Roommate Expectations

Compromise is key when sharing your living space. At the same time, it is important that there are certain behaviors you can expect for your living space.

  • Read and study in your room without undue disturbance.
  • Sleep without undue disturbance.
  • Expect each will respect the other's personal belongings.
  • Live in a clean environment.
  • Free access to your room or apartment without interference.
  • Personal privacy.
  • Host guests, provided, provided it is agreed to by the roommate and other apartment residents.
  • Be free from fear of intimidation and physical or emotional harm.
  • Refuse requests without having to feel guilty or selfish.
  • Feel or express anger.
  • Make mistakes.
  • Have opinions, feelings, and needs be given respect and consideration.
  • Be independent.
  • Expect reasonable cooperation regarding use of your room.

Important Roommate Discussions: Stopping Roommate Conflict Before It Starts

Roommates walking

It is always helpful to discuss potential issues as early as possible in the year, and to create a set of expectations and a plan for resolving conflicts around those expectations. Remember it is often helpful to revisit and amend these throughout the year as situations change. Listed below are some of the most frequent points of contention between roommates, with questions you and your roommate should be talking to each other about to avoid these common pitfalls in the roommate relationship.

Schedules: Based on class schedule, personal routine, and general preferences, roommates often structure their daily schedule differently. What sleep hours are needed by each of you? What quiet or study hours are needed? What social time is needed? If these needs sometimes conflict, how will that be resolved?

Expenses: Many roommates choose to share certain expenses, which may include streaming services, groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. If you do so, how will payments be divided?

Sharing Possessions: Some roommates choose to share items, including clothing, electronics, jewelry, games, books, and more. What items are you willing to share, and how will you fairly divide use? Would you instead prefer to define the items which are strictly off-limits? What happens if an item is shared and then is lost or damaged?

Visitors: Ithaca College policy allows in-room visitors for no more than three nights, but roommates may restrict this policy further for their room. How many visitors are acceptable, and for how long a stay? Is overnight visitation okay? If the guest is a significant other, what behavioral expectations will be in place?

Cleanliness: What are your expectations for the physical environment? How often will chores like vacuuming, taking out the trash and recycling, wiping down counters, scrubbing sinks, and tidying desks, dressers, or countertops? Who is responsible for the different tasks, or if they will be shared, what is the division based on?

The best roommate relationships are based on openness and honesty, so keep the lines of communication open. Consider your roommate's needs and feelings before you say or do anything that may affect them.

Most issues creating friction between roommates can be resolved, so it is important that you give any conflict situation every opportunity to work.

Consult directly with your Resident or Apartment Assistant on filling out an Apartment-mate/Roommate Agreement to keep on record with the Office of Residential Life. Feel free to contact your Apartment/Resident Assistant or Community/Residence Director for tips or assistance with creating these expectations for quality of life in your living environment or managing conflicts about these expectations. 

If you need assistance resolving a conflict between you and your roommate(s), contact your Apartment/Resident Assistant or Community/Residence Director and ask about mediation.

Special Note: Generally, Ithaca College's limited housing space prohibits a room change as the means to resolve roommate issues.