Skip to Content

6 Red Flags Regarding Roommates

Southwest Waterfront Roommates Arguing Over Dirty DishesIf you are evaluating whether or not to share a Southwest Waterfront rental home with a roommate, it’s very important to grasp well what to look for. Even though terrible roommates are, thank goodness, rare, there are so many horror stories to make anyone think twice before ever sharing their home with a stranger. The opposite is also true: some of the time, roommates grow to be some of the greatest friends you’ll ever have.

Even though there are no guarantees, there are red flags you can seek out to help perceive what type of roommate a person might be. Here are particular things to watch for that can assist you in spotting a very awful roommate.

1.   Badly Written Ad

Not all of us are excellent at writing ads, that being said, a poorly written or incomplete ad may suggest that the person who posted it is hiding something or isn’t willing to offer much effort into even small tasks. Either way, an ad swarming with misspellings or one that is missing basic information about the rental situation may be an indicator of bad troubles ahead. Keep in mind that Real Property Management does not advertise on Craigslist. Always apply directly from our website.

2.   Answers to Questions are Vague or Inconsistent

Another red flag to see is while asking questions about the roommate or rental arrangements. It’s specifically very important to ask why the last roommate left (if there was one) or why they are moving in with you and why they need a new place to live. If their answers to these questions and points are vague or they seem unwilling to talk about it, it’s more likely they were somehow at fault.

3.   Messy House

If you are responding to an ad for a roommate, check closely the living conditions before you ever decide to commit to anything at all. Within your visit, monitor the cleanliness of the space – and not just on the surface. If at all possible, you can check for clues that things are not being cleaned habitually, such as dusty ceiling fans or dirty dishes piled in the sink. If the rental house is dirty, that’s a valid reason to walk away. Nobody wants to lose out on a security deposit because of a bad roommate.

4.   No Job or References

Along with asking the roommate about themselves, ask about the potential roommate’s job and for at least two references. If they don’t seem to have a job or are remiss to provide references, both are red flags that something isn’t right. Though conceding that asking questions concerning a person’s finances may feel awkward, it’s good practice to fend off getting trapped with a roommate that won’t be able to regularly pay their portion of the rent each month. Just in case you’re applying for a rental through RPM DC Metro, our screening process already includes landlord references to check for prior tenant behaviors.

5.   Significant Other

Another really important thing you should see is whether your potential roommate has a significant other and how much time that person spends in the house. Often, a roommate’s significant other will spend a good deal of time in the place where they practically live rent-free. This may not be an arrangement that you are likely to agree to, especially if they are noisy or disruptive.

In the case of a landlord-tenant relationship, a significant other should ALWAYS submit an application. Otherwise, this may be a case of an unauthorized tenant which may be grounds to terminate your leases.

6.   Listen to Your Intuition

Every so often a person may quite seem like a perfect roommate on paper, but when you meet them, something feels off. That feeling may be your intuition telling you something is not right, even if you can’t immediately see what it is. The wonderful thing you can do is listen to your gut and continue searching elsewhere if you don’t feel comfortable.


Living with roommates can be a definite challenge, but finding the right one could make your life even better! Are you keen on finding a rental home that you could share with a roommate or two? RPM Real Property Management DC Metro has an inventory of quality rental properties near you. Not only that, our thorough tenant screening process helps eliminate red flags. Browse our rentals and apply online today.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details