negotiating terms of non-written lease for roommate?

kjm60202May 7, 2014

Hi everyone,

I decided to start saving a little more money, and with my landlord's blessing, rented the 2nd bedroom in my apartment to a roommate, who I found on craigslist. I'd met with several people that didn't seem a good fit, and when I met my current roommate, I thought I'd found the golden ticket - great job, seemed to have her life together, responsible, the works. We talked about what we expected from each other. It all seemed reasonable, at least from my end - including generously offering to forego the cost of utilities, since she would rarely be in the apartment because of her career. I did explain to her during our first talk that I have an autoimmune disease, and though I manage it well, there was a certain level of clean that I maintain in my home to lessen my risk of picking up an infection. As I say to anyone who asks, "The flu for you is the hospital for me", and I have said this to her over the course of the last 3 months, in an effort to get her to do the bare minimum in doing her part. I'm not a germophobe, and I have shouldered the weight of doing 90% of the cleaning on my days off from work. And in the past 3 months, I can't think of one occasion that she's taken out the trash (sometimes after leaving her old, moldy food in it), emptied the dishwasher or cleaned the bathroom. She's actually in the apartment a great deal more than she predicted, so it's not all me.

She agreed to pay $20 to me every other month to help cover the cost of household stuff like bath tissue and cleaning supplies.

We also discussed the ways I aim to reduce energy and water waste; she agreed and I assumed she'd do common sense stuff like turn off lights when she's not in a room, not use up all the hot water in one shower, turn the oven off when she's done, etc.

I asked that she clean out the hair trap in the bathtub when she's done showering, not leave her stuff all over the vanity, wash her dishes, or at least rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. Common sense stuff.

I have asked her 4 times now to please take her shoes off before coming in; I don't want dirt and other nasty crap from the street tracked in the apartment, and her high heels are starting to leave scratches on the wood flooring, and the landlord, who lives downstairs has already complained that her heels make a lot of noise, and I'll agree with that.

This all came to a head when I returned home from work one evening last week and found the lights on in the living room, kitchen, bathroom and hallway. Again. She was in her room, and I walked through the apartment switching them off. I was pretty pissed off but not as pissed as I was the next morning when I started the shower, and saw a huge wad of her hair, not in the drain trap, but in the drain itself - and it wasn't the first time. I cleaned it up, took my shower and then set out to email her about it. I explained that there was no magical fairy who cleaned, took out the trash, and pulled her wads of hair from the drain. And that she needed to do her part, (the very bare minimum of things!!) and start paying up for utilities if she was going to keep leaving lights on. And that I was feeling taken advantage of.

She replied that she was sorry I felt that way, and that she'd respect my wishes (especially about shoes in the house and the lights) but that she didn't feel she should pay for utilities since she's infrequently there; I'd say that at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week isn't

She's yet to pay for her agreed share of household items. I know it's not a money issue, she makes twice what I make. And her rent to the landlord is never late. She's not on the lease and was anticipating staying through November, and pays rent directly to our landlord.

But since our email exchange, she's still wearing her shoes in the apartment, the bathtub drain is again clogged up with her hair, and the sink is full of her dirty dishes.

I'm not entirely sure if I want to a) renegotiate our terms into something more formal like asking her to sign an agreement with me or b) just asking her to leave through legal means. I'd like to believe that she's got it in her to live up to her word, but after 3 months of the same things happening over and over, that may be an impossibility.

Any thoughts/advice?

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She's not going to change. Cut your losses ASAP, get her to move out, and then you can move on.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 12:33PM
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