How to start a group home


From the Lord of Petworth mail bag:

Your Majesty,

I sent this to [email protected], but if the Prince is away, and
you asked for us readers to ask your advice, so I hope it isn’t gauche
for me to send it to you here as well.

I am almost done with renovations on a house at 11th & V. It’s a 2,500
sq ft (232 m^2) house, 4 bedrooms. I and my gal will be living in the
bedroom on the top floor, and will be renting out the other three, at
which point I guess this counts as a group house.

I’d like your and/or your readers’ advice on how one goes about starting
up a group house. What do residents around here look for? Should I meet
with applicants individually, host an open house? Anything I should look
for/avoid in applicants? And since your readers like to comment on these
things, what’s the going rate these days for a room in a group house (a
block from the U Street metro! Pre-Civil War house newly renovated! 200
sq ft bedrooms! Tall ceilings! Vegetarian kitchen! Spacious front/back
yards! Must see!)?



Any advice for the reno-group-lovin’ Ben?

104 Comment

  • What is a vegetarian kitchen? No meat allowed whatsoever?

    • sounds like it.

    • This has successfully made me hate this house.

      • and me like it.

        • and me hate it. What if i throw a slab of meat on the counters? Plus isn’t that discrimination to all us meat eaters(lolz) ?

          • As a vegetarian who does not have a problem with others keeping meat in my kitchen, I totally get where the OP is coming from. I had a roommate who took a huge piece of beef, seared the outside, wrapped it loosely in saran wrap, and stuck it in the fridge. She then used my tupperware of leftovers to put weight on it, squeezing the blood all over the bottom of the fridge. Best part: I actually had to ask her to clean it after a few days. I never thought I would see the day that I actually had to ask someone to clean the blood they had spilled all over the fridge, but there I was. Effing disgusting.

          • That’s unsanitary.

          • i feel the same way about non heroin users. so self righteous.

          • Butchered meat does not have blood in it, that was water with a little myoglobin protein.

          • what if you did? it’s pretty simple, if you did that jch, then you would be an asshole.

            and yes, of course it’s discrimination. so?

        • Yeah, there is no shortage of vegetarians wanting to live in the U Street area.

          I used to think I wouldn’t care about things like this (I don’t cook meat at home but I do eat poultry and seafood occasionally). But then I was visiting someone who had tenants living in the basement, and they were cooking some sort of meat. The smell was overpowering and nauseating. On the other hand I can’t think of any vegetarian smells that I would find offensive.

      • Agreed. Way to limit your pool of applicants, but whatever, it is his house.

        Where did I put that extra cheeseburger…

  • I would watch Inglourious Basterds, the Dirty Dozen, the Blues Brothers, possibly the A-Team (the series) and Justice League of America (the cartoon) and take note of proper composition of an ass-kicking team of heroes.

    Then get on Craigslist and see who might be available for a room and/or house-share.

  • And a Fight Club-like character could add some street cred and grittiness to the house.

  • Abduct 3 random strangers from the street. Fashion them into a human centipede. Instant group home!

    Well, seems like something Monkeyrotica would suggest, anyway. 😉

  • Sounds like crunchy living… And smells of patchouli. Hey, can I trade you my eco-friendly couch made with hemp fabric and veggie dyes for tickets to Burning Man?

    • Geez… some of you need to join the rest of us in 2011.

      • And this is why I would not rent my place to a vegan/vegetarian.

        Self righteousness is one of the most offensive human traits.

        • I’m the one who replied above and I’m not a vegetarian/vegan. I just think the stereotypes are very outdated and silly.

          • But do yu play one on TV? Cuz.. stereotypes are always outdated and silly.

            We’re still makin marion barry crack jokes
            we still make effeminate yet rich gay male / masculine lesbian stereotype comments
            we still make stereotypical comments about folks living in housing projects
            we still make stereortypical asians are smart but aloof comments
            we still make catholic pedophile comments

            all outdated, all silly.

            Welcome to 2011, where blogcommentators are outdated. And silly. And self righteous.

            Off to sticky fingers I go!

          • Most of the examples you give are still applicable to today. Take a sample of DC lesbians and you’ll find a large percentage of butch ones. Finding a vegetarian who has other characteristics of a hippie, on the other hand, would be pretty difficult these days.

      • Vegetarians: still without a funny bone.

        (eeeeeewww meat)

  • If you are going to suggest helpful movies, Shallow Grave opens with exactly what you are looking for–flatmates deciding how to choose a new roommate.

  • Having been on both ends of this situation, I find individual meetings and open houses overwhelming and tiresome. I would craft a VERY specific availability add and ask people to indicate what they would like in a group house situation and then, based on the responses received, meet with a select number of people individually. Try to find people who want the same things (for example – enjoy socializing in the home with each other but are not seeking new best friends or a party house). Seeing as how you are the owner, you should have the most priority in who is selected to live in your house. Be upfront with people and let them know that they may not have the ability to meet with roommates before hand – if someone is not ok with that, tought luck to them – a group living situation isn’t what they are looking for. Hopefully you’ll end up with a group of people who share a similar living ideals and get along with each other. I would also suggest getting a maid service and factor that into the room rent – nothing is worse than great roommates who are slobs. It just won’t work and causes a lot of pettiness about whose dishes are whose, etc.

  • Please please please, for the love of all things good and true, do not host an open house. It sets up a seriously awkward dynamic where all you get are a bunch of clammy handshakes from people who are nervously scoping out their competition, but no real chance to actually get a good sense of any one of them. Set aside a couple days and slot people into 30-45 minute appointments where you can show them the house and actually talk to them. As for how much to charge, I would say you just have to look at the Craigslist comps. Off the top of my head, I’m guessing your place would probably fall into the 900/person neighborhood, but would need to know more about it to really assess. Also, if you’re intent on keeping the kitchen meat free (and as a fellow vegetarian I can understand why you might want to do that), you may have to make other sacrifices, either by lowering the rent or not getting your ideal roommates. Good luck!

    • this. don’t do open houses – they don’t work. 30-45 minute slots with select individuals for 2-3 nights from 6-9pm. put up an ad with an anonymous gmail account, screen all the responses, choose the ones you want.

      that being said, make the AD very, very unique and specific. everyone will write in telling you how perfect they are and easy to live with. it won’t help in making a decision however it will help folks express themselves by having something to respond to.

      also, say you are going to run a credit check (even if you aren’t) and will require an application fee ($20 bucks) to show good faith. it makes the ones who are interested REALLY be interested. people flake out a LOT here.

      • If I had someone who sounded like a good candidate and was genuinely interested I’d say “let’s grab a drink/bite to eat”. Once you get applicants out of the interview environment they’ll loosen up a bit, and you should be able to better gauge if they’d be compatible with you. It’s kind of like a blind date. If you can’t even have a a beer or casual dinner conversation without it being awkward, they probably won’t work out as a roommate.

  • I moved into a group house in Columbia Heights three years ago, and within six months I was the only roommate left (jobs were lost, graduate degrees obtained.) I had many friends in DC, but all had already secured adequate housing and didn’t want to move, so I turned to Craigslist. I had three rooms to fill, so I hosted two open houses on weekend afternoons. I typed up a cheeky little questionnaire about cleanliness, gardening, beers of choice and partying habits. Nearly 40 interested people! (Helped that the rent was cheap and I had more than one open room.)

    Winnowing down the list wasn’t too hard: I knew I wanted a mix of men and women, all fairly laid back and open to house meals and house parties. Also all had to approve of or at least tolerate the cat I was about to acquire. I also nixed anyone who wasn’t either actively employed or in school, and anyone who’d flirted with me (no need for housemate drama right off the bat.)

    ProTip: It was more difficult for straight men to find spots in shared houses than women or gay/queer people. I was on the group house open-house circuit for a month and a half, and every guy I spoke to said this was the case. I don’t know if that has changed three years later. At any rate, both the men I offered rooms to took them immediately, while all five (5!) of the women I offered the last room to had to consider, think about it, or wait to hear back. I finally went with a male friend of one of the men I’d already asked to move in. It worked out great! Everyone got along and was respectful and fun.

    Since then, we’ve only had to fill rooms one at a time, and have been able to get people through friends or friends of friends. A much easier and less exhausting process.

  • pablo .raw

    I think rather than looking for what they want, you should ask yourself what “you” want. What will be the rules for the housemates? What kind of person would you like to share your recently renovated house with? How are expenses going to be covered? How about chores? cleaning? which room shares bathroom with which room? In my experience, individual interviews work better.

    • Totally agree. This is definitely a sellers’ market (I recently posted a room in my group house and had over 100 responses). Think about what you want and give as much info in the initial posting as possible. Also, tell people that they need to actually tell you about themselves in their responses or you’ll get a gazillion “I’m interested in your place. When can I come by?” emails.

  • I ran a group house for 15 years. City Paper ads are the way to go. Write the ad is such a way that you attract the “right” folks. Be ready for all sorts of unforseen oddities. My best was — one housemate climbed into bed with another and gave him a nice unwanted blow job. Not sure why he let her keep going if he really didn’t want it….

  • As someone who has been apt hunting the past couple of weeks, for both studios and group houses, I’ve seen rooms in group housing go from anywhere between 600-1300. I looked at room listed for $700 and it didn’t even have a window. There’s a lot of factors involved in deciding I suppose. If you’re posting on craigslist, asking for an introductory email with details will filter your choices in housemates considerably. explain what you’re looking for. Your location sounds good. I guess you’d price it based on the mortgage + a little extra?

    I have been deciding based on costs–am i willing to pay 1000+ to live with 4 other people including a couple? I find that living with couples tends to be harder. The vegetarian kitchen would be a deal breaker for me–does this mean that i can’t even keep chicken salad in the frige? i don’t cook much meat at home, but i’d like the option to do so. Also I try to tell people that i’m friendly in the house but we don’t all have to be best friends and hang out all the time and share everything.

  • All good advice above, if you are totally new at this I would respond to other group house adds and apply to live in those houses, go on interviews, see the process and variation in houses and life styles.

  • This place will need to be well ventilated due to all of the vegetable farts that will be going on.

  • As someone who works in real estate, something to point out that hasn’t been mentioned yet….Whatever criteria you land on, apply it for everyone (i.e. credit checks). Otherwise, you open yourself up to housing discrimination claims and possible legal action.

  • i would never tell a vegetarian they couldn’t prepare vegetables in the kitchen. the OP is racialist.

  • And on rent…I’d say $950-1,000 is reasonable (assuming electric, TV etc shared on top of that). Adjust accordingly for room size, # of people sharing a bathroom on that floor, and so on. You’re close to the metro and in an area a lot of people want to live, so that’s a positive.

    I’d see what your initial response level is at that price range given the veggie kitchen. My knee jerk reaction was that you need to reduce the rent for people to deal with that, but I think DC has enough vegetarians that it might just be what you need to cull the 8 million people who will show up to your open house. If you find you’re not getting enough interest though, you may consider dropping the rent slightly to see if that encourages additional applicants.

    • I don’t understand why a veg kitchen would command lower rent. If anything, a vegetarian cook would be able to pay more because they’re not spending as much money on ingredients.

      • I don’t think W meant that vegetarians wouldn’t be able to afford the higher rent. He just meant that the vegetarian kitchen would lower the number of potential applicants and with a smaller applicant pool, you sometimes have to lower your cost.

        • So you have 30 applicants instead of 100. In DC narrowing down the pool is a good thing!

          • It could be a good thing, but it would depend on how much the pool is narrowed. It’s annoying to sort through a stack of applicants, but the larger the pool, the more likely you are of finding 3 people with personalities that click with yours.

      • Because you’ve seriously limited the pool of interested folks.

        Once you’ve narrowed down the group of people in DC who

        1. Is looking for a room right now.
        2. Wants to live in U Street and doesn’t have to have a parking spot
        3. Doesn’t mind living in a group house with a minimum of 4 other random people (I can’t imagine it)
        4. Can afford the ~$1K a month the OP will be asking

        and then eliminates all the people in that group who aren’t true veggies, rather than what is mostly the case of folks who don’t eat red meat but eat poultry and sea food.

        I think the pool of people who is left after those 4 disqualifiers is a lot smaller than you think. Good luck.

        • So reducing the rent would do… what? Convince someone to convert to vegetarianism?

          • No, but it would allow someone who fits the criteria but can’t afford the higher rent to apply.

          • You’d snag vegetarians who’d prefer living at another place that they looked at, but are attracted by the good deal.

            Meat friendly folks > Veg friendly folk

            Because there’s more demand for meat friendly kitchens, they cost more. A veg only requirement will likely cost the OP a couple hundred dollars a month. But then again, it may not — like someone else said, it’s a landlord’s market.

            The question is how sustainable a veg house is in the long run. There are def going to be situations in the future where the OP has to accept a less desirable roommate, who happens to be veg. I mean, do you accept a dick roommate, because they are the only veg applicant at the time? Compounding the problem is the fact that they need not one, but 4 veg people — I think it’s likely there won’t be enough veggers to fill up the house.

            My guess is the roomies are there to pay down the debt associated with the renovations. Figure they can make $40k/year. Not a bad way to pay down a short term loan.

        • I wouldn’t be surprised if you actually increased the value because having a vegetarian kitchen actually opens you to a new market of people who don’t want to cook surrounded by Salmonella and other infectious disease.

          • Veg people who’d be willing to pay above market for a veg kitchen might as well live alone — get a studio in eastern Shaw or something. For $1100, I could find a studio not at all far from U proper where I wouldn’t be living with 5 other people and I could cook whatever.

          • There are probably a few non-vegs who’d be fine with this arrangement too. I eat meat but I’ve lived in a “vegetarian kitchen” apartment without issues.

        • I think it’s like having a group house with a dog. Some people don’t want to share their living space with a dog, but dog-lovers will see it as a good thing (assuming of course that it’s a sweet, non-destructive dog). You don’t need to lower the rent to have a dog-friendly house, and you’ll end up with housemates who are more like you.

          • I don’t think the two are analogous because the percentage of people who either like or can tolerate dogs is higer than the percentage of people who eat exclusively vegetarian food at home.

          • You’d be surprised, but even if what you say is true it’s the same logical structure.

          • I wouldn’t be surprised (I did a cursory Google search before posting my original reply). Also, the same logical structure doesn’t eqaute to it being a good analogy when it comes to what one can charge for rent. If there are more people willing to tolerate a dog (or who would actually like living with a dog), it would mean much greater supply for the house that allows dogs.

  • I’m not a vegetarian, but I find that my vegetable farts are way more tolerable than my beef farts. (Your intestinal mileage may vary.)

  • Just make sure that the people who move in are REALLY ok with the veg kitchen. I had sort of a reverse problem. When I lived in a group house — we were all meat eaters — and when we had an opening, the person we ended up really liking was a vegetarian. We asked her if she had a problem with others in the house cooking meat or storing it in the refrigerator. She said no. Two weeks after she moved in, she started lecturing people about eating meat and throwing away meat products that obviously weren’t hers. It wasn’t cool. I didn’t have an issue with her not eating meat, but I did have a problem with her lying about her not caring about meat in the house. I wouldn’t really know how to avoid this other than having all vegs in the house.

    • In my experience, this type of militancy is typical of the urban dwelling vegetarian. She probably was on the EDF’s list serv, too. Did SUVs in the neighborhood start getting vandalized?

  • #1 warning sign I see here is that it doesn’t sound like you currently or have recently lived in a group house. That is going to be a problem. Folks that don’t know group house living take time to adjust, and having it be a couple is even harder. The two of you are going to end up, whether you do it conciously or not, ganging up on people in your heads and creating petty rivalries. My advice would be to try avoid this as it is hard for people to do and could suck for you two. Random commentary on people I don’t know but still something I think holds true.

    /I purchased a house a year ago, turned it into a group house and have lived in group houses since college – so for about 9 years in a row now. I love the group environment but still hate it at the same time.

    Also, be ready for folks to knick the paint, walk in with wet shoes, bitch about everything under the sun and not act like adults. That is how it works – as soon as you see that you have a “landlord” adults in this city suddenly are unable to cope with problems themselves. Yes, I’m the owner and I will fix things but shit but sometimes clearing the gutter of leaves is your job (it is per my leases).

    respond here with your email if you want more advice – having done this for a year a few blocks from you I am happy to get a coffee and kvetch.

    • wow, i need coffee – that was horribly written. mea culpa. 15.5 hour workday yesterday. woe is me.

      • Ha, true. We used to have two guys sharing our basement for the insanely low price of $100/month. All we asked was that they take out the trash and walk the dogs while we were at work. We finally got tired of begging them to do these simple things and just did them ourselves.

  • Honestly, other than the money, I don’t see why the OP (with his gal) would want to go full-bore group house. I’ve never lived in one, but they seem inherently unstable living situations with high turnover and lots of risk of badly meshing personalities. Moreover, I couldn’t imagine being the owner in this situation: it’s your house, you put your money, heart, and soul into it, but you now legally obligate yourself to turn it into a communal decision-making environment, even though you own everything and have 2 votes (with your gal) to everybody else’s one.

    Why not start out with another approach? Seems to me like OP could offer up a 2BR space to another couple, and that would be way easier to manage than 3 disparate individuals and just as likely to get the rent and housemates in. (My wife and I lived a pretty extended period with another couple, and it worked out just fine.) More space, fewer potential conflicts, greater stability, and the same money, no? A couple getting 2 BRs and a private bath in that neighborhood would, I think, be willing to put up 2000-2500, which is really the range of 3 rooms @ 700-800/per.

    Also, I’m with the many commenters above. Not knowing exactly what a “vegetarian kitchen” is, it sounds like the kind of thing that would really draw in a single-issue and odd crowd.

    • It’s a huge house near U Street– I’m guessing they have a huge mortgage to cover.

    • I was thinking something along similar lines as Anonymous 11:24.

      Depending on how badly the OP needs the money, I might try “starting small” — like taking in ONE roommate — and seeing where things go from there.

      Going from living with a partner to living with a partner and three other people sounds (at least to me) like it could be really, really difficult.

    • Honestly, other than the money…

      Ding ding ding. Big house, big mortgage, big money. MO MONEY MO MONEY!

      • My point was that money is probably the only thing driving this decision, and there are alternatives to the all-out group house that produce equivalent budgetary outcomes. It seems to me OP is seeking advice on how to get a “good draw” on an inherently random-ish process of constructing a group house, and that may be something that could be mitigated with a different approach. Find one compatible couple who presumably already get along with each other as opposed to three compatible individuals.

  • Since the DC government folks read this website & you’ve helpfully given a pretty good indication of where the house is, you probably want to make sure you have the right licenses and permits.

  • My freshman year I was assigned to a suite-style dorm room with 5 other girls. Before we met I sent everyone a questionaire with a a few normal questions and a lot of off-the-wall crazy ones. It turned out to be a good judge of compatibility. The girl who didn’t respond at all was insufferable, and the two that gave nervous, staid responses were awkward to live with. But the two that played along and demonstrated a genuine sense of humor were awesome. The one who gave the wittiest replies is someone I’m still great friends with.

  • Vegetarian kitchen thing is a bit odd (and I’m a vegetarian — not that I love animals, its that I really hate plants).

    But given the neighborhood, the money people are willing to pay to live even in a tiny room in a group house — I’d say no problem at all getting people in there. OP is going to INUNDATED with responses on craigslist.

    Although – larger point. I’ve lived in a few large cities in this country, and DC seems to be the only place where the group house culture actually persists, well into the residents’ post-college years. I know rent is expensive, and we’re all struggling, but seriously folks – suck it up and get your own place. Especially if you’re older than 25. Who wants to live with 4 other people? This isn’t an extension of your Ohio State years.

    And if it is, let me just say that I’m totally jealous.

    • In cities where the rent is lower- they can afford their own place.

      In cities where the rent is higher- they share apartments instead of houses.

      In DC you see more group houses because people are more career-oriented and less inclined to settle down right away. In many other parts of the country it’s normal to be married by your early 20’s, if not sooner.

      Plus, it can be hard to make friends in DC, and group houses are often a good way to do that.

      Also, DC is a very international city, and people coming from other countries without a ton of possessions probably prefer to start with a group house.

  • I lived in a group house in Mt. P in the early 90s and found it by responding to an ad in the Post. There were two people (not a couple) looking for a third. We lived together for three years, and it was a great situation. Not sure how old you are, but you might want set an age limit. In my case, they didn’t want someone younger than 28 because they were older. Also, important to find out something about their lifestyle. Do they have a significant other who technically lives there? Do they monopolize the living room watching TV constantly but you hate TV? Are they total slobs like my sons? Stuff like that to think about.

  • Since its you and your gal, advertise for hot vegetarian bi-curious women. Ha ha I kid. Sort of.
    No band members, and no lawyers, they can be troublesome. I’d recommend grad students from Johns Hopkins with large trust funds, or NGO employess who travel a lot for work and are never home.
    We found awesome housemates (and new fast friends) through City Paper ads. It was funny you could almost tell the good ones by the phone messages they left. The way you write the ad will tell people what you are looking for. Be clear about your boyfriend/girlfriend policy. $900 sounds about right. Second on the maid service for the common areas. We had a group house with 8 people and one kitchen and when our landlord let the maid go, guess who ends up cleaning all the time? Whomever is the most disgusted.

  • So I’ve lived in a variety of group houses and and a really flexible roommate. It sounds like you guys aren’t prepared for group house living.

    First I would never live with a couple. If you want to live with your bf/gf, please DO NOT invite 3 other people to live with you. It creates rivalries and will inevitably cause issues (especially if you share a bathroom).

    Second, the kitchen is a huge issue. Vegetarians of the world, just because I occasionally want to bake chicken or make a stirfry does NOT mean I am going to leave ground beef all over the counters and fridge. If you’re putting restrictions like this on your roommates I gaurantee you’re going to end up missing out on great, flexible and respectful people.

    Good luck finding people who put up with both of those!

  • mtpgal

    So you’ve heard of a herd of cows, a gaggle of geese, a murder of crows. What do you call a group of vegans?

    A buzzkill.

    Ha! (And I’m a vegetarian, I just love this old joke.)

  • a little over 6% of the population of the us doesn’t eat meat.
    that means that there are more people who don’t eat meat than there are Asians in the us.
    also, there are more people that don’t eat meat than there are people that keep kosher.

  • Put up a sign at Sticky Fingers, or ask Sticky Fingers staff if they know of vegetarians looking for a place. There are plenty of veggies in DC. I don’t think the kitchen will be an issue and will actually be a selling point for many.

  • Thanks for all your comments. This is all really useful, and I’ll try to bear it all in mind as we talk to (and eventually live with) the coming stream of applicants.

    I do have some experience with this sort of situation, having owned a house in Baltimore with a rotating cast of two renters/housemates at a time. I liked having housemates over having somebody living in a separate unit in the basement. The renter sees your face every day, realizes that you’re not The Opressor, and takes care to not punch too many holes in the drywall. Things generally went well, and in fact one of the renters bought the house from me when I moved down here and now has her own renters.

    Consensus among PoPvillians seems to be around $1,000 for a room. I know I’m biased but I decided to start a little higher, because I think the space is downright fabulous relative to comparable situations.

    As for the vegetarian thing, which dominated most of the comment thread: my experience running Craigslist ads in Bmore indicates there really are enough people who see it as a feature on par with tall ceilings and a big bedroom. I never had trouble filling a room with a good non-meat-eating person. The flamers are right that the patchouli vegetarians do exist, but I’m reluctant to live with those people too. The applicant who was in training to be a spiritual guru and lectured me for a full hour on improving my breathing did not get the room. But there’s the observation bias problem: you only know somebody is veg when they get in your face about it, which means you never know how many normal, blend-in-with-the-crowd veggies there are until you post a Craigslist ad.

    I’ve put the ad up at if you’re interested or want to contact me.

  • I’m in! Where can I sign up???

  • No beef, but something about nearly everything you wrote rubs me the wrong way. Best of luck to you though.

    However, both what you wrote here and your craigslist ad don’t mention bathrooms at all. Surely its not just one? Even only two? The pictures are sort of hurting – I know you are renovating, but what is the nature of the renovation?

    Rooms sounds spacious, which is nice. Not sure about five people in a four bd house at those prices – especially without baths being mentioned.

    Pictures of the front of the house? The back isn’t too pleasing. Good luck man and keep us updated on the prices you get!

  • Sounds like a great house, but I’d NEVER pay $1200 to share with 4 other people, 2 of which are a couple, no matter how big the room is. But maybe you’ll find someone who will!

  • You should send an e-mail to local acquaintances or post a link to the Craigslist ad on your Facebook/Twitter. This is not only a good way to let people in your circles know that you are looking for roommates, but I think the chances of finding agreeable personalities are greater if you seek them out among people you already know and trust. I’ve had very good luck finding friends of friends to fill spaces this way, and even a few personal acquaintances who I didn’t know were looking for a place.

    Make sure to meet with any applicants individually and spend a little time talking with them. Don’t do an open house or group session. This will benefit both ends.

  • Calling a 36 year-old male “boy” is kind of obnoxious

  • Living in a group home can be the best/worst experience of your life… it all really depends on how the people you live with are and act.

    My advise, coming from someone who’s currently in a group house is:

    1) Try to keep the people to those you know/ are in some way connected to you.
    2) Avoid Craigslist and if you must post an ad, be as descriptive as possible and host an Open House to attract as many people as once.
    3) Make sure the people have steady jobs (ask for paystubs or proof of employments)
    4) Set ground rules the first week of living together (even do a roommate covenant if everyone is OK with that).
    5) Get EVERYONE who lives there on the lease. This is important when rent comes due. People tend to make sure things like rent are paid on time when they can be taken to court for not doing so.
    6) Have an explicit expulsion process. Such as “If you risk the safety or well being of any residents of this house, your residency is revoked.” or something along those lines.

    Above all, have things in writing to avoid legal hiccups. Even with friends, you would be surprised how things can go awry… and believe it or not, having a covenant can save friendships and avoid drama.

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