There are some occasions where we end up living with someone that we could have never imagined. This can happen when you have a roommate and sometimes it doesn’t work out as well as it did with Joey and Chandler or Monica and Rachel on the TV show Friends. Often, it can be very stressful and unpleasant to the point where you dread coming home. So how to effectively handle a bad roommate can be very difficult to figure out.
Here are some helpful tips on how to handle a bad roommate:
The first question that needs to be asked is whether or not your roommate is violent. For instance, have they committed or threatened to commit any acts of violence against you, and do you worry about your safety? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, it is highly advisable that you speak to the police and to your building manager and the rental board located in the city, province or state in which you reside. You should also strongly consider staying at a friend or family member’s place and look into moving out of your shared living quarters.
It is usually faster for you to move out of the shared domicile than it is for the authorities to remove the offending roommate and in this situation your safety is paramount. Also, if your roommate is associating with and bringing into your shared living quarters associates who have threatened you or make you worry about your safety, if your roommate refuses to change this situation (or fails to do so) it is again recommended you take similar steps as the first situation that has been described.
Another thing to watch out for is if your roommate has been stealing from you. If this has happened,go to the police, report it, inform the property owner and follow the procedures the police recommend. If your roommate steals from you again, report them to the police again. However, this situation is one you should definitely extradite yourself from as quickly as possible as it’s not a safe environment for you.
If you have a roommate that has been ‘borrowing’ your property, speak to them about it firmly. If they continue with this behaviour report them to the police as it does constitute stealing. It may be the only way your roommate will get the message. No roommate has the right to take your personal property without your permission.
If your roommate is a reasonable person who you feel you can talk to, sit down with them and discuss what it is that’s bothering you. Be open, honest, and blunt about what they’ve done and make sure you’ve come up with some options for resolving the situation. Also, listen to what your roommate proposes and see if any of their ideas resolve the situation.
If after discussing the situation with them and agreeing on a solution, your roommate continues with the bad behaviour try reminding them of what you’ve discussed. If after several occasions they keep repeating the bad behaviour it is unlikely your roommate is going to change. At this point you should look into the terms of your lease and see if they are in violation of it. If so you may be able to have the roommate thrown out of your shared living quarters. If they are not in violation of the lease, you may have to consider moving out. However, doing so could have financial or legal implications so make sure you’re aware of them before acting.
A common problem with a roommate can be a failure to pay their share of the rent. If this is persistent and they are in arrears of paying for their share of the rent, it is not your responsibility or the responsibility of the other people who you’re living with, to pay their rent for them. Instead, inform the property owner of the situation and leave it up to them to get the rent from your delinquent roommate. The property owner will look to get a deadbeat tenant out of there as quickly as humanly possible.
If your roommate is failing to pay for their share of utilities and expenses, look into whether you can file a complaint with the rental board or take them to small claims court. Next, talk to your roommate about the situation and, if they make an excuse or refuse to pay their share, inform them that you will be looking at filing a complaint or taking them to court. If they still refuse to pay, you’ll have to act on what you said; it’s likely the only way they’ll get the message and you’ll get your money back.
If your roommate has had a habit of invading your privacy, sit them down and discuss the problem with them. Ask them to cease this behaviour. If your roommate is a reasonable person they’ll stop and respect your request. However, if after reminding them they still continue to invade your privacy you may have to either move out or look into the terms of the lease to see if they’re violated it in some way and take action from there.
Keep in mind, if you’ve lived on your own for a while or you’ve never lived with a roommate, it may be a very difficult situation for you and perhaps one you’re not suited for. Sit down alone and calmly see if that’s the case. If so, it may be too difficult for you to live with someone at this point in your life and you may want to see about moving out. It may not matter what your roommate does to improve the situation; it just may be too difficult for you to live with someone.
Lastly, people can just get on each others nerves, and sometimes certain personality types are not well suited to live together. You have to objectively examine whether that is what is occurring here. If so you may first have to find them a replacement roommate and move out, or alternatively see if they would be open to moving out themselves, if the two of you cannot resolve your differences.
Also, you need to look at yourself to see if perhaps you’re being unfair or too critical about your roommate’s behaviour. There are times when we can be too harsh on others and that is what may be going on here; if so, it’s not too late to remedy the situation and make things better.