Flying the Coop, Properly
Question: I know of a room in an apartment that’s opening up in a few weeks and want to jump at it, but is that too little warning to give my roommates? I like them, but we’re not close and I never made it out that I was going to stay in our current place for the long term. It's in an up-and-coming neighborhood that a lot of younger people are moving to, so I could probably find a replacement. Still, is that a dick move?
Answer: Ideally you would give your roommates at least a month’s notice, unless you can find someone suitable to take over your room before then, or if your roommates exhibit behavior warranting a premature exit - this includes, but is not limited to, going through your shit, exhibiting major hygiene issues, and blasting Coldplay on auto-repeat. In terms of finding a suitable replacement, keep in mind that the standards should be your roommates’, not yours, so don’t go picking the first willing Tom, Dick or Harry who responds to your Craigslist ad.
Start showing your room immediately - i.e. post your ad NOW - and come up with a list of three good candidates your roommates can choose from. If you find someone who is pleasing to all parties and can move in right when you move out, then you have the green light. If you can’t find someone and still want to take the other place, you should offer to pay however many weeks fall between giving notice and a full month elapsing.
Basically, this is a situation in which you should follow the Golden Rule: act how you would want someone to act if they were moving out of your place.