Roommate broke my bed

cj2010June 28, 2010

Any advice would be appreciated! A roommate moved in in Sept of 2009. He was finishing his dissertation and had a job set up out of state. He told me he would move out in mid-December, it was a very temporary arrangement. He had advertised that he needed a room with a bed. I offered my queen sized, raised Aerobed and he accepted. It's now 9 months later and he is still living here. His job fell through, plus I was happy to still have a roommate since I lost my job. Today he told me that the Aerobed is broken. He went out and bought himself a bed and asked me what I wanted to do with the now very lopsided Aerobed. He said that it's too uncomfortable to sleep on, and it's noticeably not inflating on one whole side of the bed. I was surprised he did not offer to replace it so I finally told him that I expected him to do just that. He disagreed for the following reasons. He said that when he moved in the agreement was that he'd have a bed. He also said he should not be expected to replace it because I bought the bed from a friend for less than $100 and the bed costs close to $300. I responded by saying that I don't think it matters how much I paid for it, that if one uses something that belongs to someone else and it breaks I believe the person using it should replace it. I also said that while it's true I offered him a room with a bed, that was when the agreement was that he'd be staying just a couple months, not 9 months or more! I told him that the Aerobed probably is not to be slept on for so long, night after night. It's been inconvenient for him to be using it for so long because when the occasional friend or family member wants to spend the night I don't have a sufficient spare bed for them. I should have told him months ago that he'd have to get a bed and get my Aerobed back to me, but I did not. I never collected a security deposit from him either, and now I wish I had! I could have kept it to make up for the cost of the bed. I am not sure what to do now. He told me that he thinks we should split the cost of a new used Aerobed. Thoughts? Thank you!

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Wow - years ago we got a call from my mother-in-law one evening saying a couple of 2nd or 3rd cousins of my husband (whom we'd never heard of, let alone met) were visiting from the UK and needed a bed for the night (M-I-L was out of town, cousins were in ours). Next thing we knew, two big and boisterous young women with backpacks were at the door, and what could we do but invite them in. Well, apart from "our" 2nd fl. bedroom, I had made the finished attic of our old Victorian into my own get-away space, complete with... aerobed, which I loved as being more comfortable for me than our shared bed (my now ex is 6'4" and I'm not :-). I hauled out some bedding and said goodnight, not being thrilled with the imposition to begin with (not completely their fault - MIL could have just told them to find a motel, hostel, YWCA) but one has to be civil). They left the next morning and I went to clean up, only to find that they'd broken my bed ... and I was furious! I had prized it so much because it suited me so well, and now I no longer could use it.

Anyhow, your roomie is wrong (as you are aware) and as he plainly has no intention of taking care of it for you, would take him to small claims court to get back your money. No point in continuing the disagreement as it won't go anywhere good, and at least you know where to serve him with papers now. All your arguments are valid, and you did not even mention that the new bed he got apparently never got your seal of approval either. Get going on this and good luck!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 6:30AM
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You said "He had advertised that he needed a room with a bed. I offered my queen sized, raised Aerobed and he accepted. It's now 9 months later and he is still living here. His job fell through, plus I was happy to still have a roommate since I lost my job."

So for 9 months you didn't care that he slept on your Aerobed but now that it is broken you care? What does the lease you signed with him say?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:28PM
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You can get a raised queen size airbed for LOTS cheaper than $300 now. We bought one at Amazon a few months ago under $50 and it is nice. Can't remember the brand. I've also seen them at Target and Costco. We also have the raised queen Aerobed. They are comparable. Actually the one I bought at Amazon has a flocked texture to the top which makes it even nicer. Just make sure you get one that comes with an electric inflator.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 12:25AM
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I think your roommate is right, you are wrong, and he is being generous in his offer to split the costs of a new/used Aerobed.

The verbal contract between you was for you to provide a room with a bed. You both agreed to an extension of his stay under the same conditions - room with a bed. The Aerobed failed under normal conditions, he didn't stick a knife in it. So you still owe him a bed to sleep on for whatever time he remains in the apartment.

Turn this around to a hypothetical situation between you and your landlord. You are renting a unit that includes a kitchen faucet. The faucet breaks under normal circumstances after much use. Unless your lease specifies something else, it is the landlord's responsibility to maintain the property and replace the faucet. Your roommate is subleasing from you. It's YOUR obligation to provide a working bed.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 8:01AM
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Like Graywings said, if you are renting out a "furnished" room you are responsible for maintenance of items that fail due to normal use.

Aerobeds are known to fail over time with normal use. They don't last forever.

Before you go buy a new bed and split the cost, make sure you have a written agreement over ownership of the new bed when the roommate moves out. Will he be taking it with him since he paid for half? Or is it to be left behind with you since you paid for half? Don't just assume you are in unspoken agreement on this. Discuss it and get it in writing. Whose charge card is it going on when purchased? This may make a difference in absence of other paperwork if the issue goes to small claims court.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 11:33AM
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This is tough man, it sounds like he is not going to pay for the bed.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 3:08PM
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