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I want to share this story from a reader Jenny N. Here story is as follows:

Well, “D” Friend and his wife needed a place to stay. Since my husband and I have a “in-laws suite” or guest house.(its pretty much an apartment). We were asked if they could stay there. We did agree. My fault we didn’t do a rental agreement. We told them that we would only charge them X amount of money with all utilities included per month. At first it was great. They paid on time. But they started a month here and there ” I dont have all the money things came up” and because we thought that “D” friend was really a friend and was going thru difficult times. We tried to understand. But it know comes to that “D” friend doesn’t even want to pay any sort of amount anymore. We asked him to leave gave them the notice that they had to vacate. They haven’t left to this date. Which means I need to get the eviction started.T

The other “friend” prior didn’t pay the last month. The good thing is that they left that same month.

We did the get the house because we wanted to rent the “in-laws suite” just we hadn’t done. Now I don’t know if I want to rent again.

This is an unfortunate experience for Jenny.

Her situation makes me feel really fortunate that I’ve never had a bad enough experience with a roommate that it deterred me from renting out a room or even contemplated quitting this endeavor.

ACTIONABLE STEPS

Like in Jenny’s case, there are going to be those isolated incidences of bad roommates. If you are caught in a similar situation and deterred from renting out a room, I strongly feel, she should take the following actions:

  • Take a break. As a “Live-in landlord,” you should never rely on your rental income to make the mortgage payments. This will allow you to take a break from renting out a room. Without the worries, you can take the time to enjoy your own space and peace of mind.
  • Revaluate. With the time away from being a “live-in landlord,” you can revaluate your finances and determine whether the roommate endeavor is right for you. Sharing your house with a roommate isn’t for everyone and compound that with roommate issues, you might be deterred from the entire idea.

GIVING IT ANOTHER CHANCE

The financial benefits of having a roommate are huge. There are also intangible benefits to having a roommate. So if I were in Jenny’s shoes, I would give it another chance, except I would take the time to find the right roommate. I would try to find a compatible roommate, who wasn’t going through difficult times and be more selective in my roommate search. In her specific case, she was asked from a friend if they could move in, which is a red flag. I wrote about why friends don’t make the best roommates.

Lastly, she mentioned she wish she had a rental agreement. This would alleviate any confusion on the agreed upon rent amount and when it was due. In addition, the process or penalty for any late payment.

Has anyone gone through any bad experience with roommate? Did it deter you from renting out a room?

{ 2 comments }
  • Eunice October 18, 2016, 9:53 am

    Over the dozen years that I owned a boarding house I had a few unfortunate situations, but my lease only failed ONE time to solve that problem swiftly. Sometimes I had to do repairs, but, again, only once was the cost more than the deposit covered.

    The secret really IS in making a carefully-considered, legal, enforceable lease, following up on all references to increase the likelihood of getting responsible tenants, ALWAYS following through on your end of the lease requirements, and acting quickly when the lessee isn’t meeting his/her responsibilities.

    When difficulties do arise it’s neither necessary nor wise to approach the situation with anger, impatience, or other unhelpful emotional responses. It IS wise to write a list of bullet points to both discuss with the tenant and then provide, in writing, with copies for both parties, dated and signed by both, that very specifically explain what the difficulties are and how they are to be eliminated.

    If eviction is unavoidable, be sure to follow ALL guidelines as specified in the law, making/keeping copies of all paperwork and every action taken by either party or that you or the tenant failed to take. (You may make a mistake once because you didn’t anticipate how things would turn out if you made such-&-such a choice, but you NEVER have to repeat it.)

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  • Sophie November 3, 2016, 8:32 pm

    I have had three bad experiences, more accurately 3.5 and I did finally find a room mate who is not only a great room mate but a great friend.

    Bad experience .5 – This was my first ever room mate. She was sweet but she was under the impression that because it was my house, I should have some kind of a psychic connection with it and thus, would never tell me when something was wrong but would get mad at me for not solving the problem when I did not even know it existed. Then, when we got a room mate that she did not like, she did not tell me all of the things that this other room mate was doing to her, assuming that I already knew. I had no idea that the other girl was bullying her and had I known, I would have done something about it. Oh well… spilled milk. Many yelling matches that were completely unnecessary and would never have happened had this girl just TOLD ME what was bothering her before it got to that point.

    Bad experience number 1: Crazy-Eyes – This one, I should have known from the start was a bad idea, but I was new to renting out rooms and I didn’t see the red flags.

    Red flag number one: She was on social security. Being someone who works, I find that it’s hard to live with people who are on social security because there is a vast difference in time management strategies and it can cause some… tension.

    Red flag number two: When she interviewed for the room, her father was with her and he did ALL of the talking. I should have known then that there was something wrong because her father DESPERATELY wanted her out of his house.

    Red flag number three: I gave her a sample copy of the lease to read over so that she could familiarize herself with the rules before she moved in. On the day that she moved in, she argued some of these rules and immediately asked for exceptions. This is the moment when I should have said no to her… but I did not.

    She was quick to try to make friends with me and was almost too accommodating in many ways. She was in my house for a month like this… being very friendly and almost to a needy level, where she’d knock on my door looking for company and weird hours of the night… and she’d tell me weirdly personal things and stories about her ex-boyfriends. One of those (we will call him Horrace) was an alcoholic who was abusive and she told me all of the stories about him and the horrible things he’d done to her.

    Long story short, “Horrace” the alcoholic was homeless and in the end, Crazy Eyes tried to move him into my home… and fought us tooth and nail when we tried to tell her that she could not do that.

    Bad experience numero dos: The Slob

    The Slob was another situation where I should have said no from the very start. The day after interviewing for the room, this girl called me at some odd hour of the night, begging to move in immediately (with no deposit or rent) and insisting that the man she’d been staying with had tried to rape her.

    Not wanting to put myself in a risky position and not wanting to deny her help if this horrible thing really had happened, I gave her some resources for homeless shelters in the area and she moved in within that month once she’d saved up the appropriate amount of money.

    It wasn’t until after my other room mate moved out (the first one I mentioned) that I learned that she’d basically been trying to chase her out by doing things like taking her clean clothes out of the dryer and throwing them on the floor and taking her food. I once caught her looking at and making fun of the other girl’s underwear for some reason.

    She had a job at Victoria’s Secret and a huge collection of panties that she would basically try to show off… by leaving them laying around the house… everywhere. She’d show off her bra collection by hanging them all over the place… including outside (and leaving them for days) much to my neighbor’s chagrin.

    Then there’s that nickname… The Slob. She was… a nightmare. Despite that there were three people sharing one kitchen, she’d leave her stuff EVERYWHERE in the kitchen and if I cleaned it up, she would get mad at me for cleaning it up because she didn’t want me to touch it, to which I’d tell her the kitchen is a public space and if she didn’t want it touched, she’d leave it in her room. Often, she’d leave dishes (TONS) piled up so that the sink was completely unusable and someone else would have to do them if they wanted to use the sink for anything, then if someone confronted her about this, she’d insist that she did nothing wrong because she did that all the time when she had her own apartment (with no room mates) and it wasn’t a problem then.

    She was a hideously messy cook and would leave tomato sauce splattered ALL OVER the stove and the WALLS of my kitchen as well as all over the counter tops and she’d spill things on the kitchen floor regularly and wouldn’t wipe up so my kitchen floors were constantly sticky and I had to wear shoes in my own kitchen (or wash the floors daily).

    If I tried to confront her about any of this, she’d say that she was justified because there was hair in the kitchen. Note, we had three girls in the house with long, dark hair at the time and because everyone sheds it’s nearly impossible to keep the house free of hair… and despite her insistence that none of it was hers, EVERYONE sheds.

    The Slob was also very inconsiderate and would do things like set the timer on the dryer to buzz every 5 or 10 minutes at 2am (when she got home from work) when everyone else was trying to sleep and despite my other room mate and I bringing this up to her, she continued, insisting that it was her right to do laundry. She would walk around the house in her underwear very regularly… and once answered the door for my father, wearing nothing but a t-shirt and a pair of panties.

    She would not close the bathroom door all of the way and would get angry if someone barged in on her.

    Things only got more insane. She eventually started doing a load of laundry literally every single day. She would put one or two outfits in the washer and run it every. day.

    She would throw away dishes when she did not feel like cleaning them. I own most of the dishes in the house. I had to start storing my dishes in my room and she called me evil for hiding the pots from her. She refused to pay for toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags or dish soap, insisting that she pays me enough already and constantly complaining that the rent is too high, to which I would tell her that if she found something cheaper she was free to leave. She never looked for another place, despite all of this.

    After a confrontation with her in which she THREW HER LUNCH BOX AT ME (a 30 some-odd year-old adult THREW a lunch box at me) I asked her to move out and she said I had no right to do so because she did nothing wrong.

    I wound up serving her an eviction notice. I believe she talked to a lawyer before she decided to move out. She came to me, insisting that I couldn’t kick her out because I didn’t give her 30 days notice. I replied that the paper I gave her that she left sitting on the kitchen counter a week ago (I left it where she put it) was a 30 day notice and advised that she take a look at it. She moved out 32 days after that and when I was cleaning out the room, I found an abundance of morning after pills, empty anti-depressant bottles and I discovered that she had a habit of killing bugs in the room and leaving their guts splattered on the walls. The room reeked so bad that it took it about 6 months to air out all of the way after she left and there was crusty stuff that I had to scrub off of the mattress… I do not even want to know what it was, but thank God for bleach and rubber gloves.

    After that, I was MUCH more selective about who I let into my house. The Slob often had trouble paying her rent and when she moved out, she actually managed to move in with one of my neighbors for a while, telling them a (made up) sob story about how I stole her mail and various other things… so the cycle of her using sob stories to get into a place without paying anything continued…

    This comment is already too long, so I’ll refrain from giving details of number three… suffice to say that she and number two basically tried to team up against me… and it did pan out for either of them, resulting in me getting everyone else out of my house, taking some time to clean up and regroup and starting fresh.

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