phone and utility companies allow several people to sign their names on the bill. This causes tenants to be punctual about paying bills.

    DeRosa said that written agreements are important when sorting out problems such as utility payments.

    “In the lease, everyone is equally liable,” he said.

    “So if problems were to occur, it would be a big mess if the roommates didn’t know each other very well,” Landlord John Aumann said of the legality of co-renting with others.

    According to TRC, in the event of property damage, making sure who is responsible, whether it is the person who caused the damage who will pay for repairs or each one of the roommates equally paying, is important to know.

    Also, it is best to sign separate leases if roommates don’t know each other very well, according to TRC.

    “I’d rent with someone who has a similar personality,” freshman Krista Larson said. “Then you know who you’re living with.”

    Personalities are not all you have to worry about.

    “Make sure you’re like personalities and understand things such as neatness,” senior Jenny Bremnes said.

    Senior Lynn Hilgendorf said that a roommate’s cleaning habits and hygiene can create an issue in the living situation.

    “One time my roommate left a bunch of bananas to rot and it caused a swarm of fruit flies,” she said.

    According to TRC, the roommates need to discuss how they are going to pay rent each month.

    It needs to be considered beforehand what one will do if a roommate can’t pay rent one month, or if the landlord won’t accept seperate checks, these can create an issue.

    TRC suggests to make up a chore list, such as who will take out the garbage, cleaning the bathrooms, or washing dishes.

    Another aspect to consider is how often the house or apartment will be cleaned
    Matt McHugh of McQ Properties said the advantages of renting with roommates deems in lower bills and friendships.

    He recommends, however, whether subleasing or just rooming with friends, to make a written agreement for things such as who will pay the bills.

    The TRC Web site has a downloadable form which serves as an agreement for paying bills and other commitments.

    Roommates can use this form when figuring out expenses.

    However, Spiegel said that living with other people has been a good experience.

    “The group of people I live with is good,” she said. “I’ve been living with them for two years now and I would definitely do it again.”

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