You know that it’s important to check references before asking a new roommate to move in, but are you confused where to start? Checking the references of your chosen roommate is similar to checking references when a person is hired for a job. It lets you confirm that you have chosen the perfect roommate for you or alternatively, lets you find any hidden surprises before it’s too late.
The process of checking references starts as soon as you ask for references from potential roommates. Ideally, you should ask for 1-2 references during the roommate interview and ask to speak to former roommates. Previous roommates can give you the best idea how it would be like to live with your chosen roommate. If they are unable to give you references from previous roommates, you may wish to ask why they are no longer in touch with them.
If you’re unable to speak to any former roommates, ask for references from friends and family. They can often given you a good insight into your selected roommate’s personality and living habits. For example, your chosen roommate’s brother or sister may tell you that they always have an untidy bedroom. You can compare this answer to your selected roommate’s answer and decide if they are still the roommate for you.
When you talk to the referees given to you by your chosen roommate, you should start by verifying basic important information. This means you need to confirm the:
1. referee has been a roommate of your chosen roommate
2. number of roommates living in the household
3. dates the roommate lived at the address
4. reason your selected roommate no longer lives in the household
Once you have verified these basic facts, your next step is to find out about the referee’s experience of living with your chosen roommate by asking relevant questions. It’s important to be aware that the referee may give you biased information but by asking the right questions you should be able to sort out fact from fiction.
The key is to ask questions that let you find out factual and objective information about how it would be like to live with your chosen roommate. It’s a good idea to decide which questions you would like to ask before you speak to each referee. Here are some sample questions.
1. How long did you live with this roommate?
2. Why do you no longer live with this roommate?
3. Would you live with this roommate again? Why?
4. What are the 3 worst habits of this roommate?
5. What did you enjoy about living with this roommate?
6. Did the roommate pay the agreed rent and expenses on time?
7. Did this roommate cause any problems while living with you or other roommates?
You may need to ask some tough questions because after all, you’ll be the one that will be living with your chosen roommate. Just remember, checking references is an important part of finding your perfect roommate. By checking roommate references through asking a few simple questions, you’ll soon be on your way to choosing the right roommate for you.
Good Luck and Happy Roommate Hunting!