NEW YORK (MainStreet)Filmmaker Sharod Bell lives in a four-bedroom house in McDonough, Georgia with his mother, two sisters and two brothers. At 25 years old, he's ready to launch his directing career and strike out on his own, but he doesn't have the money for a security deposit. Thus, he has entered a video contest sponsored by Apartments.com, which pays the winner $10,000 plus free rent for one year.
"I am currently staying with family paying rent, but I need my own place," said Bell, whose fictional crime-like video features dried nacho cheese and a secret package. "$5,000will be enough for me to pay for a place for half the year and the other $5,000 I'll use to buy equipment so that I can produce a documentary and comedy film."
In its fifth year, Apartments.com's Roommate of the Year contest asks America to vote to help determine which top candidate is the best roommate in five separate categories, including the Environmentalist, the All-Star and the Loveable Compulsive.
According to a 2013 Apartments.com nationwide survey of more than 1,300 renters, 49.6% of renters live with family, 40% live alone and 10% live with roommates.
"There are all sorts of reasons why people who can afford to live alone choose instead to live with a roommate. Some people wish to keep their living expenses low while others like the companionship that living with someone offers. Another reason is that two incomes equals the ability to afford a more spacious or luxurious apartment or one located in a more expensive or desirable neighborhood," said Susan Bryant, vice president of marketing for Apartments.com.