Top 10 Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

By: ROS Team

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Whether you are renting for the first time or are an experienced tenant looking for someone to share rental and living expenses, choosing the right roommate can be extremely difficult. No matter what questions you ask a potential roommate there is no guarantee you’ll get a great roommate.

10 Practical FAQs Someone Who you’re Considering as a Potential Roommate

1. Why Are You Looking for a Roommate?

It’s important to be on the same page with someone before they move in with you. Find out why they are even looking for a roommate. Are they low on funds and can’t afford an apartment individually or are they uncomfortable being alone and need company? Getting answers to these questions will help you identify any potential red flags.

2. What Do You Do for a Living?

The most common problem between roommates is of not paying the rent on time. To ensure the person you’re considering as a roommate is able to cover half of the bills, make sure you verify that he or she is gainfully employed and makes enough money each month to cover the rent. Knowing their work situation will also provide insight into their daily schedule.

3. How Long Do You Expect to Stay?

Finding a roommate is exhausting, so it helps if the person who will be your roommate plans to be in the arrangement for a while. A short-term roommate means you will have to go through the screening process again.

4. What Does Your Normal Workday Look Like?

Along with knowing their work schedule, it’s good to know whether they tend to come home in the middle of the day for lunch or come home late into the evening. Your potential roommate’s schedule is likely to affect your sleep pattern as well.

5. What Are Your Cleaning Habits?

Cleanliness has long been one of the major points of conflict between roommates. No matter how neat or messy you are, you are likely to have issues if you both are not on the same page about cleaning.

As you screen potential roommates, consider asking how they plan to keep common spaces clean. You may also ask how often they do laundry or wash dishes.

6. What Do You Like to Do on Weekends?

Knowing how a roommate likes to spend their time on the weekend is worth asking before they move in, especially if they like to host parties every weekend or if they love hanging out with their friends. Once you know these details you’ll have a better idea of whether their lifestyle is compatible with yours.

7. Do You Have Pets?

It’s Important to Ask this Question for Two Reasons:

  • If you already have a pet or plan to get one, you’ll want to make sure your potential roommate is comfortable with sharing their space with an animal. It’s also to know whether they have any type of allergy.
  • If they have a pet and your lease doesn’t allow pets that may eliminate them as a roommate candidate. Be familiar with the building’s pet policy so you can answer any questions during the screening process.

8. Do You Smoke?

If you don’t smoke then having a roommate who does could pose a problem for both of you. Additionally, you should find out if the building allows smoking in the unit.

9. How Was Your Last Roommate Experience?

This is an important question to ask because it sheds light on whether there are any problematic patterns to look out for if you choose to share an apartment with them. Ask if they had any issues with their former roommates and, if so, what those issues were.

10. What Would Your Previous Landlord Say About You as a Tenant?

Include a background check as you screen potential roommates, especially if you are looking for a long-term roommate. Even if you didn’t ask for a reference letter from a previous landlord, you can still bring up their past rental experience and how they got along with their former landlord.


Choosing a roommate is a serious business since you will be sharing a lot of private space with them. In addition to paying rent on time, sticking to their commitments, and respecting your personal property, your roommate needs to be compatible with you and your habits. Asking some or all of the above-mentioned questions will help you properly screen for a potential roommate.

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