When you find a great roommate it’s like falling in love. You live with your best friend, so you always have someone to talk to and your apartment turns into a 24/7 party.
But when things go bad, they can go really bad. The only place you can go to get away from them is your bedroom. Even then you can hear them being too loud in the living room, burning their dinner, and leaving their dirty dishes everywhere. Our friends at mortgages.com help guide you through the process of navigating a terrible roommate experience. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Make A List
When we start to get annoyed with people it can seem like every little thing they do is a huge deal. Think about how many times you’ve gone from “They’re so loud in the morning when I’m trying to sleep” to “I can’t stand the way they breathe!”
Making a list will help you focus on things that are really an issue and prioritize what you want to ask your roommate to change.
Discuss Your Issues
Now that you know the main issues, it’s time to talk about them. We’re not going to lie, these conversations aren’t always comfortable. But, your roommate might not even know that they’re doing something that bothers you. Talking through it can help you come up with a solution that can get you through the rest of your lease. Just remember to:
- Stay calm: When you sit down to talk, emotions might be running high. Make an effort to stay calm and focus on solutions instead of just airing all your grievances.
- Avoid globalizations: “You never take out the trash.” Or “You always leave your dishes in the sink for me to clean” aren’t going to go over well. Most things don’t happen in a never or always situation, and saying they do can put your roommate on the defensive. “What are you talking about? I took the trash out yesterday!”
- Suggest solutions: You feel like your roommate is making the apartment a pigsty or their boyfriend is literally always there? Make suggestions on how you can change the situation, like creating a chore chart so you know you’re splitting cleaning duties evenly or asking that the happy couple stays at the boyfriend’s place every other weekend.
- Take responsibility: Nobody’s perfect. You might be doing something that is causing your roommate to react this way. If it comes up, take responsibility and make a serious effort to improve.
Just Wait And See
Changes don’t happen overnight—and if they do, they might not stick. After you and your roommate have a chance to talk be sure to give it some time to see if things take a turn for the better and that they stay that way.
Most of the time, things will start to work out, because who wants to live with someone that hates them? But what happens if they don’t?
Can You Wait It Out?
Remember, you’re not married—you’re just roommates, so there’s a deadline on how long you have to live together. There’s a deadline on how long you have to live together. Eventually your lease will be up and you’ll be free to move on without any drama.
Before you make any decisions, think about whether or not you can just tough it out. Try asking yourself:
- How bad is the situation, really?
- How much longer do you have on your lease?
- Is there anything you can do in the meantime to make the situation better?
- Do you feel safe?
The last question is the most important. Remember, there’s a big difference between a roommate who’s just annoying and one that makes you feel unsafe.
If the answer is no, you definitely can’t keep living like this, then the next step is to start thinking about how you can go your separate ways with the least amount of fuss possible.
That means asking yourself a few key questions.
Can You Afford To Live Alone
The idea of being free of your roommate feels like Christmas and your birthday all rolled up into one. Just make sure you’re not so focused on getting rid of your roommate that you forget to plan what comes next. If you can’t afford to live in your apartment alone, you’re going to need to have a plan for when your roommate does move out.
Try offering to help your roommate find someone to sublet, or make sure you’re ready to start looking as soon as your roommate moves out—just make sure you take the time to find a roommate who’s going to be a good fit.
Checking Your Lease
You might each have your own lease or there might be a primary person on the lease. Not every lease allows you to sublet, either. Talk to your landlord and make sure you understand how yours is structured and what you’re allowed to do.
Do You Own The Apartment?
If you own the apartment, you’re obviously not going anywhere. And that means you’re going to have to get your roommate to move out. You could try simply asking that they find a new place to live. Offer to help them find somewhere new and maybe even help with some of the unexpected expenses.
If that doesn’t work, you might be able to evict your roommate, depending on what the issues are.
Remember, there are state laws that say what you can and can’t evict someone for (or be evicted for) and the last thing you need is for your former roommate to bring legal action against you.
You might want to talk to a lawyer before you try to evict, just to cover all your bases.
Having a bad roommate is a terrible experience, but a little time and effort can help you get out of it!