Roommate Problem: Advice needed

LorrainaFebruary 9, 2005

I was wondering if anyone could provide a bit of helpful advice:

I have currently been renting out a room in my apartment to someone for the past 8 months based on a one year fixed contract.

6 months ago she told me that she had invited her friend to come and stay in our apartment for a week and wanted to know whether that was fine with me. IÂm a student; sheÂs not and we have very different schedules. She tends to get up early in the morning (5am) during the week and come home late on weekends and usually wakes me up in the process so I told her that I did mind having guests stay over for such extended periods of time but that I was ok with this guest coming over this time since the person had already bought there plane ticket. She agreed not to invite anymore guests over for extended overnight periods of time but since then this has happened 3 more times with only a few days warning during my school exam period and last month I heard her inviting two people to stay over in our apartment for 1 ½ weeks in March but she hasnÂt mentioned this to me yet and I donÂt think she plans to until they arrive on our doorstep.

I find it really frustrating to have these people hanging around my apartment and sleeping in the livingroom especially when she goes off to work and leaves them the keys.

IÂm pretty quiet and sheÂs rather domineering and doesnÂt really like to be corrected. We pay for electricity and have continued to split it 50:50. My question is: Is she taking advantage of me or am I just overreacting? ShouldnÂt she at least clear things with me to find out what my schedule is like before inviting people to stay in our apartment for 7 days

Any helpful comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

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She's taking advantage of you ... BIG TIME!!!! I wouldn't be especially wiorried about the people sleeping in the living room: I'd crank up the bagpipe CDs REAL LOUD at odd hours and have my school friends over for all-night study sessions frequently.

I would worry about security - you don't know those people, and she's handing out keys? Where is she? Are they using it as a cheap hotel while she works?

In the future, make sure that any "roomies" are on a month-to-month contract, and put in WRITING the number of overnight guests you will allow: number of guests at any one time, number of days in a row, number of days with guests total, and the EXTRA MONEY she will pay for every day those "guests" are there. Make sure you give her proper notice so she can't stay past her 1yr term - 4 months to go!

"this has happened 3 more times with only a few days warning during my school exam period and last month I heard her inviting two people to stay over in our apartment for 1 ½ weeks in March but she hasnÂt mentioned this to me yet and I donÂt think she plans to until they arrive on our doorstep."

Do you know when they will arrive? Can you invite some school friends for the same time period? (BIG, husky, domineering noisy friends that will cooperate with a plan!). Have them arrive a couple days before her guests, packed for a 2-week stay. If she says "but I have guests arriving tomorrow for 1 1/2 weeks!" you get to use one of these:

1) smile and say "Oh dear, you should have said something sooner, before I invited these large, noisy people. I'm sure your friends can find a nice hotel close to here." and hand her the yellow pages.

2) Gasp in a shocked tone of voice "But you said back in (month) you would not have overnight guests for long periods! I never thought you would go back on your word and invite people for a WEEK AND A HALF without checking with me first to see if it was OK."

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 10:47PM
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I think you "taught" her the first time that if she springs it on you, she'll get away with it.

So that's what she's doing.

It's time to nip it in the bud. You heard her, even if she doesn't know, so now be honest. Tell her, "I heard you, and this is not acceptable to me. Tell your friends they cannot come. Feel free to blame it on me. And rememver that this will have a direct impact on whether this will continue to be your home."

One hint in dealing w/ people when you're the nice wimp and they're pushy "takers": Don't say very much. Don't continue the conversation.

Say your piece, then walk away.

I personally can cope w/ people staying for a week--it's hard, esp. if they're sleeping on the sofa. But I would like to do the same thing myself, now and then, so this doesn't bother me.

It's the repeated "springing it on you" and the not checking to see if this week will work, and it's the OVER AND OVERNESS of it. Having someone stay for a week, two times in a year, is enough.

And TWO people at the same time is going to be really hard.

4 months to go. Even if you decide not to get into the conflict, just keep remembering that.

Oh,a nd you need to start complaining about her waking you up at 5am and late in the night. Start getting out of bed and telling her in a crabby voice, "you need to keep the noise down; I'm sleepingl" Then just go straight back to bed.\

Maybe wouldn't want, at this point, to tell her you're not going to renew, because you don't want to live for 4 months w/ a pissed-off roomie, and you don't want her to pull out early (unless, of course, you could cope w/ that for a month or two, or could replace her pretty easily). But you might start giving her little hints.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 1:21PM
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I found both of your comments very useful and supportive.

I have had short term roommates before during summer courses at other universities and things have gone smoothly and we had fun mostly because we respected each others space and were considerate of the other personÂs schedule and took the time to discuss things with one another. I thought that my current situation would be like that as well but I guess each person is different. This is the first time that I have rented out a room to someone so IÂm still learning.

I do agree with the fact that I Âtaught her the first time that if she springs it on [me], she'll get away with it?as you correctly put it Talley_Sue. I always get a sense of when something is about to happen because she generally becomes very, very friendly and talkative and I think that I have to learn to stop feeling bad about standing up to her and stop allowing her to manipulate me.

I believe that if you are sharing a living environment with someone else Âespecially someone you arenÂt already friends with- it is important to be respectful and considerate of the other person and discuss things with them if your decision will affect them. I believe that if she wasnÂt in agreement with me the first time we spoke she should have said so then and we could have discussed it. The thing that gets to me is the fact that we came to an agreement and yet she continues to do the very thing she agreed she wouldnÂt do.

Side Note: I have spoken to her about banging things and waking me up in the past Âeven the landlord who lives below us remarked to her last month that "You seem to get up very early for work"- and I guess the good news is that she has managed to stop wearing her boots in the apartment while she gets ready for work in the morning and claims that she will "try" not to slam things anymore but I wouldnÂt bet on it

Thanks again for your advice!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 4:26PM
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