Living with another person is considered one of the best options when starting a new life after college. These roommates can save you money on rent or damage your credit score. When looking for a roommate, one should consider the following items.

First and foremost, screen your potential roommates thoroughly. You may not want to live with a person who can hugely affect your finances, as well as does not share your attitudes on cleanliness, overnight guests, or on-time payments, among others, right? In order to do this, ask several questions regarding their habits and request references from previous roommates.

These are some of the questions you may ask:

  • What is your ideal room? What is your cleaning routine? There is a difference between being clean and messy. And different people have their own meaning of those words, mind you. This is one important habit to consider when looking for the right roommate.
  • Do you pay the bills on time? If the person may not have had an apartment before, you can look into their billing statement to gauge his financial habits. It may fill in the gaps.
  • What kind of guests do you intend on having over? Certain roommates love bringing home new friends they meet at an event. Others prefer being visited by people they really know well. Whichever, live with someone who will uphold your rule on this.
  • Do you still get in touch with your past roommates? Although this may not appear as a prerequisite, an individual’s relationship with previous tcan likely tell if he or she has gotten along well with other people. If the individual answered no to the question, ask for the reason behind it to determine if the past situation was no big deal or something that can cause you some sort of trouble in the future.

After asking these questions ‒ but you have not found the perfect roommate for you ‒ you have no other choice but to pay for the entire rent. You need not to have a bunch of money available, just enough money to cover your emergency cushion for at least one month until such time you find a new roommate.

Your roommate, especially if you are the sole person indicated on the lease, may leave your household at anytime. And even both of you are on the lease, the other may leave the place, or lose his or her job. The rent won’t be put on hold though even if you are looking for a new roommate.

If any bill is under your name, collect your roommate’s share and pay the rent yourself to ensure on-time payments. Any late payments and/or eventual collection can dent your credit rating. One way of avoiding delayed payments is setting an amount your roommate will pay every month, including rent and utilities. If he or she has the tendency to forget his or her payment schedule, your roommate can set up a bill pay from his or her bank account to be deposited to yours.

Do not keep any bill in your name in case you are going to your favorite summer destination. Change the name to your roommate’s name, with his or her permission, of course. Or if you want to move out, remove your name from the lease. If you do not take your name off the lease, you will still be responsible for the rent, regardless if you are living in that apartment or not.

But if the apartment office won’t allow you to remove your name before the lease is up, finish the lease term. However, in the event you are offered a job in another city or town, find out the charge you have to pay should you break the lease so that roommate of yours can begin a new lease term in your house or another place on their own.

So, can a bad roommate negatively hurt your credit score? Definitely, but it can be avoided. Sharing a flat with another person is a major financial and emotional decision. Make sure to check their payment habits and attitude towards themselves and fellow roomies.