Looking for a new roommate during quarantine can feel daunting and overwhelming. We’re here to help! Despite the current restrictions with COVID-19, leases are still ending, rent checks still need to be paid, and city living is still expensive! With more people fleeing cities or relocating for new jobs or work from home setups, many find themselves struggling to look for a subletter or new roommate to help cover the rent on a broken lease.
During these times, Common has continued to offer our members constant access to our team for personalized support, as well as increased cleanings of shared spaces and deliveries of household goods (soap, toilet paper, etc.) to keep roommates as healthy and safe as possible. As experts in city-living and roommates, we compiled a list of tips for finding quality roommates safely during COVID-19 restrictions to help anyone outside of our member community with the search.
Please keep in mind that these tips are our best suggestions, but shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. For more information on staying safe during COVID-19, please check with the CDC or your local news outlet.
1. Utilize online resources and networks to find a quality candidate
In the 21st century, there are a plethora of options to help you find roommates to live with! The most important tip is to not be afraid to reach out to friends and family first to see if they know of anyone who is looking. In addition, here are some great places to start your search:
- Facebook groups of college alumni-networks, community organizations, or city-specific housing
- Roomster– City-focused website and app that allows you to list your home or search for roommate openings
- Roomi-Allows you to find a roommate on a secure platform with background checks, online bookings, and secure payments
- Roommates.com– national and secure sight that will match you with roommates with similar qualifications and living preferences
2.Host the first meeting on a video call to tour the space and set expectations
By meeting for the first time virtually, this will help minimize contact and allow the first stage of roommate-vetting to be completely contact-free.
3. Check with your landlord to see if there is any flexibility in lease length and subleasing policies
There’s no harm in asking! Even if there is no opportunity to offer different lease terms, there might be a chance to differ or lessen rent payments while you search for a roommate.
4. Discuss personal preferences and boundaries around COVID-19 related precautions
While this might not be the most uplifting topic to discuss, it’s vital that you’re clear about your living situation and boundaries in regard to social distancing. Make sure to ask how often they’ve been socializing with others, wearing protective gear, and implementing other precautions to see if their response aligns with your own. Everyone will have different comfort levels on socializing in and outside of the apartment, and it’s best to discuss this prior to move-in to set realistic expectations and boundaries.
5. Discuss cleaning habits
This should obviously be a discussion with anyone you are looking to live with, but now is the time to be extra diligent. Set expectations for roommate cleaning schedules, responsibilities, and hand-washing.
6. For the second in-person tour, require protective gear and provide hand sanitizer at the door
Asking your potential new roommate to wear a mask will keep everyone safe in the process! There’s no harm in a little extra cleanliness right?
7. Discuss work-from-home and work schedules
Will they be working from home in the living room all day long? Will they be taking a long list of work calls? Do they have an essential job that requires them to be more exposed to the virus than normal circumstances? By making sure that your living space can accommodate your work needs, you will be able to structure your days much more easily.
8. Be realistic
It’s important to keep in mind that these are unprecedented times and everyone is trying their best. With high-unemployment and more people leaving cities than normal, set realistic expectations and a longer timeline than you would expect to find someone to live with.