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Head in Hands

Around the house, we all make mistakes, accidents or what ever you want to call them.  I make them, you make them, it just happens – we’re all human.  Sometimes, these mistakes cause damage, other times there just simply stuff that we can just clean up and move on.

What happens if your roommate is the source of one of these blunders?

Are you going to hold them responsible? Potentially starting an argument.

For this reason alone, many people choose not to have roommates avoiding arguments stemming from these issues.

I’ve been in this business for several years now and I can think of a handful of these types of situations where my roommates have screwed things up.  Yeah, it does cause a little bit of an annoyance or in some cases piss me off.

So, what was the worst mishap caused by one of my roommates?

  1. Pen Exploding in the Dryer – The title says it all.  One of my roommates washed a pair of pants with a pen in the pocket and ink from the pen was smeared on the inside of the dyer.  We’re all forgetful, accidents happen.   This wasn’t really a big deal because the ink dried out, so the ink stain is still there, but has affected the dryer functionally.  No cost out of me to fix it.  I’m leaving it alone.
  2.  Grease Stains on the Back Deck – Last weekend, my roommate and I grilled a whole bunch of meat.   He spilt grease from a plate full of cooked meat on to the deck and left a splatter of grease right in the middle of my deck.  I tried some degreaser on the affected areas and it seemed to help.  I’m going to give it some time.
  3.  Forgetting Keys and being Locked Out – I lost count on the number of times one of my roommates locked himself/herself out.  With each lock out, another roommate or I(assuming both rooms are occupied) have to come to the rescue.  This is more of an annoyance more than anything.
  4.  Lost House Key – This probably happened about 3 or 4 times.  Each time, I gave the roommate a spare key to have a copy made out of his or her own pocket.  That’s fair!  To eliminate my inconveniences of letting locked roommates back in the house, I hid a key under the back deck.
  5.  Leaving the Heat on/wasting electricity – This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves and probably more common in the winter when the heat is left on.  My theory is that the AC is loud and hard to forget when you’re walking out the door where as the heat is quiet and easily forgotten.

Looking back on the list, it’s really not that bad.  I look at it this way, if someone asked me if I would put up with the aforementioned blunders so that I can pay for graduate school and accelerate payments on my second mortgage, I would jump on the boat in a heart beat.

I know this list is unpredictable and will vary from one homeowner to another, but I’m just telling my story for homeowner teetering on the edge of renting out their spare `room.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Alex E. Proimos


  • Jamie July 28, 2011, 12:25 pm

    So my suggestion for the wood is to look up instructions on the internet for uses of either toothpaste and/or vinegar. I’ve run across ways to use both to get stains out of wood. 🙂

    • Mike July 28, 2011, 6:41 pm

      Thanks for the advice, I’ll look into the vinegar solution. Toothpaste sounds really odd, but if it’s proven to work, I’ll give it a try.

  • Bill November 25, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Hey Mike,

    Quick thought about the lock problem. I’ve used the lock boxes you can pick up at Home Depot that either mount on the house with screws or attach to a pole or water faucet to put emergency keys in. This can be a pretty cost effective solution and also works great if you need to provide access to trusted contractors.
    Another option (although costlier) is to pick up one of the door locks that allow you to punch in codes to unlock it. These can make life quite a bit easier, as long as tenants can remember the codes!



  • Ricks January 4, 2013, 4:37 am

    Ah… one of mine hit my garage…

    As stated, we’re all human and though it’s a bit annoying to have to fix it, at least she didn’t hit the door… the part that bugs me is it took her over a week to tell me about it. I figured I’d eventually mention it, but it was not a confrontation that I wanted to endure… I should not have to prompt them to tell me anything and though I do overthink things, I never yell and I seldom ever get mad, so it’s not like they have a reason to be afraid to tell me things…

    I do intend to charge for repairs, but it should be under $50 seeing as my father is handy enough to fix it… and it’s not that bad of a dent, really. I think we can all agree with that.

    The biggest disagreement that we have in my house is that they refuse to acknowledge that although my mother technically owns the house, I am the acting landlord… and that if they bring complaints to my mother, she will just forward them onto me, anyway. Maybe it’s an age thing (I’m in my very early 20’s,) but I get little acknowledgement as an authority figure in my own house… and that is extremely frustrating.

  • Ricks January 4, 2013, 4:38 am

    Oh! Also, let’s not forget the ever-present issue of emptying the lint tray in the dryer.

    Thankfully, the latest roomie is quite OCD and it hasn’t been much of an issue since she moved in. I would not be entirely surprised if she checks it after OTHER people use the dryer, but I certainly cannot complain about that. =D


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