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A Guide to Renting With Roommates in NYC


For many people searching for an apartment to rent in NYC, it can seem impossible to find a great place within their budget. Rent prices in NYC are among the highest in the country, and even professionals with good salaries can have a difficult time paying all their living expenses on their own. It’s not surprising, therefore, that nearly half of New Yorkers have roommates. 

The roommate approach offers NYC renters a chance to live in a larger space and perhaps enjoy some luxury amenities too. The approach also brings with it new challenges that can make or break your living experience. Therefore, it is important to consider a few key factors before choosing roommates based on not only your expectations but on theirs as well. Below are 4 essential factors to keep in mind and openly discuss with potential roommates to ensure that your living expectations are met:

Budget: Before even looking for a roommate or an apartment share, you need to have an honest conversation with yourself about what you’re willing and able to pay for rent and other expenses such as internet, electric, security deposit and broker fee – keeping in mind that you will also need to budget for food, travel, shopping, healthcare essentials, and more. You should make a weekly or monthly budget of how much you can reasonably pay for all your expenses, and identify how much you can truly allot for rent.

Apartment Needs: Once you identify your rent budget, you’ll need to prioritize which apartment features are most important to you. Is it the neighborhood, the apartment size, how modern it is, whether there is a view, or convenient public transportation, has lots of closet space, outdoor space, has a doorman, a gym, etc. Rarely can you find a place within budget that has everything you want, but you can certainly find one with the features most important to you. Know ahead of time which features are a must and which ones you’d be willing to live without. Also consider that many apartments have different sized bedrooms which could affect the rental split. Determine if you’d be willing to spend a few hundred dollars more per month for the larger bedroom, or if you’ll need someone else to. Finally, you’ll want to come to an agreement with your potential roommate(s) that you share the same priorities or at least negotiate a priority list together so that each feels comfortable enough to move forward. 

Lifestyle Compatibility: Another essential conversation to have with potential roommate(s) is how you live. For example if you’re not a smoker and your roommate is, this can cause friction in your living situation. Factors like what schedule the other person keeps, their personal habits, and how often they are willing to clean may not be compatible with yours. So make sure these things are discussed beforehand. If you choose someone you already know, such as a friend or coworker, make sure you don’t skip over this essential conversation. While you may already have a great rapport, things can change quickly when living in close quarters. Interview all potential roommates the same way to determine just how compatible you are likely to be in a shared space. 

Boundaries: Once you have general agreement on roommate compatibility, you’ll want to establish specific ground rules. From paying bills to noise to guests to cleaning, there are many ways roommates can put a strain on each other’s lives. Will you be sharing food or keeping it separate? How about bathroom courtesy? A useful tool is a roommate agreement, with many variations and templates online, that you can fill out together to ensure everyone is on the same page and help prevent any potential misunderstandings down the line.

Renting with a roommate doesn’t have to be stressful as long as you take the proper steps to establish budget, apartment and lifestyle compatibility, and ground rules. Besides lessening the financial burden of living in NYC, living with roommates can even yield long lasting friendships and open up great networking opportunities, too. Since many people in NYC are looking for roommates, there is surely plenty of opportunity to create your ideal home environment.


For more information on renting apartments in New York City, contact us today at (646) 202-1877.

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