“Why can’t we just get along?” Tips and resources to keep roommate harmony

Roommates carrying groceries

Your roommate experience will affect your time at Mohawk College, wherever you live. While your roommate may not be your best buddy, there are things you can do to make sharing a place an amicable way of life for everyone.

Strategies: What you can do first

Establish ground rules

Getting ground rules established will help you and your roommates keep your sanity and keep order in your home. 


Dishes piling up in the sink, laundry all over the floors, hair clogged in bathroom drains…How old is that leftover take-out in the fridge? Set up a cleaning schedule that everyone can work with and be mindful by cleaning up after yourself in shared spaces. Cleaning your room isn’t a bad idea either, you never know when your parents will stop by for a visit!


Basic food necessities, such as sugar, milk, coffee, etc., are usually shared by everyone. Make sure everyone takes a turn purchasing these items, it should never fall onto any one person’s shoulders. You and your roommate can decide how to divide up the rest of the groceries or keep them separate. Always ask (and get permission) before eating items that were purchased by your roommate. They may be saving it for a special occasion or want it for dinner that night. 


You don’t like Madonna on replay and your roommate doesn’t like Metallica, what is a person to do? Music can be a major irritant with roommates. Be considerate, turn it down or plug in some earphones. 


You are puzzled about where your G.I Joe limited edition action figure has gone. Your roommate has a presentation tomorrow about World War II…Did they “borrow” it? Do not use your roommate's things, or let your friends use your roommate's things without their permission. If you break something of your roommate’s, apologize to them and offer to replace it as soon as possible.


When you or your roommate needs the noise level down, for studying or what not, be respectful and be quiet.


You may enjoy hanging out with your friends daily, but your roommate may not feel the same way. Make sure you talk to your roommate before inviting people over, especially overnight. Don’t have a party the night before your roommate’s exam, it’s just plain rude.

Significant others

Yes, your boyfriend/girlfriend is wonderful, but your roommate may not want to live with them too. Don’t let their visits become so frequent that your roommate may want them to pay rent.


Your pet cat Mr. Sprinkles may be visiting for the weekend or may be living in the house with you and your roommates. Be sure to clean up after your pet and respect your roommate’s wishes about space.


A door is pointless if no one knocks on it. It is important to respect your roommates privacy. Even if you stumble upon some information your roommate didn’t want you to see it’s important not to gossip about it. Nothing breaks trust like a crazy rumor around school.

Strategies: What we offer

If you are having more of a serious situation with your roommate, these are a few avenues you may want to consider.

Student Life Office

They can help by providing information about various student services, from mediation to counseling and can provide other relevant housing information. student.life [at] mohawkcollege.ca (Contact Student Life) for more information.

Community Policing

If your roommate has gotten into illegal activity, you have the right to contact the police. If you have concerns or need some advice, please visit Hamilton police report-crime.