Having a roommate can be beneficial in many ways. For one thing, they help you out with the rent each month, but they also provide companionship, someone to talk about your day with, and an automatic Netflix buddy. If you’re not quite ready to live alone or you can’t afford to, having a roommate is the way to go.
But sometimes having a roommate can be the worst. It seems like everyone who’s lived with a roommate has some sort of horror story to tell — whether they never did the dishes, smoked cigarettes in the living room, moved their boyfriend in without asking you, or just never paid the rent on time. So what do you do when you find yourself in the middle of a roommate nightmare?
Here are five signs that it’s time to move on from a terrible living situation and into your own place.
They Disrespect Your Schedule
Whether you have an abnormal sleeping schedule because you work a night shift or your roommate is a night owl while you have to get up really early in the morning for work, it’s important that you both respect each other’s sleeping schedules. So if you have a roommate who is constantly having people over when you’re trying to go to bed or playing video games/watching movies at full volume when you’re trying to unwind for the evening, it can cause some friction. If you’ve had multiple conversations with your roommate about this and there’s still no signs of change or respect for you or your sleeping schedule, it might be time to move on from your living arrangement.
They Borrow Your Stuff Without Asking and Either Ruin or Lose It
Part of the fun of having a roommate that doubles as your friend is the ability to borrow each other’s clothes, shoes, and gadgets when you need to. However, if your roommate continually borrows your stuff without asking or returns it in less-than-ideal condition (or worse, doesn’t return it at all), some tensions could arise. Although you shouldn’t be too hasty with this (we’re all human after all and are allowed a couple of mistakes), if it happens repeatedly, you might want to start looking at the apartment listings on Craigslist.
Their Significant Other Has Basically Moved In Without Your Permission
The beginnings of relationships are always exciting and romantic. You want to spend every waking moment together, which often involves staying over at each other’s houses multiple nights a week. While it’s great for the person in the relationship, it may not work out so well for you, the roommate, who may not want your personal space to be invaded by a person you don’t know. It can also be problematic when their significant other is using up a lot of electricity or eating food that you help pay for. You definitely don’t want to inhibit a blossoming relationship, but it isn’t exactly fair for you to basically have a de-facto roommate when you didn’t ask for one. Have a gentle conversation with your roommate to see if they wouldn’t mind having their significant other chip in for rent or bills. If they have a not-so-friendly reaction, it may be time to go.
They Are Doing Something Illegal in Your Apartment
Whether your roommate fell into bad habits after you moved in together or you’re just discovering something about them, it’s imperative that you address any illegal behavior right away. If they are doing anything illegal in the apartment and you know about it, then you are liable for not telling the authorities and might be guilty by association.
Discuss the illegal behavior with your roommate and let them know that you disapprove. Depending on the severity of the situation, consider getting your landlord (or possibly even the authorities) involved. There is absolutely no reason why you should continue to live with someone who is breaking the law or potentially making you unsafe.
They Don’t Pay for Rent or Bills or are Continually Late
Of course, the most egregious roommate violation of all is the failure to pay for rent or bills — or continually turning these payments in late. Having a roommate that pays things late or doesn’t pay them at all puts a major financial strain on you. It could potentially ruin your credit score, get you evicted, and limit your chances of getting a good apartment in the future without a co-signer. You absolutely must address the issue of late rent or bills right away so that you don’t find yourself in any financial trouble.
If your roommate keeps blowing you off or avoiding the conversation about missed rent or bills, then you should talk to your landlord and explain the situation to them. See what your options are (they may depend on the kind of lease you signed). Determine whether or not the landlord can simply evict your roommate or if you can break your lease without penalty. The most important thing is to get out of there just as soon as you can before it has an effect on you.