Alice, Can I Bribe My Potential New Roommates? (And Is It Bribery?)

Alice, Can I Bribe My Potential New Roommates? (And Is It Bribery?)

Ask Alice
May 7, 2017

I recently looked at a room in a really beautiful, rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, with two roommates who both seem great. The room is absurdly cheap and the whole situation seems perfect, except that I was one of at least 40 people who looked at the same room (things are crazy in the Mission!), and there's no real reason for the roommates to pick me over dozens of other people.

Sooo … I was thinking of offering them an extra $100/month to help my chances. It would still be a way better deal than anywhere else I've looked at, and it would save them some money ($600/year, each), but I also don't want to ruin my chances by seeming weird and desperate, or establish a weird money-dynamic in the house. What's the best way to make an offer like that? Or should I just cross my fingers and hope they pick me?

Offer the money! I think it's perfectly fine to say, "And, by the way, I'd be happy to pay $X amount instead, if that makes a difference." I can't imagine they'd think you were weird or desperate — and if for some reason they did, it might mean they weren't the easiest people to live with in the first place, and you'd potentially be dodging a bullet (albeit a lovely and inexpensive one).

And unless you move in and start offering them $20 bills to clean your dishes, I don't think there would be any weird money dynamics to worry about, either.

Good luck!

Readers, have you ever "bribed" potential roommates? Or, do you have ideas for non-cash incentives she could use to put herself at the top of the roommate list?

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