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Roommate Issues? Bad Neighbors? Don’t Like Your Landlord? Check out SLO Solutions

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

I was one of the fortunate first years who went in random and was paired with amazing roommates my freshman year. Our time together was filled with sunny days tanning, sweet treat runs, and nights watching Euphoria on our beanbags. Our neighbors were great, too. 

Unfortunately, not everyone found themselves in such favorable circumstances. In fact, I have a number of roommate horror stories from the dorms which made me ever so grateful for my situation. Taking out the trash, keeping the room clean, you name it. Even the smallest of easily resolvable conflicts would turn into a whirlwind of issues given the wrong roommate pairing. 

 I had never experienced major roommate issues so how was I supposed to advise my friends? It seemed I never knew what to say or how to help as I watched my friends go through this.

It wasn’t until one of my friends, Remi, introduced me to Creative Mediation’s  SLO Solutions program that I found the answer to my friends’ roommate issues. SLO Solutions is a local, free service open to all Cal Poly and Cuesta students and San Luis Obispo residents for the purpose of conflict resolution and mediation. 

Sarah, the programs coordinator at Creative Mediation, explains that “a lot of students can come to Cal Poly and be surprised at how difficult it is to live with somebody who’s not your family member.”

Not many college-aged people enjoy confrontation. SLO Solutions utilizes trained staff and volunteer mediators to effectively and impartially resolve conflicts between individuals, especially students who cannot resolve roommate issues on their own. The mediators help to depersonalize the issues and hone in on the actual conflict that is causing tension and division between the roommates. 

For students off campus facing issues with their landlord, SLO Solutions also offers conflict-resolution resources for situations like this. Most students who are in the process of signing a lease, finding a subleaser, or negotiating rent understand how tough these are, especially with the power dynamic between a landlord and a tenant who is desperate for housing for their imminent school year. 

“Another thing we see with  students,” Sarah explained to me, “are challenges involving power imbalances in rental situations. For example, there might be a younger student, not only living on their own for the first time, but  dealing with a landlord who has a lot of knowledge, experience,  and wealth. Navigating these dynamics while trying to request a repair, negotiate a rent increase, or get a security deposit returned can feel intimidating. Our services support people in addressing these kinds of conflict in a way that’s empowering and fair.”  

In my opinion, SLO Solutions is the perfect answer to roommate issues; it’s efficient, close to campus, and free. Even if you’re not sure mediation is what you need, a SLO Solutions coordinator can talk through the situation with you, help you identify your options and next steps, or connect you with other helpful resources. Explore in-depth their conflict-resolution resources by calling or visiting their website at https://www.creativemediation.org/slo-solutions/ and remember that a bad roommate situation can be mended, and does not have to dictate how your year plays out.

Evelyn is in her second year at Cal Poly SLO studying psychology and studio art on the pre-law route. What, like it's hard? She is actively involved in SLO's mock trial team, distance running club, and coed pre-law fraternity. On her days off, Evelyn will likely be at the beach or a cafe.