Apartment Roommates: Who Gets the Master?

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Living in an apartment with roommates requires making compromises even before you move into the space. One issue you and your roommate are likely to encounter is deciding who gets the master bedroom. Here are some things to consider.

Who Pays More?

Typically the roommate with the larger bedroom or master suite pays slightly more in rent than the roommate with the smaller room. However, it doesn’t have to work this way. Sometimes roommates don’t really care about the inequity and decide to split rent equally. You can also opt to have the person with the larger room handle one of the bills entirely, like the Internet or cable bill. Sit down with your roommate(s) and figure out what works best for everybody.

Figure Out Who Really Wants It

After you and your roommate have selected an apartment, it’s best to start talking right away about who will sleep in which room. You might find that you all don’t really have a preference about where you sleep. If that’s the case, you both can select a room and leave it at that.Chances are, however, that someone is going to have a larger bed, more furniture or some other legitimate reason for needing the master bedroom and the extra space. If you want the master bedroom but have smaller or less furniture than your roommate, it makes more sense for him or her to have the larger room. Having larger furniture isn’t a free pass, though, to take the bigger room without paying extra in rent especially in cases where you feel like you’re having to compromise.

The Lure of the Private Bathroom

Many times the appeal of having the master bedroom isn’t the extra space it allows, but having a private bathroom. If you and your roommate both really want the space and are willing to pay more in rent to have the room, you’ll want to find a neutral way to decide. Flipping a coin is a good way to settle the decision.

Keep in mind that problems can arise when one person has a private bathroom. Do their friends and family use the private bathroom or your more accessible bathroom off the main hallway when they come over? How this question is answered depends on both you and your roommate’s personal feelings about it. The way you choose to handle the situation really doesn’t matter—what matters is making sure you discuss these kind of things to avoid future conflicts.

About Verbal Agreements

The tried and true advice of “get it in writing” works with roommate agreements, too. Type up a roommate agreement in the beginning and include all details about the master bedroom and the compromise that’s implemented. While there may be no legal recourse with a humble roommate agreement, having everything in writing will be beneficial should a conflict arise. Never take your roommate at his or her word even if you’re the best of friends. Write it down and sign it!

As with practically everything in life, communication is key to avoiding conflict and making wise decisions. Roommates can come to a consensus of who gets the master bedroom by talking it out.

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