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Burning Questions

10 Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

Due to the high costs of renting in the City, many New Yorkers choose to find roommates who can share some of that burden. Roommates experiences can range from making new lifelong friends, to horror stories that will be told for decades. For this reason, it is important to come up with a list of questions to ask potential roommates to be sure that you’re entering the commitment of a lease with a clear vision of what to expect.

1. What do you do for work?

This may seem slightly intrusive and superficial, but it is important to get a sense of what your future roommate does (or doesn’t do) for work so that you can get an idea of how reliable they will be when paying for rent.

people working at a conference table

A stable income means you won’t have to cover their portion of rent in an emergency.

2. What is your daily schedule like?

schedule on a wooden tabletop

It’s entirely possible that your roommate has a solid job but is on a completely different schedule than you. If you work 9-5 and are in bed by 10, you may want to reconsider a roommate who works really late and comes home during your sleeping hours. If they’re going to be awake during your sleeping hours, establish some sort of “quiet hours” between yourselves to respect everyone’s needs.

3. Do you have visitors often?

family embracing one another at the door

This is an important question to ask if you don’t want a constant stream of various visitors in your living space. Establishing some sort of ground rules, like one visitor per week, can help you and your roommate stay on the same page about this.

4. Do you have any pets?

golden retriever

If you’re in a pet-free building, this will obviously be an important question to ask. You’re not going to want to break the rules if they’re clear about pets. Even if your building is pet-friendly, you’re going to want to know about which pets and breeds your roommate has. Inevitably, you may end up needing to take the pet for a walk if your roommate is at work or busy.

5. Did you ever have a bad experience with old roommates?

woman hitting a man with boxing glove

If your potential roommate burned all bridges before inquiring about being your roommate, be cautious. Some people might blame everybody else for their poor experiences, when in reality they were the problem. This question gives you insight into whether or not other people had good experiences with your potential roommate.

6. Do you have any references?

for rent sign

This is an extension of question 5 that will help you get a sense of how your potential roommate was when they were living with other people. If you contact their old roommates and they have nice things to say about your potential roommate, then you can rest assured that it’s likely to be a positive experience for you as well.

7. How should we divide cleaning?

gloved hands cleaning surface

This question is helpful because it implies that cleaning will be done by both parties. Unless you and your roommate want to hire cleaning services, it is important to define clearly which roommate will do what cleaning task and when.

8. Do you smoke or drink?

smoke in the air

While it isn’t good to try to control your roommate’s behavior, some apartments do have clear rules on smoking indoors. Wherever smoking is permissible, ask your roommate to smoke in their room or outside. Also, if they’re heavy drinkers or you are abstinent for whatever reason, you may want to reconsider how that will affect your living experience.

9. Are you seeing anyone?

couple embrace in sunlight

While it may seem a bit nosy, this question can help you get a sense of what to expect for guests at the apartment. It is never ideal to have a third roommate at your apartment most of the time, especially in a more cramped living space. Set up some type of ground rules ahead of time, both for people in serious relationships, and people who are casually dating.

10. What do you like to do in your free time?


Asking this may help you find some common interests with your roommate. It also can be used to get a sense of what to expect during weekends. Is your roommate into playing drums or doing woodwork? These are important things to consider.

Once you have asked all of these questions, you should have a much better sense of whether or not the potential roommate is a good fit. Once you’ve found that good fit, you’re going to need a team of professional movers to move you and your belongings to your new apartment.

metropolis moving truck

Metropolis Moving has gained the reputation of being one of New York City’s most courteous, careful, and friendly professional moving services. Get a quote today and you’ll be on your way to living the life you envision for yourself with your new roommate.

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