Rooming With A Stranger: Five Tips To Keep Your Home Safe

Posted on: 13 July 2015

Unfortunately, many people get into situations where they have to live with a roommate whom they don't know very well. If you are getting ready to open up your home to a new roommate, there are a range of things you should do to ensure the situation is as safe as possible for everyone involved. Check out these tips – they are designed to guide you safely through every step of rooming with a stranger.

1. Screen your roommate before letting them move in

After you find a roommate, take some time screening them. Trust your gut instincts – if the prospective roommate makes you feel uncomfortable, chances are that they aren't the right roommate for you.

To backup your instincts (or to find clues that your instincts missed), run a background check and check out your potential roomie's social media pages. You can tell a lot about a person based on what they post and what their friends post. Ideally, you should talk with a few people who know your new roommate.

2. Get keys to your front door from your landlord

If you are taking on a new roommate and you own the home, you can simply make copies of the keys you want your new roommate to have. However, if you are living in an apartment building, you may not be authorized to make copies of the keys to the apartment door.

Instead, make sure that you get the keys your new roommate needs directly from your landlord. This is important to the future safety of your apartment.

Keep in mind that many property management companies put restrictions on copying keys in place for the safety of the tenants. These restrictions allow the apartment manager to ensure the building is safe and that there are not keys floating about without the knowledge of the management company.

3. Consider getting a home safe

Once you have given your roommate keys to your front door, you may want to take some steps to secure items that are in your home itself. If possible, invest in a home safe. You can find a range of discreet safes that keep your important documents and cash safe.

You can also use these safes to hide personal journals or other things from nosy roommates. They also deter thieves from being able to steal your stuff.

4. Put a lock on your bedroom door

Whether you decide to invest in a safe or not, consider putting a lock on your bedroom door. A basic chain lock is easy to install by yourself. These locks are essential when you are at home and want to assure your privacy.

However, if you want to lock your bedroom door while you are not there, you can have a locksmith put in a lock on a knob or a deadbolt that opens with a key.

5. Change the locks after your roommate moves out

If the keys are marked "do not copy" (for the reasons cited above), you can take the keys from your roommate and leave the locks as they are. However, if you opt to do this, be aware that there is a small risk with just taking back the keys and not changing the locks – if the roommate already copied the keys in spite of the instructions not to do so, they could get back into the apartment without your knowledge in the future.

For this reason, after your roommate decides to move out, you should always change the locks to be on the safe side. If you have locks with electric codes, you can simply change the codes after your roommate moves out.

For more tips on how to be safe when sharing your home with a roommate you don't know very well, talk with a locksmith. If you are looking for a locksmith, then check out a locksmith site like