You think you have a bad roommate? My best gal pal lived with, what I consider, one of the worst roommates I have heard about. Within three months there were older men hanging around the apartment, her roommate was lying about the bills and stealing money right in front of my friend’s face.
My friend, Julie* (real names not used), went to complete an internship away from her home city. She found her now infamous roommate, Anne* on craigslist. The dates worked out well so Julie and Anne decided to share an apartment. Before Julie moved in with Anne into the one-bedroom apartment, they both agreed to split all costs down the middle.
Stranger in your home
Julie was unaware of Anne’s lifestyle; Julie was a 20 year old senior in college, a very quiet girl, who went to work during the day, came home to watch her favorite shows, and would end the day at around 11 p.m. Anne on the other hand had just graduated college, and, at the age of 23, was dating men no younger than 50. Julie didn’t want to say anything about Anne’s love life since it was none of her business, but, she also didn’t want any of the men Anne dated to ever enter the apartment.
One night, Julie came home around 9 p.m., which was not uncommon since she worked late, and found Anne and one of her many dates on her bed going at it. Both parties jumped up and were embarrassed. After that incident, Julie asked Anne to not invite her dates up into the apartment. Anne seemed sincerely apologetic and promised to not invite her dates up anymore.
Julie was satisfied until not even a week later, a different one of Anne’s dates was in their living area while Anne was nowhere to be seen. Julie was shocked to see some strange man in the middle of her living room. Julie asked why he was there, and was told he was waiting for Anne to come home. Apparently this gentleman had a copy of the apartment key.
This was within the first month Julie had been living with Anne. She wondered if this much had happened so soon, could it get worse?
Things get worse
After the first month, Anne told Julie that she would do the bills; all Julie had to do was pay her portion. Julie thought this was a great deal, however, there are no free lunches, and this was no different. Anne gave Julie a bill for $475 for the first month. This would seem reasonable if the apartment had 2+ bedrooms or if it were in a large city, high priced city like New York. However, this was a one bedroom apartment in Houston, TX.
Julie casually asked Anne to see the bills to see what she was paying for. Anne promised to show her, but in the end “forgot”. Julie later pressured her into at least showing the break down of the $475. Anne broke it down, rent, electric, water, gas, and cable. The cable bill was $45. This implied that the total cable bill was $90, since they had agreed to split all the bills equally. Julie found this to be on the high side, so she decided to call Time Warner to verify the amount of her apartment’s cable bill. The operator on the other line stated: $52. Julie asked, is that for the whole month? Yes. This is when Julie started thinking, well, if Anne was lying about the cable bill, what else was she lying to me about?
Julie decided that since she still had to live with Anne for the next two months, she would keep her findings to herself. When the second month rolled around, Julie asked Anne to pay her portion of the bill, while Julie could only afford $200 for this month. Anne told Julie that she would owe her $275. Julie told her she would pay her what she owed her.
The last month had come and on the last day that Julie was in Houston, TX, Anne had left a note stating that Julie owed her $595 + the $275 she owed her from the previous month. Anne was gone for the day, and Julie wanted to ask Anne for the exact bills to see what she was paying for. Julie’s friend from work, Sarah who was also an accountant, came and helped Julie pack up her things.
After Julie finished packing everything and was about to leave, she found Anne’s notebook with the correct amounts for the bills the last 3 months. Sarah made an excel spreadsheet of the three months to figure what Julie owed Anne for the last two months since Julie knew $1070 for the last three months was absurd. After a little investigation, Sarah and Julie found out that Anne was trying to steal over $200 a month for the last three months. This left Julie with an approximate bill of $150.
Luckily, Sarah advised Julie to write the check for $175, with the words written in the memo: PAID IN FULL for the months of May, June, and July. Julie was unsure why she was doing this. Sarah explained that if Anne cashed the check, then she would not be able to go back and sue Julie for the rest of the money Anne claimed Julie owed her. Julie left Anne a note stating how she felt used and lied to about the bill amounts.
A week later, Anne called Julie and left her a voice mail stating, “[Julie] I just wanted to let you know that you were a great roommate and the amount you left was not enough. I just wanted to talk to you about it. Please call me.”
Julie called Anne and got her voice mail leaving the message, “[Anne] I am more than willing to pay you any amount that I owe you. I just need to see the bills to make sure that they are the correct amounts.” A week goes by and Anne doesn’t call Julie or deposit or cash the check. Julie was getting nervous. However, two days later, Julie finds out that Anne deposited the check, and the situation with the roommate from H-E-Double hockey sticks is finally over.
Things to remember if you’re ever in this situation:
- Talk to your roommate before you try to get out of your lease.
- Remember, you still have to live with your roommate until you can legally get out of your lease.
- If all fails and you feel you are being cheated out of money, calculate the minimum amount of money you owe and note on the check: PAID IN FULL.