We have all had that roommate that we just can’t quite get along with, and the stress of going home every day to a living situation that you dread can quickly wear you down. You really wish that roommate would move out so that you could find a new roommate that you get along better with, or at least will do their share of the dishes. However, the steps to getting an annoying roommate to leave are not as easy as you might think.
So, how do you encourage an annoying roommate to move out?
- Sit down and talk when you are both calm. Conversations had in the heat of the moment are difficult to base realistic decisions on and you may find that you are both equally unhappy, but when someone feels ganged up on, they are more likely to fight to keep their spot. It may make it worth your while to offer an amount toward your problem roommate’s next security deposit, or let him take some of the furniture you co-purchased for the home, just to get him to quietly undertake the hassle of moving and finding a new place.
- Keep a written and dated log of undesirable activity from your roommate. Except in the event of dangerous or illegal activity, your eviction request should not be approached until you are certain that you can’t resolve the problem by talking and negotiating. The best way to argue your side of things is by keeping a log of the behavior you have complaints about, along with dates and what you have done to try to solve the problem. An organization like this helps show that you are serious and it also may be a wake-up call to your roommate about his pattern of behavior.
- If you simply can’t agree and your roommate won’t leave, you need to consider the legality of your situation. For instance, if he is not actually on the lease; just subletting, you are within your rights to give him written notice to leave. If he is on the lease, you need to take the matter to your landlord.
- If your landlord needs to get involved, it is best to sit down with him on your own initially and explain your request and your reasons. Keep in mind, your request needs to make sense to him from his standpoint (i.e. breaking lease rules) or it may not be worth his time to go to the trouble of an eviction. For instance, you may hate the fact that your roommate plays his music too loud and helps himself to your groceries, but if he pays his rent on time and seems like a model tenant on paper to the landlord, he may not feel incentivized to help you.
- Consider an intermediary that you both trust to make the fairest decision for both of you. This should be decided on jointly and both parties should agree in writing to abide by the mediator’s decision.
- If you have followed all the correct steps, and your roommate still refuses to leave, you can file a holdover petition that legally declares that he has outstayed his tenancy. This takes the case to housing court, which can be long, tedious and expensive. If you win and are granted an eviction order, your roommate then has a legal obligation to move on.
- Know when to cut your losses. If your roommate situation is really that bad, it may be easiest and cheapest for you to move out yourself. Depending on your lease and the availability of new housing, this option could save you a lot of hassle and arguments in the long run.
It only takes living with a bad roommate once to show you that good friends don’t always make good living companions and sometimes you are just plain unlucky. Keep in mind that you won’t walk away from the experience empty-handed. The more you know about the type of personality that you can live with, the more likely you are to make a better choice next time.
FAQs Related to Roommate Moving Out
How to advertise for a new roommate:
Here are a few tips on how to advertise for a roommate:
Consider your stage in life. You may be the same age as a college student, but in a different phase of life, like invest in a career. Although it may make sense to advertise your extra room on a campus to attract someone within your age group, you have to consider that such a roommate may come with a lifestyle that you don’t want to have to work around. Parties and late night visitors may very well come as a package deal. Alternatively, a roommate that doesn’t mind your late nights and parties may be just the type of roommate you want. Either way, make sure that you place your advertisements where your particular cohort of peers is most likely to see it.
Word of mouth. Friends of friends can be a great way to get the word out to a roommate. Not only do you not have to go through random applicants, but you can get a first-hand account of the flaws and benefits of a potential roommate from someone whose opinion you can trust and who is looking out for your interests.
Compare interests and hobbies. An applicant may be one of the nicest people you have ever met, but that will begin to matter a lot less if they are a trumpet player that needs to practice several hours a day. Make your needs clear in your advertisement without coming across as unbearably picky (or else no one will want to be YOUR roommate.) For instance, you can say something like “looking for a fun, responsible roommate that values a neat and peaceful home as much as I do.”
Check references. Make it clear that you will be expecting several references of previous roommates and landlords. Character references, such as their best friend, are not likely to be able to provide you with the information you need to make a decision. In a pinch, a boss might be able to give you a decent idea of a potential applicant’s qualities in a business relationship. Be wary if the only references someone can provide are several years in the past. This may indicate a recent run of bad luck or poor experiences. You are even within your rights to ask for a background or credit check.
Questions to ask a potential roommate?
1. Do you have a steady job? The word “steady” is key in this phrase and it refers to any job that offers a regular paycheck. Unless your potential roommate has access to an unlimited trust fund, you will want to make sure that he/she can pay their share of the rent on time.
2. Do you have any pets or expect to get one? Even if your lease has a pet clause, you may want to have some control over whether or not you have a pet in the home at any point.
3. Do you have a significant other? This may seem irrelevant at first, but a roommate with a steady significant other is likely to have him/her over regularly. Without some boundaries, you may end up with an unofficial third roommate that you never expected.
4. What is your daily schedule like? A night owl that works a late shift and then likes to unwind in front of the television or a video game for a few hours is likely to be very disruptive to an early bird. On the flip side, roommates that work opposite hours might be an ideal pairing if the main idea is to share the cost without the social component.
5. Are you comfortable with setting some rules and boundaries right away? Making sure that you both are on the same page when it comes to things like cleaning, overnight guests, and bill payments can reduce a lot of hassle down the road. Rooming with someone that agrees with clear rules and division of duties can make for a much happier home.
6. Do you have references? Take a page out of your landlord’s book and ask for references as a way to get an idea of what that person is like to live with. If an applicant doesn’t have any roommate experience, speaking to a co-worker can also help you determine what that person may be like in terms of responsibility and organizational skills.
Resources for Next Roommate
One of the easiest ways to create a peaceful, well-run home is to sit down together and create a roommate agreement that will be signed by everyone and referred back to when needed. A roommate agreement can be created at any time, and there are several templates available online for you to follow and modify as needed. Just like landlords require tenants to sign a lease agreement, roommates can also have an official document to spell out the rules and regulations for a happy and harmonious living situation.
Some of the items up for discussion should include:
- Space Divisions – Who gets which room and how are the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator space going to be divided?
- Chores – Decide on a chore chart and ensure that everyone is clear on what they are responsible for and when. It may help to make a visual chart that everyone can see on a daily basis.
- Noise – Noise after hours seems like an obvious subject for discussion, but don’t forget to also bring up acceptable music or television levels. These can be a source of friction, but shouldn’t be addressed in the heat of the moment.
- Rent – Because the lease is usually in one person’s name, deciding how rent is going to be collected is important for household peace and a fair deal for everyone.
- Arguments – It is inevitable that you will have spats and disagreements that you can’t solve on your own. It is a good idea to designate a third party that you all trust to help mediate issues (this probably shouldn’t be your landlord unless you all have a particularly personal, trusting relationship with her.)
- Guest Etiquette – It is always good manners to check with your roommates before you have overnight guests whether they are in your room or crashing on the couch. Create a policy that you all can live with and stick to it. If you want to request changes, make sure that you take it to the group first.
- Moving Out – Things happen, life changes and one roommate may need to leave earlier than they agreed to. This is an area where it can be extra helpful to get a written and legal contract between roommates so that financial compensation can be made for those still on the property, especially the roommate whose name is on the lease.