How To Deal With Roommates In The Age Of COVID-19

Roommates do more than just splitting rent, bills, and the living spaces they share. Unfortunately, roommates also carry a high risk of shared infection. According to federal census data, 1 in 3 American adults live in shared households.

You’re Seeing Your Roommate More Than Ever

Depending on the specific lockdown phase in your state at the time, you might be facing a lot of business restrictions or closures. Restaurants, stores, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and more all have their doors shut or tight rules about coming in.

That all means more time at home, and that means more time with your roommate. If you’re suddenly working from home a lot, too, then your roommate might have gone from good buddy to downright intolerable. Boundaries have to be set to keep things healthy between the two of you.

While you might get sick of your roommate from them being around all the time, you have to remember that they might also actually make you sick if they bring the Coronavirus into your home.

Do You Need A New Roommate?

No matter how much agreement the two of you make in regards to pandemic rules, not everyone is going to take them as seriously or adhere to them. Watch out for roommates that fail to wear masks, wash hands, stay home enough, or don’t turn away guests and company.

Anyone who doesn’t stick to an agreed-to schedule for cleaning and disinfecting your shared space is someone you might not want to ride this out with. Also, if you’re working from home but they’re a frontline or ‘essential’ worker, they’re at constant risk of bringing the virus home.

Can You Really Trust Your Roomie?

Hopefully, you live with people that take this disease as seriously as you do. If they’re good about cleaning and social distancing, you’re likely in good shape, but take things a step further and talk to them about what everyone would do if someone in your home actually gets sick.

The CDC has great information about this, which NPR has put together a good brief about. Use it to create a good conversation about preparing for the worst.

Finding A New Roommate

There might just come a point in all this that you decide to get a new roommate. This is an understandable decision that can happen for many reasons, including but not limited to the following:

-Ready for a change
-Looking to move
-Wanting someone more trustworthy
-Hoping to spend time with someone more like you
-Saving money if you don’t have a roommate now
-Need someone that can respect your need for workspace/time

How To Do It

In the past, you might have just put out feelers among your social circle for a compatible roommate, but how much of an active social life do you really have during a pandemic? You’re not likely getting out that much.

Advertising online is always a possibility, but you can get flooded with responses. You might also have to still do in-person meetings to get a feel for someone and show or visit the potential shared home. Meeting random people in private was always dangerous, and it’s even more so during a pandemic.

Fortunately, there are some roommate connection services that simplify the process and make it a lot safer for you. is such a one service. They have an effective compatibility quiz which basically asks questions you kind of wish you could go back in time and ask your old roommate before sharing a space with them.

Setting Expectations And Getting To Know Them

RoomMatch asks potential roomies about things like guns, drinking, vaping, and marijuana use. Inquiries about lifestyle, home rules, and personal habits are also covered, so you really have a chance to get to know a potential roommate before anyone moving.

Filtering Out Responses

You don’t have time to weed through hundreds or thousands of potential responses when most of them won’t be ideal. saves you a lot of time and trouble by not only sorting out the right people but those in your target budget range for sharing rent and utilities.

Safety Is Key

RoomMatch has an internal messaging system that lets you connect with potential roommates or landlords without sharing your personal phone number and email until you are ready to do so.

Getting Off On The Right Foot

If you have left behind a previous roommate because of how COVID was or wasn’t handled, then it’s crucial to get things going right with your new one. The previously mentioned NPR link is good guidance if someone gets diagnosed with Coronavirus.

You can also talk proactively about situations when everyone is healthy, someone is at risk, and someone is infected. Talking about all three with a new roommate lets you be proactive about all circumstances rather than finding out too late you’re living with someone you can’t trust or rely on.

These days, your life really does depend on it.