The current rental market is tight. Many renters are finding that, on a single income, they may not meet the income requirements for their dream apartment.
Getting a roommate to help with expenses can a smart option that allows you to apply for rentals that you would otherwise not be able to afford. This can be an excellent cost-saving option that can catalyze friendship bonds that can last lifetimes.
A great roommate can be like family. But, while there are steps to take to find the best roommate for your needs, there are times when your roommate can become your worst nightmare.
So what do you do if life with your roommate isn’t harmonious? Here’s everything you need to ensure that you know exactly what steps to take in a bad roommate situation.
Take A Step Back
Roommates get into scuffles, it’s a natural product of living together and going through daily life with another person that may not do things exactly the same way. Chances are, you didn’t hate your roommate when you moved in together, (or why would you have chosen to live in the same place?) so take a step back and decide if the issues you are facing are truly deal-breakers. Remember that if you need a new roommate in the future, tiny issues will always come up. If your biggest roommate issue is simply that one of you doesn’t pick up your socks, it may be time to take a deep breath and let the little things slide.
Communication is key for any relationship, so ensure that your roommate understands your needs. It’s entirely possible they are driving you crazy without even realizing it. Instead of letting your frustration feaster, ensure that you are respectful and upfront with them before deciding you are definitely in a bad roommate situation.
Evaluate Moving Costs
Moving is stressful. Finding a new apartment comes with an expense. Items like move-in costs, deposits, one-time fees, all have to be considered on top of the normal rental expenses for which you are currently budgeting.
On top of the costs associated with acquiring a new rental, if you are currently in a lease agreement, you will have to assess the costs associated with breaking your lease. Remember, that more than a simple finical cost, you will be dealing with a potentially damaged landlord-tenant relationship should you break your lease. This could come back to haunt you in the future when a new property manager or landlord is looking into your past rental history. Before you make any final decisions, be sure that calculate the moving costs and that you speak with your landlord about your situation. This will help you find out if leaving your roommate situation is the best move, or if waiting a few months would be more financially feasible.
Special Note: If you are hoping to move because you feel unsafe, remember to call the police and document any incidences. A good landlord will terminate the lease agreement of a violent tenant for putting you or others in danger. They also may allow a tenant who feels threatened to break the lease and get out of an unsafe living situation. And if your roommate happened to also be your significant other and you are the victim of domestic violence, some states require that tenants be able to break the lease without consequences.
Do the Legwork for Your Landlord
If you know you have quite a few months left on your lease ask to sublet the apartment or if you can simply find a new person to transfer the lease agreement to a new tenant or simply to sublet the rental. Your landlord can say no, but they may be more likely to allow you to leave without fees if you have a qualified replacement in mind. In either situation, the person you find will have to be approved by your landlord. This will likely include filling out an application and your landlord conducting their standard tenant screening procedure by accessing a credit, criminal and eviction report and checking employment and landlord references to make sure you found a qualified renter.
Remember, that even though getting out of a bad roommate situation will be a huge relief, that you are still in an agreement with your landlord should you choose to sublet. This can often mean that, should your subleaser and your former roommate cause damage to the rental, your security deposit is on the line. There are ways to mitigate issues when subleasing, so just be sure to do your due diligence before making any final decisions.
In the end, it’s good to keep in mind that your landlord is, unfortunately, under no obligation to acquiesce to your requests to move due to a personality conflict. Managing your personal life and your interpersonal relationships is not the responsibility of your landlord.
However, you can ensure that you are more likely to find a good compromise with your landlord if you have had a history of paying rent on-time and have been an overall good tenant. A good landlord-tenant relationship goes a long way.