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Horrible Roommates while renting out a room

Roommates can be messy

A few weeks ago a reader suggested I do a post on all the bad roommates I had. Fortunately, I never had any terrible roommates. So I reached out to you guys to tell me some horror stories(I don’t mean to scare anyone from becoming a live-in landlord) and you guys came through! Though, it’s possible to screen out bad roommates, i.e. the deadbeat non-paying ones, but screening out quirky behavior is a difficult task. I think every roommate has quirky behaviors even my current roommates(they probably think the same thing about me), but I’ve learned to deal with it and they probably learned to deal with me also.

Anyway, getting back to the quirky roommate stories.

Here’s the first one from Rhonda:

I guess the icing on the cake would be the guy who decided 2 weeks into renting his furnished room that he no longer wanted any of the items in the room. I came home from work at 8 pm to find a big pile of stuff in the kitchen. This was the curtains, bedding, etc that came with the furnished room, chair, desk, lamps, etc. that he decided he did not want in the room. I stacked them in the Dining Room as there was no where else to put them for the time being.

Shortly after that time he told me that he was out Christmas Eve night in the wee hours. He said that he was handing out cash $20 bills to the homeless folks on the street downtown. He said he was almost robbed but had to spray a man with chlorine bleach in the face when the man tried to grab the money.

I don’t think I needed to worry about the overuse of the shower because I don’t think he used it much. His hair was greasy and he had a strong body odor. Every thing the man did he did with a scowl on his face. I was very happy to see him leave.  His only reference was his employer.

My current renter is a student, courteous and candidate for police academy. What a difference!

Another one from Dee:

One of my roommates refused to let me even peek into the room she was renting. Finally I opened the door one day when she was gone to see what the big secret was. There was 3 months worth of kitchen garbage in bags with liquid dripping out of them and laundry ankle deep on the floor. And then there was the putrid smell that wafted down the hall…….It took several months of airing out for the smell to go away even after I shampooed the carpet and covered it in baking soda-twice!

Another story from a different Rhonda:

Ok. Here is my roommate horror story. A friend moved in who I had known for 20 years casually.  It turns out she takes Ambien as a sleep aide and sleep walks even during the day. She is still on tge drug during tge next day sometimes having nightmares while appearing to be awake . She has been on Ambien for 10 years and does all kinds of strange stuff and then can’t remember.  Ofcourse she denies it all and refuses to stop taking the medication and I have to give her 30 days notice. During this last thirty days she continues bizarre behaviors and has my mail delivery stopped. What a nightmare.  Can we ask if tenants take medications that may cause side effects?

Vast majority of cases are like this:

Luke wrote:

Honestly, so far I haven’t had any horror stories. Things have gone extremely smooth in our household and everyone is respectful of one another. I think the worst so far has been tenants that use my wife’s kitchen tools. She has these really nice German Wustof knives which she doesn’t like anybody using, but people do.

Roommates won’t know the value of the certain items so if you don’t want your roommates using your nice pots and pans or what not, I would specifically state so or put them elsewhere.

If you’re really lucky, then your experience will be like:

Tiffany shared:

I have had really good roommates so this has fortunately not been an issue for me.


Don’t let the stories in this post deter you from renting out a room. The vast majority of the time you’ll get roommates who will pay on-time and in-full, but they’ll have a little quirkiness to them. In rare cases, the quirkiness will be off the wall and unbearable, which makes for a horrible roommate, but it’s all relative and subjective. I think if a roommate pays rent as promised and keep their mess to a minimum, you’re ahead of the curve and will reach you financial goal you put in place.

Photo credit: naraekim0801

{ 1 comment }
  • Nadine February 9, 2017, 2:51 pm

    I have lived at a house for approximately 12 years and am friends with the elderly landlord. As he never learned the internet, I help him post advertisements for rooms when they become available. I also help with cleaning and shoveling.

    I have many stories, some of them not so funny but one that sticks out is this one:

    We get kitchen items from Value Village and Goodwill because we let room-mates use them as a courtesy. I started noticing that cutlery was getting low and so were dishes. I’m starting to scratch my head. Where are all these dishes disappearing?

    The answer came one garbage day when one of the bags that I took out to the curb had a clanking sound. I decided to take a look. There were all the missing utensils and dishes. This room mate didn’t like doing dishes so he would just toss these items in the garbage.


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