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How to Resolve Common Roommate Conflicts 

Establish a Roommate Agreement at the Beginning of the Year 

Laying down ground rules ahead of time will help respect each other's boundaries. The IVCSD housing mediation services offer a downloadable roommate contract. The contract can help establish a clear consensus on roommate etiquette and prevent avoidable conflicts. Issues that can arise on matters such as having guests over, designated study space, and even chores. It's important to outline these topics in the contract beforehand to be courteous of each other and their space. Remember this should be a binding contract that you both uphold too. 

Establish Open and Honest Communication

When issues arise it's important to immediately communicate them with your roommates in a calm and open manner. It is easy to let the small things go and these issues eventually build into larger conflicts. Maintaining constant communication will allow disagreements to be resolved quickly and effectively. It’s important to acknowledge what the other person has to say and try not to take anything too personally. Roommates are usually happy to accommodate each other as long as the issues are brought to the surface and resolved in a manner that accommodates all parties involved. 


Living with other people requires some compromise. The goal is to make every person feel at home and comfortable in their own space, and this often requires some give and take. When living with others you cannot control every aspect of your space, and therefore must be willing to meet somewhere in the middle on issues. Compromise is a two-way street, and the give and take between roommates should be equal. 

Avoid a Me vs Them Mentality 

Resolving roommate conflicts can be incredibly difficult, but the main focus should always be on coming to a combined resolution. Both roommates should be working together, and problems will only get worse if the blame is placed all on one party. 

Ask a Mediator For Help  

Some disagreements need further help from an unbiased third-party mediator. The IVCSD offers free rental housing mediation services for all residents. The goal of the service is to create a culture of mutual respect and understanding between all members of the community. The service is available for both tenants and landlords. The bilingual mediator can solve disputes between roommates, tenants and landlords, or neighbors. The district mediator will meet with all parties involved, discuss the best way to find an equitable solution. We encourage Isla Vista residents to use this free service in order to maintain healthy relationships in their living situation. 

For any further questions on the IVCSD’s mediation services please email: