You and your roommates don't have to agree on everything to enjoy living together. Likewise, you and your landlord don't always need to see eye-to-eye. Read on for advice and help with preventing and managing conflict.

Preventing conflict

Conflict is usually easily preventable through open and honest communication.

It can be useful to sit down with your roommate(s) before you move in to talk openly and honestly about your lifestyles and concerns. Communicating early on can prevent problems from arising.

  • Discuss your family backgrounds, cultures and religious beliefs.
  • Determine private and public spaces within the unit.
  • Set permissible noise levels for study and social times.
  • Address any security issues or concerns.

Some good questions to ask new roommates are:

  • Are you willing to share food and/or personal belongings?
  • Where will you store your belongings in the unit?
  • Will visitors and/or overnight guests be allowed?
  • When do you usually wake up and go to sleep?
  • Who will be responsible for cleaning what?

Deal with minor issues as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming major conflicts.


Managing conflict

If you are faced with conflict, here are some tips to help find a resolution that works for everybody:

  • Remember to communicate openly and honestly.
  • Avoid sarcasm and aggression – they can quickly make the situation worse.
  • Allow others to talk without interruption.
  • Take time to listen. Consider what others are saying, and try to understand the points they’re making.
  • Be flexible and understanding, and respect the values and opinions of others.
  • To resolve your conflict, try to find a compromise that satisfies everyone.


Conflict mediation

A disagreement with a roommate or landlord can create stress in your life. Conflicts that are left unresolved or are poorly managed often get worse.

St. Stephen's community mediation service can help you change the way you communicate during conflicts by offering you a new approach to conflict resolution. Two or more highly trained volunteer mediators will act as neutral third parties to help the parties in your conflict come to an agreement. This service is free and confidential.

Roommates & Landlords: Making It Work

Get advice and strategies from a professional mediator from St. Stephen’s House Mediation Services for any issues you may be experiencing. 

From these private drop-in coaching sessions, you’ll gain:

  • One-on-one support to help you manage and prevent issues
  • Skills to mediate and handle interpersonal conflict
  • Help building and maintaining positive relationships
  • New approaches on how to communicate your needs 

Upcoming clinics are listed on our Events Section.

While drop-ins are welcome, please register in advance if possible.


Graduate Conflict Resolution

The CRC is here to support the University of Toronto graduate community in taking steps to prevent and resolve conflict.

Grad students can speak confidentially with G2G (grad-to-grad) peer advisors who are trained in dispute resolution. For example, you might want to talk to a G2G about how to prepare for a difficult conversation, options for escalating a concern, or university supports for grad students. The G2G will not intervene or advocate – they will listen and help you to navigate your way forward.

Contact the Grad CRC directly to discuss early and effective conflict resolution strategies and opportunities for skills development.