Sharing an apartment with a family member (or two) can be both a relief and a cause of stress. In the end, your experience living with a family roommate depends largely on the character of that family member and you. The pros and cons of cohabitating with a family member include:
Pro 1. An Understanding Roommate
Cohabitating with a family member means that you’re sharing an apartment with someone who will stand by you even during hardships. Should you find yourself drowning in debt for a difficult month or two, a family member might be willing to take over payments for a while (with the understanding that you will repay the favor in kind).
Pro 2. A Comfortable Home
If you get along with the family member, you may find living with him or her much more comfortable than living with a stranger or even a friend. When you know and trust a family member who lives with you, you can be yourself around your roommate and you probably won’t have to worry about stolen items or finding out your roommate is a different person to live with than he or she is to hang out with.
Pro 3. A Co-Signer You Can Trust
Sharing an apartment with a family member means that you know your roommate’s parents as well as your own (they may be your own) and if your roommate should prove irresponsible, you’ll have backup when it comes to confronting him or her about late payments and/or messy habits.
Con 1. Frequently Late or Missing Payments
If you’re living with a sibling, a cousin or even a parent, it’s easy to fall into the habit of falling behind in your payments. After all, “families stick together,” so some irresponsible apartment dwellers might believe their family roommate can cover a “month or two” of rent payment, which turns into a few months more. Too afraid to cause family drama, the responsible roommate let him or herself be taken advantage of.
Con 2. Slacking on Responsibilities
Like with late or missing payments, a family roommate might start slacking on his or her chores. Perhaps you grew up together and you always took care of your roommate at home; the habit of not sharing responsibilities might be hard for a family roommate to break.
Con 3. Frazzled Nerves
Sharing an apartment with a family roommate also means living with someone who’s seen the very best and the very worst sides of you. Many family members frequently get into fights over the smallest and most inconsequential issues because they know that their family will love them regardless. It can be trying to constantly deal with family drama even as an adult.
While economic and social forces may push you to live together, if you are both responsible and forgiving, cohabitating with a family member can be an excellent solution to the economic hardship of living alone. However, don’t let yourself get trapped into sharing an apartment with a family member if either of you prove to fall into a rut of irresponsibility. Living with a friend or stranger instead might force even the laziest roommate to step up and take responsibility.