Dealing With Roommates?

June 22, 2010

2 woman eating breakfastI have two roommates and when it comes time to pay rent and other bills we all have accumulated together, they "conveniently" don't seem to have the money at the moment. I've let it slide often enough that it has become routine. How can I tactfully get them to start paying their share of the bills and rent? Your response will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


By Lisa from Orange, CA


June 22, 20100 found this helpful

Dear Lisa,
You are being taken advantage of by your friends. How many times must it happen before you stand up for yourself?
I will assume that the living arrangement is desired by all and your living alone is not an option, so consider how you will feel, when, not if, the bills are left unpaid, or worse yet YOU are left to pay them alone! Put your foot down and have a serious talk with your friends. Set a date, visibly on a calendar you can all agree to, and start sharing the responsibility of turning in the payments for these bills. They are easier to ignore if a person never sees the bill, makes out the check, and takes it to the office. It is time to reestablish the team work issues and tell them verbally how they are making you feel. You're not a carpet, so stop lying down to take it!


These are words much like my mother told me when I didn't want to talk to my room mates! And it worked, but not before I got to pay the whole $600.00 phone bill all by my little lonesome. Confrontation is difficult, NOT impossible.

June 22, 20100 found this helpful

Since you can't teach responsibility (that was their parent's job) you can show consequences. Hope these suggestions I use or have used give you some ideas. Sounds like you have to start from the beginning and get together to re-establish the rules. You might put a white board somewhere where everyone will see it! Maybe by the front door the first 3 months? Write "Rent due in 10 days, July 00 at 9am". Then every morning change # of days (you could also put "Right to live here due in 10 days") and "Let me know prior to due date if you think you will be late and we will all work together to find a way".


For consequences well my kids were charged $1.00 (Ha) for each day late, but you all are in the real world so what ever your landlord wants as late fee will have to paid per diem by the late ones. Doesn't matter if you covered for them and got the rent in on time, that money is now due to you! If after 3 months they are still late then you will have to lay down the law and they will have to find a roommate to replace them (be sure to put that in the agreement). This is now a business! Love ya, but you gave your word and #1 we/I just can't afford carrying you and #2 I don't want to loose our friendship, but I'm holding in anger.

Write down whatever you agree on and sign it! If you know your landlord well enough he/she could sign as witness. Think of judge judy and what proof she will want lol


The utilities and other bills, should go on the white board too with amounts and due date. Whoever has their name on the utilities is the one whose credit is in jeopardy. If possible each roommate should have the bills in their name for 3 or 4 months each and let them feel the stress of not being able to buy a car or anything in the future!

Oh, I do ramble and I don't mean to get all technical as if you didn't know what to do, but I am anal retentive :-> good luck! Dahl


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 109 Feedbacks
June 22, 20100 found this helpful

Well to give them a nudge on the sly, keep track of when bills usually come in and how long before they are due. If you are the one who usually gets the mail when the bills arrive you can easily start telling them such and such bill arrived about a week before it usually does and tell them it is due about a week before it usually is. They probably don't pay attention to when the bills "usually" show up and will take your word for it.


You can try the hard ball approach as an option. Tell them when a bill shows up, tell them you have your part of the bill, if the bill is late and a late charge is applied they will cover it. If the service is turned off they will pay the price for it being turned back on. Only fair, you're doing your part. You just have to show them the consequences.

Last option would be to find another place that needs a room mate and move out. Let them work it out between them.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
June 23, 20100 found this helpful

One thing you can do is to try to set up a system to collect on each payday. We had a separate account to pay all those bills when I had roommates in college. The bills probably don't fluctuate from month to month that much so you could have them set up direct deposit every two weeks, which is how most people seem to get paid. It's too late now, but this would be good to set up in advance at the beginning.


For now, I would just level with them and tell them that it isn't working for you. I would also get any utilities out of your name so they are not your responsibility. Trust me, when you go to buy a house and you find out that you are denied the loan because of past credit issues, whether or not they are your fault, you will be very sorry.

Worst case scenario, look for more trustworthy roommates. It is hard enough to live with other people and split up the chores, etc. without having to foot the bills too. A contract isn't a bad idea, neither is a fine for late payments.

Good luck!


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June 23, 20100 found this helpful

Tell them the late person will be responsible for the whole house utility bill, rent, what ever the next month. Have everyone sign a statement, notarize it. what ever you have to do.
Phone? get your own cell phone with your family, same plan. You can have the utility bills put in all their names, not just yours.


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June 24, 20100 found this helpful

It sounds like they are renting from you. Do not renew the lease with them. Tell them ahead of time that they have bad credit with you and if they want to stay they must always pay on time. Do not lease to them by the year, but by the month so you can throw them out. This is wrong of them to treat you this way and I would show them this page. Do not put up with this.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
June 24, 20100 found this helpful

There's nothing to be tactful about! If you could share who's name(s) is/are on the lease and who's name(s) the utilities are under I can give you better advice, not only as a former landlord but also many years as a tenant (room mate and not) myself. Please share more details for your situation.


Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,394 Feedbacks
June 24, 20100 found this helpful

I wouldn't hurt your feelings for the world, but you set a bad precedent by "letting it slide" in the past. Dr Phil says you teach people how to treat you.
You've gotten some great advice by those in better position to know legalities. I know that until you get truly sick and tired of being everyone's willing little carpet and speak out, the pattern won't change. For your own sake, speak out before you do as I did and scream instead!

July 4, 20100 found this helpful

If they're not on the lease all is not lost. Simply meet with all of them at once. Remind them of the agreement and tell them as a group that your disappointed.
Also add: I don't think your taking advantage of our friendship, so what's going on? Then sit back and listen.
If not on the lease, let them know you can't continue to let this slide and need promptly. A landlord or bank wouldn't put up with excuses and you have a bill to pay.

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4 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

September 2, 2009

How much should I charge for people to use my washer and dryer. It is a situation where roommates aren't paying for things and so I'm putting charges up.

By mariah from Lewiston, ME


September 2, 20090 found this helpful

If they aren't paying now, why would they pay higher charges? You've got a problem and I don't think that is going to fix it. I'd think of how you could keep them from using the appliances unless they pay up. If they are using food without paying, lock it in a cupboard where they can't get at it. That seems harsh, but they are taking undue advantage of you.

Once you have thought what you can do, get them together and let them know why they have to pay. Let them know if it doesn't change what will happen and do it. Maybe you could have a "kitty" where everybody adds to it to pay for the hydro and detergent etc. Be firm and follow through whatever you decide. Good luck. Be strong.

September 3, 20090 found this helpful

Well you couls go to Nelson and Small, located in Portland Me. and buy a new washer dryer with the coin boxes attached. if that is too expensive then why not go to a laundromat in your town and ask the owner how much it costs to wash and dry one load of laundry. In other words,does it cost 2 bucks to wash one load laundry and one buck to dry the same load.

September 3, 20090 found this helpful

When my adult son and a friend of his decided to move back home after they got out of the Army, we sat down and I explained to them what it cost for me to run my household and then we decided on a fair amount that they should "pay" me each week. It helped them to know why I expected them to help pay for expenses and eased what could have been a very tough financial burden on me. It worked out very well and now they both have their own homes. Maybe if you go over your bills with them and let them know just how much it takes each month, they will more willing to ante up their share of the costs.

September 3, 20090 found this helpful

Check the local laudromat and see what they charge for wash and dry. Check how many loads they generally run per week. Do the math, then reduce the laundromat charges by about 50% and charge them that much extra on their rent.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
September 4, 20090 found this helpful

If you're talking about utility use (water, gas, electric) why don't you just start having them pay their share of the utilities? ie if there are three of you each pays 1/3rd. If it's wear and tear of your washer and dryer you're worried about just tell them to use a laundromat. Make sure you have a written and signed contract to protect you.

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May 5, 2010

My roommate's puppy eats everything. She doesn't eat underwear or socks. She eats whole tennis balls, corners of my table, electrical cords for my computer, and the rain spout outside. I try to watch her, if I'm not, she's in her kennel.

I've tried the cayenne pepper thing, unfortunately, she likes the cayenne pepper, so that didn't work. And because she isn't my dog, I'm not going to pay the couple hundred dollars for training. I'm a huge animal lover, so I take time to train her myself. She hasn't learned a thing.

I have an Australian Shepherd of my own who learned very quickly. I know it takes time. But she doesn't know when or how to tell me its time to go outside, (she doesn't even sniff to warn me), she just squats and goes. She doesn't understand "kennel" or "sit". And she still poops in her kennel almost every night, after she had been outside already. I used to assume she was on a schedule, so I got up earlier, now that doesn't work, it's like shes trying to beat me up in the morning. What do I do?

By Kenzie from Omaha, NE


May 6, 20100 found this helpful

Where is your roommate? Why isn't she taking care of, cleaning up after and training her own puppy?

If the puppy is going in the kennel, it's possible the kennel is too big. It should be just large enough for her to sit down, stand up, turn around and lay down in. If it's larger than that, then you (or your roommate) need to block off part of the kennel until the puppy gets bigger.

My daughter had a dog that refused to stop chewing no matter what she tried, so she bought a muzzle for it, and the dog learned quickly to only chew it's own toys. If used appropriately, the muzzle can be a good training tool.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
May 6, 20100 found this helpful

Simply tell your roommate to get their dog under control 'immediately' or both of them need to leave! There's absolutely no excuse or reason why you should have to deal with such irresponsible behavior (from the roommate or the dog) and have your personal property damaged too!

Oh, and if you rent you're going to be financially responsible for the damaged landlords property caused by this pooch also!


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 135 Feedbacks
May 6, 20100 found this helpful

Deeli is spot-on with her post about responsibliity; if you're both on the lease, you're both responsible for the damage.

If the apartment's in your name, I'd lay the law down with your roomie and give it a reasonable period of time--two weeks should make a difference if someone is actually consistent with the dog--and if there's no change, start looking for a new roommate and give the current one walking papers.

If the apartment's not in your name, still have the talk and the time frame. If the situation's still the same, I'd make other living arrangements.

Remember that one of these days, Puppy Dearest is likely going to get into some major trouble. Being allowed to chew electrical wires is a big invitation for a house fire--or a dead dog or roommates.

May 6, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with those that said you need to confront your roomie and give her a choice - train the puppy, find a new home for her, or you yourself need to move and leave her to her untrained dog and the financial fall out. She is using you, and you are allowing it b/c you love animals. Don't let her do that to you.

That said, the puppy needs MUCH more exercise (a very tired puppy will sleep more and get into trouble less). During the day, when not being exercised, she should be in the crate and then taken out every hour and rewarded when she goes potty outside. When she is not having accidents in that time period, move to 2 hours etc... This can be accomplished pretty quickly if she is smart. This can be done when someone is home, but do not leave her more than 3-4 hours in the crate at a time, and put her in TIRED from exercise. If your roommate can not do this, HIRE someone. If you want to be that someone, charge her accordingly!

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September 30, 2015

My room mate is a pig, well, not in the species of swine. I needed someone to help with rent and be a witness to my future ex. So, I knew this woman who, by her own admission, does not clean up after herself. Her fomer roommates put her out for it.

I told her, her room is hers, the rest of the place please don't leave it a mess. I have to literally tell her each step to picking up after herself. It is worse than living with a child, she yells for me to not tell her what to do.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
September 30, 20150 found this helpful

Your new room mate will certainly not change no matter what rules you try to enforce and further nagging to clean up. She is an adult and apparently chooses not to change or is unable to change for some reason.

Your only option is to help her out the door and ASAP for your own sanity!

October 2, 20150 found this helpful

You rented a room to someone who is a well-known slob. Why did you expect her to change her ways? Perhaps you can evict her.

October 18, 20150 found this helpful

My DIL started leaving stuff around and I warned her that one day she'd find her stuff in the bushes. She left several outfits out. She'd had to decide which to work as she'd have to iron them. Set up board and iron in the kitchen and left. A few days later she was looking for one of the outfits. I told her to check the bushes. Our father taught us kids that way and I just passed it along. DIL picked up her stuff after that.
Warn her first that if you have to pick it up as to where she'll find it. If it means a dumpster, so be it.

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