Sharing a room or living area may be a new experience for you. Learning to live with other people, to acknowledge and respect each other's differences, and allow one another the space to grow are some of the most valuable parts of the residence experience. To ensure a successful living arrangement, you must take an active role in learning to live with someone, specifically in resolving differences. Read below for tips on how to communicate and effectively resolve differences.

Roommate Agreements

Roommate agreements outline standards of behaviours that each roommate agrees to live by in order to fulfill a successful roommate relationship. This is a valuable tool to help you and your roommate discuss some common differences and develop an agreement to be able to accommodate everyone's needs and interests. You will be given instructions from your Residence Staff Member on how to access and fill out your roommate agreement form after you move in, and you are welcome to refer back to it throughout the year should your living situation change.

Roommate Difficulties and Room Changes

If conflict arises throughout the year, show your roommate respect by speaking with them in person, not by leaving notes via text message, or through social media. Find a time that works for all parties to share how their behaviour is impacting you. Try not to focus on their character. Residence Staff can coach you on effectively communicating with your roommate and can follow up to monitor how your discussion with your roommate goes. You may also ask for a copy of your roommate agreement to be able to refer to in your discussion.

Room changes are an option, managed by your Residence Life Coordinator, as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. Room changes require one or both people to leave their friends and floor community. We are unable to guarantee a room within the same community if you request a room change. The Residence Life Coordinator may force one or both roommates to move in exceptional circumstances. We recommend roommates actively participate in roommate mediation if there is conflict.

Living Together Guide

Communication is key to a successful relationship between you and your roommate, but some topics may be hard to discuss. Below are some areas that are important to cover when completing your roommate agreement.

Remember, as a roommate, you have responsibilities to:

  • Maintain a clean living area.
  • Respect your roommate(s) and their belongings.
  • Respectfully communicate face-to-face with my roommate.
  • Take an active role in resolving conflicts, with or without the aid of Residence Staff.
  • Allow my roommate to live and learn in our room free from undue interference (unreasonable noise or other distractions) that inhibit these activities.
  • Allow my roommate to sleep without disturbance from noise, guests, or other disruptions.
  • Allow my roommate free access to our room and our shared facilities.
  • Provide my roommate with privacy.
  • Allow my roommate to be free from fear, intimidation, and physical and emotional harm.
  • Ensure that my guests respect the privacy and rights of my roommate.
  • Be private and discreet, especially with intimate relationships.
Positive Communication

Sharing a room is just like any other relationship; it requires openness, flexibility and respect to be effective. It's important to communicate openly with your roommate right from the start. It is paramount that you communicate in person with your roommate to properly express your thoughts and feelings. Choose a time that is best for both you and your roommate to work through some of the issues.

Tip: Focus exclusively on how their behaviour is impacting you, not their character or what they have done "wrong".

Sleep Patterns

You have the responsibility to allow your roommate to sleep without disturbances from noise, guests or other disruptions. Requirements differ from person to person. You should discuss an appropriate sleep schedule with your roommate.

Tip: Ask what they need to sleep well; including light and noise volume.


Individuals study in different ways; different levels of noise, locations, times of day. It is the responsibility of each roommate to ensure they are maintaining an environment in their room that is conducive to learning by not causing any undue interferences or distractions. Check with your roommate to ensure that you get the most out of your time in residence.

Tip: Post copies of your class schedules and talk about when you prefer to study (between classes, only at night, etc.).


Temperature settings not only impact comfort level, but also are useful in terms of sustainability efforts. Talk with your roommate about an ideal temperature for your room. This should include when and for how long the window can be open.

Tip: Talk about how you should approach changing the temperature.


In residence, you are required to maintain at least a minimum standard of cleanliness for health and safety. However, individual standards and expectations can vary. You should build cleanliness expectations early in the year that includes garbage, recycling, and overall mess. Shared suites may also consider discussing kitchen cleanliness including how you would like to keep dishes clean.

Tip: Develop a schedule for how often areas of your room should get cleaned together. 

Property and Belongings

Different people have different ideas on how they like their belongings to be used or shared. Speak with your roommates to determine boundaries regarding personal property to avoid unexpected surprises or doubt.

Tip: Discuss what you are able to borrow, when permission is necessary and what is completely off limits.

Social Etiquette

You all have family and friends back home that you would like to stay in touch with. Whether it's a phone call back home or an interaction over Skype or Zoom, be mindful of when you’re having those conversations, how loud you are, and who else is in the room. You might also just need some space and time to be alone.

Tip: Be understanding, and think about how your social needs differ from that of your roommate.


Residence is a great place to meet new friends! Discuss with your roommate when you are comfortable having guests in your room and for how long they can stay. You may want to consider overnight guests, how many people can be in the room, and how much notice you would like before a guest arrives.

Tip: Before making plans, make sure you are aware of the guest policy in residence by reviewing the Residence Contract and visit the Guest Registration portal to register them.

Safety and Security

If you are in your room, keeping your door open can create an inviting and friendly environment. But safety is a shared responsibility. Discuss with your roommate how you will communicate when you will be locking the door, and how to remind each other to lock the door.

Tip: Talk to your roommate and agree that you will bring your keys when leaving the room for any reason (even if going to the washroom or lounge) so that in case your roommate leaves, they can lock the door.