I definitely have a lot of experience living with roommates, after counting 18 different roomates over my 13 years living up here.
I have written before about how to choose a roommate, and included my "rules" to a good roomate:
Be considerate. Clean your dishes. Pick up your clothes. Be tidy. Don't like to clean the litter box - pay your roommate $30 a month to do it for you (yes, I did this). Do you have a special other - don't bring that person into the apartment all the time to "sleep over". A good rule of thumb is a overnight visit twice a week. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who is over 4 nights or more a week - that is unfair to the other roommates. Maybe have them kick in some rent while you are at it.
Be quiet. This isn't a dorm room. No blasting your music or TV - the subwoofer travels easily thru hardwood floors and to the upper floors of condos and brownstones. One of my roommates reminded me that squeaky beds can be heard thru hardwood floors, too.
Be responsible. Pay your rent and bills on time. The last 10 years I have held all the cable & electric bills in my name. I usually pay them right away and then collect what is owed to me by my roommates - time and time and time again they always forget to pay me. I think if I calculated over the years the money I have lost to roommates who didn't pay me would easily be in the hundreds of dollars. Its partially my own fault, I don't hound my roommates to pay me back - I just leave the bill out, and expect them to do the math. John, if you are reading this - you still owe me 2 months of bills, buddy.
Be kind. A lightbulb is out - how about buying a new pack and fixing it? Notice that the bathtub is dirty - maybe clean it? Cooking dinner - maybe see if your roommate wants some. Its the little kind actions which will endear you to others.
And now after living in a shore house, with multiple roommates (some full shares and some half shares) in a no frills shore house, this would be my Rules For Shore Roommates (which some points may mirror points in my previous comments):
5. The bars have closed, you are drunk, your friends are drunk - don't assume it's cool to bring back your drunken mess to the house for an "after hours party". We have already a few instances of people coming back to our shore house, and drunk people making far too much noise for our sleeping roommates and our sleeping neighbors.
Bottom line: Unless you are bringing back all the roommates to the house, or if you roommates are still up - ya gotta call it a night or find some other place to go.
4. Sex happens. Overcrowding at a shore house is the norm, and often people are sharing beds in the same room. There has to be consideration on both sides (those getting some and those getting none), come up with a good system to say "DO NOT DISTURB" if you are "busy" and consideration for those couples who want to be alone in private.
3. Generousity is the better part of valor. If your buddies and you are drinking someone's else's Grey Goose, don't replace what you drank with a cheap knock off. If you are drinking good beer don't bring in a case of American Light Beer and expect that's a fair replacement. If people are buying groceries & making dinner for you each week, it isn't a bad idea to throw down some cash on basic communal foods (bottled water, burgers, dogs, chips, soda, toilet paper, etc.)
2. Clean up! I think this is very important especially when people disappear on Sundays without taking the trash & recycleables out, cleaning the sinks, wiping down common use areas or even sweeping the floors (we don't have a cleaning person). The only times I have gotten others motivated is by stopping people on Sunday for an hour of "clean time" (yes, do you believe it? ME telling people to clean up of all people...) to get the job done.
1. Ignorance is bliss. Everyone will be on their best behavior for the first few weekends (in some cases for the first 24 hours), and you only see most of these people on the weekends. I have had disagreements with some of my roommates and rather than confronting and defending myself - I simply walked away. Normally i'm someone who WILL get in your face if i'm angry, but I have found that it's a million times easier to keep the peace and walk away from a problem or a conflict. I think it would be a different story depending on the severity of the situation (like if you had a real problematic roommate), but you should try to let most minor infractions just roll off your back and not let that other person know they are a troll. You are just there for summer, and there's no reason to ruin it by starting drama.
Maybe you have some rules of your own? Leave a comment or drop me an email if you do!