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Caution should always be exercised when selecting roommates. This is especially important when the potential roommate is a stranger or acquaintance as opposed to a known friend. Some of the precautions you can take when selecting a roommate include arranging initial meetings in public locations, verifying references and even performing a background check.
When meeting a potential roommate for the first time it is ideal to have this meeting in a public location such as a coffee shop. This will help to discourage those who have malicious intent and are not legitimately looking for a roommate. A public location will help to put you at ease by minimizing the risk for foul play.
It is also extremely important to verify references when selecting a roommate. Call each reference and speak to them about the individual you are considering. If the reference is a previous roommate, ask for specific information about living with the individual. This will help you to make an informed decision.
Finally, it may be worthwhile to pay for a background check before selecting a roommate. There are many companies which offer this service for a fee. Information such as previous convictions, work history and even credit information may be obtained through this background check.