The 10 Traits of a Perfect Roommate

June 22, 2015 by Jacqueline Donabedian

So you just moved to Los Angeles… or maybe you’re planning to move out of your parent’s house for the first time. Let’s quickly review your checklist to ensure that you’re truly ready for this next crucial step in life.

Job? Check. Awesome apartment? Perhaps. Need a roommate? Absolutely (have you seen rent prices in L.A. lately?!?!).


With hiked up rental rates, it’s a sweeter sell to live in Los Angeles with a roommate. But finding the perfect roommate can be tough though when you’re sifting through a list of strangers from CraigsList (or even friends for that matter).

My advice is to treat finding your perfect L.A. roommate like dating: take your time getting to know him/her before deeming them “the one” with a shiny set of keys.

That said, here’s a cheat-sheet of ten tell-tale traits of the ideal L.A. roomie in your future apartment or home.

Hope it helps!

Rooms for Rent

Credit: David Amsler via flickr

1. They Pay the Rent On Time… Every Time

This seems like an obvious one, especially from your charming and seemingly responsible future roommate, but it’s going to be a little less than ideal if you ever have to cover double your share in rent one month. For that reason, it’s best to live with people you know and trust. That being said, if a close pal isn’t available, maybe you need to spend a little extra “dating” time with the CraigsList stranger before becoming monogamous in a two bedroom apartment (let the Facebook and Linkedin profile stalking begin).

2. They Get Up at the Same Time You Do

Are you an early riser or a night owl? Do you shower in the morning or in the evening? Do you like to cook dinner or order take-out? How late do you work? It’s best to be on the same page with your schedules. Roommates who press the “snooze” button together, stay together.

3. They Understand the Phrase “Reasonable Volume”

A perfect roommate knows how to read the room. For example, at some point, a fun night out will eventually come to a close and you’re going to need a silent, peaceful spot to recharge. Ideally, you’d want your future perfect roommate to be understanding of that. A complimentary sleep cycle and a volume check are two crucial components to having a comfortable home space. Finding a roomie who goes to sleep close to the time you do is ideal. There’s nothing soothing about the sound the sound of heels or combat boots clunking around the apartment at 2am. Neither is EDM blasting from the home entertainment system at an ungodly hour. Headphones and shoes-off apartments play a huge role in reasonable volume.

4. They Don’t Constantly Eat Your Food Without Asking

After a long day at work, the last thing you want to come home to is the missing half of Chow Fun that you were looking forward to inhaling over the latest episode of Orange is The New Black or Game of Thrones that night. Not that there needs to be a clear separation between whose almond milk is whose though. Sharing is caring when you ask before borrowing a cup of sugar or switching off on who’s turn it is to buy the milk for the cereal.

5. They’re Actually Nice to You

You don’t need to be soul mates, cuddle up every night, and exchange Tinder stories while sipping Orange Mocha Frappuccinos, but it’s important for your general wellness to keep your living environment sane, safe, and happy. Greeting each other in the morning, taking out the trash, inviting your roomie to your birthday bash, leaving a little extra coffee in the pot…a little consideration goes a long way.

6. They Don’t Bring Their Drama Home

Night and day should only be taken literally with your future roommate. The last thing you want is to return home to a toasty, tension-filled room that even an elephant would avoid walking into. From my experience, the majority of roomie drama often stems from the boyfriend or girlfriend situation. If you or your new roomie has a significant other, it’s better to decide early on if you care how often this initial stranger is spending time in your home. Is the girlfriend/boyfriend respectful of your things? Does your roomie and his/her partner consider “reasonable volume” when taking part in certain *ahem* behavior? Psssst: Respect is the secret ingredient to a drama-free household.


7. They’re Not Hot and Cold

While analyzing the compatibility between personalities and reading the room is important, so is counting the goosebumps or beads of sweat on your arms. Again, harmony is key here. People often joke that Los Angeles is a pretty season-less city, but sometimes it does get a little too hot or a little too cold for comfort. The air conditioning or heater dial can be a big factor in terms of living with someone. It’s better to avoid sweltering in your sleep or shivering between the sheets as you resent your new roommate.

8. They Actually Do Their Dishes

Menial to some, a true chore to others. Either way, you’ve graduated college, you’re officially an adult now, and the dishes need to get wiped and the floors need to be swept. If you get a chance to check out your future roommate’s old apartment and notice the sink is always bare and the floor is spic and span, you probably have a bright future ahead. The same goes for the rest of the apartment’s set up.

Dirty Dishes in Sink

If you live with someone and your sink looks like this… you probably don’t have the perfect roommate. Credit: Mike McCune via flickr

9. They Don’t Smoke… Unless You Do Too

Do you like your pheromones smokey? Consider this: there’s a reason they have smoking sections in most restaurants in Los Angeles because almost everyone has an opinion on the topic. If smoking is generally a deal-breaker for you in a relationship, it’s best to avoid living with Smokey the Bear too. If you are a proud smoker and have scored a nice spot with a balcony or patio, “the one” for you might be a smoker too. Great news too for a smoker-roomie duo: cigarettes are often cheaper in bulk.

10. They Don’t Have a Pet That Pees All Over Your Apartment

Chances are that your future perfect roommate’s pet behaves a lot like it’s owner, but it has fur…and potentially a bladder problem. If you have allergies or are easily grossed out by bodily fluids, a roomie with a pet might not be the best match for you. If you own a pet yourself, it’s also important that the two critters get along swimmingly as well. When meeting your future roomie, do make sure you introduce yourself to the pet too. Who knows, a tarantula may not be in your best interest.

Final Takeaway

The truth is, nobody is perfect, but chemistry must be in the cards for a roommate situation to work. Chemistry is the glue that keeps a two-bedroom home whole in Los Angeles.

And even if your prospective roomie can’t hit every mark on the above list, as long as you can find a way to get cohabitate without murdering one another, things will be probably be okay.

Let the search begin!

What’s your most memorable roommate story (nightmare situations or otherwise) during your time living in Los Angeles? Tell us about it in the comments below!