Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Our Roommate Doesn’t Pay Her Rent”

Recently, I moved, at least semi-permanently, into my boyfriend’s house with him and his roommates. Soon after, one of the roommates’ new girlfriend also moved in. At first, neither of us was paying rent because we were not taking up any extra rooms but eventually another roommate told us we both needed to start chipping and and, of course, I agreed. The other girlfriend and I were given a grace period of a month to get our finances in order and that month is now over. I moved some things around and am now able to pay my rent, in full, for the foreseeable future. However, the other girlfriend has made no effort to find a job or figure out her finances and when rent day came around didn’t hand over any money. My boyfriend and I spoke to the roommate and told him, politely, that if I had to chip in so did she and if she didn’t we were not about to divide up the rent so that all of us were covering for her. He agreed to pay her share of the rent this month and I thought that would be the end of it. Only now, the roommate is giving my boyfriend and me the cold shoulder and generally being a weirdo. I don’t feel I know this person well enough to confront them, especially about money, and my boyfriend is opting to not let it bother him. I wish I could do the same, but I hate this kind of drama, especially regarding money, and would rather it just be resolved and then forgotten. I don’t feel like we did anything wrong and the whole thing is just making me all tense and anxious. — Put-out Roommate


If you don’t want to deal with drama, then worry about yourself and not this other girlfriend/roommate and her finances. If there are now five of you living in the apartment, and your share of the rent is 1/5 or whatever has been determined, then just make sure you pay your portion each month — nothing more and nothing less and let the roommate who covered for the girlfriend (from your letter it’s unclear if that person is her boyfriend or the other roommate who initially asked that you ladies start pitching in) worry about where the final fifth of the month’s rent is coming from. If he wants to keep covering for her, let him. It’s no skin off your nose, is it?

If, however, this particular roommate keeps acting like a “weirdo” or expects you and everyone else to cover for this chick who can’t bother getting a job, move out. Your name isn’t on the lease, is it? You said you only moved in “semi-permanently” anyway, so if the situation isn’t working for you, MOA. No one’s forcing you to stay there. If it’s too much drama, get your own place with your own lease and your own roommates (or none at all). If you don’t want to do that or if you want to wait until your boyfriend is able to move out with you, then suck it up, confront all the roommates together and state your case. If you know the people well enough to share a roof with them, you know them well enough to confront them about how the rent’s being divided and paid each month. It’s called being a grown-up. Paying to crash at a place on a “semi-permanent” basis is only the start of it. The next step is standing up for yourself and learning to communicate even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

79 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Jshizzle July 7, 2011, 8:03 am

    I agree, the rent should be divided into 5 parts, accounting for the extra utilities. The boyfriend of the one who isn’t paying should see the increase on his share of the rent, that way he can either happily pay or give her incentive to pay.

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl July 7, 2011, 8:34 am

      The way roommates and I used to do it in college was to split the rent according to the number of rooms but the utilities by the total number of people. That way you paid according to the amount of space you had and the amount of utilities you used.

      So in a 4 bedroom house that 6 people lived in, each room was responsible for 1/4 of the rent (and the four people who were sharing only owed 1/8 each), plus each person added on 1/6 of the utilities. It was easier when the utilities and rent were billed separately, but even still, 6 adults with a calculator were usually able to sort things out.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 July 7, 2011, 10:02 am

        I’m sure that there’s a ‘How many Wharton grads does it take to change a lightbulb?’ joke wedged in there somewhere…

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      • avatar

        Quakergirl July 7, 2011, 10:13 am

        Two– one to spend too much money on the lightbulb, and another to tell him condescendingly that he’d have a better ROI if he used a different wattage. Then you’ll of course need a SEAS grad to actually change the lightbulb, and a nursing grad to patch them up after the College grad suggests they rewire the system for better energy efficiency to save the whales and stuff.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 July 7, 2011, 10:32 am

        How many Harvard grads does it take to change a lightbulb?

        One. He just holds it in place and the world revolves around him.

        How many Princeton grads does it take to change a lightbulb?

        Two. One to mix the martinis and one to call the electrician.

        How many Tufts grads does it take to change a lightbulb?

        Three. One to change it and two to loudly proclaim that he did it JUST AS WELL AS ANY HARVARD GRAD WOULD HAVE!!!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy July 7, 2011, 10:41 am

        How many state school grads does it take to change a lightbulb?

        None. Sex and drugs are better in the dark.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 July 7, 2011, 10:53 am

        Wow, thanks for swiping my Brown joke.

        Others:

        How many Columbia grads does it take to change a lightbulb?

        76. One to change the lightbulb, 50 to hold a protest rally in favor of Socket’s Rights, and 25 to hold a counter protest.

        How many Yale students it take to change a lightbulb?

        None. New Haven doesn’t have electricity.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy July 7, 2011, 10:59 am

        I will have to share these with some of my friends and in-laws…

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 July 7, 2011, 11:09 am

        I would post my Cornell one, but you would probably have to delete it as inappropriate content.

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      • avatar

        SGMcG July 7, 2011, 11:55 am

        Oh, NOW I want to hear the Cornell one.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph July 7, 2011, 11:59 am

        Seconded. Do tell!

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      • EscapeHatches

        EscapeHatch July 7, 2011, 2:24 pm

        Yes, one of my very good friends graduated from Cornell…

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      • MaterialsGirl

        Elizabeth July 7, 2011, 2:45 pm

        Post it! i have cornell friends too! and if you have any engineering-school ones.. 🙂

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      • avatar

        Elle July 7, 2011, 8:28 pm

        Spaceboy, you’re such a tease!

        I’m a little late to the party, but here it goes:

        How many economists does it take to change a lightbulb?

        None, the invisible hand of the market will take care of it.

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      • avatar

        Rachelgrace53 July 8, 2011, 1:15 am

        HAHAHA. The Yale one was priceless!!

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka July 7, 2011, 8:32 am

    This is totally an MOA, except in this case its MOVE OUT ALREADY!

    This situation is as hot of a mess as I’ve ever heard. You aren’t on the lease/the landlord, so you aren’t going to make the BF or the wierdo-gf do anything. As long as the rent continues to be 1/5 per person, then continue paying your portion. But, if the rent suddenly is “raised,” MOA!

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray July 7, 2011, 9:13 am

      I’m not sure I’d call this a “hot mess.” It sounds like a bunch of young adults (students maybe?) living together and learning to share rent/bills. Nothing too dramatic about it. The only thing weird is that the other girlfriend is being a “weirdo,” but what does that even mean? It doesn’t sound like by “weirdo” the LW means anything bad. It sounds more like this other girlfriend is simply not as social (or not at all) as before; she probably got offended when they called her out on not paying. Zzzzzz. Really, not a very hot mess. Certainly not an interesting mess. LW, who cares. Pay your share and just ignore that other girlfriend right back. There, solved. I should be a therapist.

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    • avatar

      Jess July 7, 2011, 9:41 am

      i don’t think the situation is that bad, certainly not the worst roommate story i’ve ever heard

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    • avatar

      BoomChakaLaka July 7, 2011, 10:35 am

      Certainly not the worst roommate story and didn’t know there were etiquette rules to using the phrase “hot mess…”

      Anyway, I do think that Moving Out is definitely a possibility. The “drama” seems unnecessary and she can certainly solve it by moving away from it.

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      • EscapeHatches

        EscapeHatch July 7, 2011, 2:25 pm

        For a little perspective on terrible roommates…
        http://www.myveryworstroommate.com

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      • avatar

        BoomChakaLaka July 8, 2011, 8:58 am

        Ooh EscapeHatch, I love community blogs like these. I wanted to kick the habit because I have about 17 million on my to-read list every morning, but now, I’m drawing back in.

        Enabler.

        Oh my fave is

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't July 7, 2011, 8:36 am

    Um, how many bathrooms does this apartment have? If I was a roommate in this living situation I’d be mighty pissed that two girls not on the lease were taking over the house and using the bathroom all the time. Particularly if they were inconsiderate of our schedules and/or not contributing to rent. or utilities! A 3-bedroom (?) apt is WAYYY too tight for five people. Honestly, this living situation sounds like way more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s not the LW’s problem if this girl isn’t paying rent if someone’s willing to cover for her. Is she at least contributing in other ways- cleaning, cooking meals or grocery shopping?

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    • avatar

      MissDre July 7, 2011, 9:53 am

      I think she said it’s a house. But I still wouldn’t want to live with that many people. Ugh.

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    • avatar

      spaceboy761 July 7, 2011, 10:06 am

      I’m surprised that the lone liveinSOless roommate is OK with this unless he/she really digs the rent reduction. Expanding from 3 to 5 cohabs is a colossal differences.

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't July 7, 2011, 11:09 am

        Oh god, I know. I feel bad for the poor guy. That’s why if you insist on living with your SO, you should live in a place of your own!

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    • avatar

      Bethany July 7, 2011, 10:57 am

      My first year off campus in college I shared a 3br/1ba house with 6 girls. Awesome.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 July 7, 2011, 11:01 am

        I never quite appreciated by college’s on-campus-only living policy until I left.

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      • avatar

        Bethany July 7, 2011, 11:59 am

        I also spent my entire freshman year in a triple, but it wasn’t in one of the bigger “triple” rooms. It was a standard dorm room for 2 people…

        I think I’m finally understanding why living alone was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done!

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      • avatar

        MissDre July 7, 2011, 11:18 am

        I knew 4 girls who shared a one bedroom apartment. 2 in one bedroom, and 2 in the living room with a sheet hung down the center.

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      • avatar

        kali July 7, 2011, 1:09 pm

        Sounds like the family who used to live above us. The adult kids worked graveyards, the parents worked days and there was ALWAYS someone walking, showering, cooking (they butchered meat with a massive cleaver up there!), and generally making a lot of noise. Hell, I could hear their bad singing and often conversations. Four grown adults in 800 square feet? Insanity!!

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    • avatar

      Britannia July 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

      Bathrooms definitely matter in such a situation, but considering that this residence is a house, 5 people in 3 bedrooms is not that bad… it just means that two people (both couples) are sharing one room per couple, and the singleton has his own room. Not a big deal.

      Maybe I’m just preconditioned to tolerate living with a lot of people, though – sharing a dorm hall three bunks’ widths wide with 14 sets of bunks shoved against either side of the wall, with no extra room but that width between the bunks, with almost 30 other girls and 6 toilets, for my entire high school career, really skewed my ability to tolerate tight living conditions.

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      • avatar

        EB July 7, 2011, 8:09 pm

        whoa… that is intense. where did you go to to high school? juvie? a hostel in south america?

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  • avatar

    Mainer July 7, 2011, 9:06 am

    “I don’t feel I know this person well enough to confront them, especially about money, and my boyfriend is opting to not let it bother him.”

    Do the same. You don’t know this person, so you don’t owe her anything, especially helping her out financially. Pay your share and forget about it. If she wants to give you dirty looks and the cold shoulder then that’s her problem. You’re not friends with her, why would you care? And what are they going to do if you refuse to cover her portion next month? Kick you out? I would hope your boyfriend would be able to stand up for you and get them to realize she should be the one kicked out if she can’t float the cash to live there. In the meantime, make this semi-permanent living situation as semi as you can.

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  • avatar

    Greebo July 7, 2011, 9:25 am

    Frankly, I feel a bit sorry for the guy who planned to move in with 2 buddies and ended up with 2 buddies + 2 girlfriends + drama. But that’s irrelevant.

    For what it’s worth, there’s a general assumption that the coolness arises from the monetary dispute. It may not. Maybe something else happened. Without asking (I don’t like the word ‘confrontation’ because it sounds argumentative and defensive), you’ll never know. Maybe the LW has been a little, um, tiresome on this subject? Heck, with 5 people in an apartment (how big is this place?) maybe it’s about cleanliness or bathroom time.

    I completely agree that it’s no one’s business but the couples who pays what portion of ‘their’ rent.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG July 7, 2011, 9:30 am

    I’m reading this letter and I wonder if there is more to the drama that the LW fails to mention. I do not question that her boyfriend had a right to address the proper division of the funds with the roommate in question – yet did the LW have to join in the polite conversation as well? When the deadline approached and the LW was there with the money at hand as promised, and then they BOTH approached the roommate about his girlfriend’s share, then she and her boyfriend might as well be trumpeting, “You see? THIS is how a relationship works. She made a committment and kept it – she’s an AWESOME girlfriend.”

    I don’t think you intentionally meant to rub it in the roommate’s face, yet perhaps that is what he feels. There may have been other drama between the roommate and his girlfriend that you are unaware of, and for the both of you to approach him about the money may have felt like you were confronting him about his girlfriend. So it’s a little understandable that he may be weirdo in this situation now.

    LW, you have to treat this situation like your boyfriend does – don’t let it bother you. As long as you’re paying your fair share of the rent and are not asked to fork over any more extra money (unless rightfully documented, like an increase in the utility bill), does it matter where the other funds come from? In the future, if there are cost issues regarding the rent that need to be discussed, let those whose names are on the lease handle it. Until your name is on the lease, discuss your concerns about the rent with your boyfriend only. Otherwise the roommate may think your questioning about his girlfriend not paying her share of the rent is a critique of his relationship, not a general concern of your personal finances.

    EDIT: I’m re-reading this advice I wrote and I’m thinking UGH – that can potentially come off a bit antiquated. I don’t meant to suggest at all that you should let the boys handle the money/apartment. You can still make your concerns regarding the living situation known to all tenants as it applies. Yet when it comes to the exact division of the rent, just fork over your share and make sure that everyone else has theirs when ready. Who cares if the roommate’s share is all him or between him and his girlfriend. Don’t feed the drama machine with nitpicky details like the source of the money – just make sure that all of it is there on time for the landlord.

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  • avatar

    El July 7, 2011, 9:34 am

    Wow. This letter could have been written by my fiance and I when we first started dating 5 years ago.

    LW: if your situation is anything like ours was, things will only get worse from here. Rent splitting drama will turn into utility splitting drama, and eventually morphs into “everything about living with you sucks” drama. Our only solution was moving out. We gave them a month to find a subletter, yanked the utilities (which were in my fiance’s name), and bailed on them. I suggest you start looking for a place on your own, LW. It was the best decision we ever made!

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    • avatar

      Laurel July 7, 2011, 10:57 am

      My boyfriend and I did this too, but I don’t feel bad about it because his former roommates weren’t paying their share of utilities (which were in my bf’s name), and he paid for the subletter’s first month. God it was a mess.

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      • avatar

        El July 7, 2011, 11:14 am

        That’s exactly what happened to us. They were great roommates at first, but they took advantage of us to the point where we literally could no longer afford living there. Every month was a new excuse for not paying. Our landlord ended up evicting the lot of them a couple months after we left.

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      • avatar

        Laurel July 7, 2011, 12:48 pm

        There was so much drama with the whole arrangement, I thank God that the landlord let my boyfriend out of the lease, so that he isn’t stuck with it when they’re constantly paying rent late (oh, you mean paying during the “grace period” is still late? who knew?) and utilities late (which were in my bf’s name, which hurts your credit score).

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl July 7, 2011, 9:46 am

    Oh for pete’s sake. Who cares? You paid your share, somebody picked up her share, and no one is getting kicked out. If this other girl wants to act like a child about paying her rent, let her. It’s no skin off your nose. I predict she won’t be there for long, anyway. I really think you should stay out of this as much as you can and leave it to the people whose names are actually on the lease to sort out.

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  • avatar

    Jena July 7, 2011, 10:32 am

    split the rent 5 ways, stop caring who pays her fifth, and move on with your day.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant July 7, 2011, 10:33 am

    Yikes. This reminds me of the very first time I had roommates, and one of then moved his girlfriend (and all of her stuff and her mangy pet rat) in without asking the other two of us. When I asked that she pay rent, he flipped out and said that she was his guest and didn’t have to, to which I then very maturely screamed that if he wasn’t home she had better well be in his room and no where else in the apartment because I hadn’t invited her. We spent the rest of the summer avoiding each other; it was a small apartment so everyone was miserable.

    In retrospect, the smart thing to do would have been to call the landlords and let them know what was up, but I was only 19 and it didn’t even occur to me.

    So, I guess that’s my advice. If the place is being rented and there are people not paying, the landlord should probably know about it. You should probably get yourself on the lease too, if you plan to be there any substantial amount of time, that will give you an equal footing with everyone else.

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    • avatar

      Renee July 7, 2011, 12:05 pm

      I spent two years on campus, then two years off…. back with my parents. As an adult my parents weren’t bad as roommates. I really couldn’t entertain guests , but they already knew my bad habits and I knew theirs. I was out of the house by 23.

      Even friends who are now older, tried doing roommates only to return home burnt by the roommate experience. Years later they either purchase a condo or later move in a permanent situation with their fiance/husband.

      Yes, we all desire freedom. Unless it’s to be at a school, living with your parents isn’t bad if you clearly have a goal of saving for your own place independently.

      For LW, be grateful it’s only semi-permanent and in the mean time use your energy figure out some long term plans for a place to call home. If it means moving in with a family member, don’t be ashamed.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 7, 2011, 1:49 pm

        I could probably live very easily with my mom now. We are very similar, and heck, she’s pretty fun to hang out with. Problem is, she lives on an island community with nada in the way of employment or social opportunities. Plus, I’ve built a life where I am now, so moving thousands of miles away to save money would be pretty heartwrenching.

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  • avatar

    Yozi July 7, 2011, 10:51 am

    All I could think when reading this is I’m so glad I don’t have roommates anymore! So many negotiations. Except now I have a friend living with me and my boyfriend sort of indefintely. We said he could stay with us until he finds a job/place to live. I’ll probably be writing in with a question about how to deal with a permanent houseguest soon.

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  • avatar

    Laurel July 7, 2011, 10:55 am

    Okay, I have a lot of experience in this issue. Personally, I think it’s unfair to pay an equal share of rent when you aren’t equal on the lease. Do you have your own key? Can you invite people over? Can you add stuff (furniture, art, whatever) to common spaces? Or are you and your boyfriend spending all your time in his room and using the kitchen/bathroom? Depending on your answers to that, I think it’s more fair to split your boyfriend’s rent portion between the two of you and then pay (your) 1/5 of the utilities.

    There are lots of reasons why the roommate is being weird. A house of 3 has turned into a house of 5. Did both of the guys bringing girlfriends into the house really get approval for this? That can cause a lot of resentment. Are you hogging common spaces? Monopolizing the tv/kitchen/bathroom? Having obnoxious loud sex? Being willing to pay is admirable but people still get really worked up about those other things.

    I think you need to have a house meeting and hash this stuff out. How much is fair for everybody to contribute financially (to rent and to utilities)? If you’re expected to contribute an equal amount, make sure you’re getting equal benefits. Now that there are more of you living there, you need to reassess groundrules about common areas and courtesy. Honestly though, I’d recommend you get your boyfriend to talk about this stuff with his (original) two roommates before you and the other girlfriend get involved.

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    • avatar

      Kate July 7, 2011, 11:03 am

      I got the impression that the weird roommate is the one who has the other girlfriend.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 7, 2011, 11:30 am

        I think your right. When I read the letter first, I thought LW was talking about the other girlfriend.

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didn't July 7, 2011, 11:17 am

      I lived with a roommate (5 of us in a 5bdr, 1 bath house) who’s boyfriend stayed with us 6 nights a week. I was indifferent about the rent, but he took the longest-ass showers EVER, hogged our single bathroom every morning and made me and another roommate late for class on an almost daily basis. So yeah, I didn’t so much care about him contributing to the rent but it was infuriating that he wouldn’t contribute to the utility bills.

      Also irritating: when the couple monopolizes the kitchen/living room and you feel weird staying in the same room as them because they’re groping each other non-stop.

      Moral of the story: this situation is mega awkward and if you insist on living with an SO, you should get your own place.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 7, 2011, 12:27 pm

        My bf is currently in a similar situation. His roommate’s gf is over ALL the time, literally takes the living room over, makes a huge mess in the kitchen and just leaves it, and requests people are quiet when she is tired (trying to sleep on the couch). There is also a 3rd roommate who can’t stand it either. I felt bad for them at first, but since neither of them will speak up, I don’t feel all that bad!

        When I go over there, you can cut the tension with a knife…and makes me SO happy I live alone.

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    • avatar

      AnitaBath July 7, 2011, 11:58 am

      I agree it’s typically unfair to split it if someone isn’t contributing to decorations and stuff, but then you also have to take into account that the people who are coming later didn’t have to bother buying any of the furnishings. And in this instance, I don’t think the 1/5 thing is really that unfair, especially considering the other roommate now has four roommates when he bargained for two.

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      • avatar

        Laurel July 7, 2011, 12:43 pm

        Good point. Especially since rent on a 3 BR divided between 5 people probably isn’t that high. I just remember the nightmare with my bf and his ex-roommates, insisting that I pay 1/4 of the rent and utilities when I stayed in his room and showered at home.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 July 7, 2011, 11:05 am

    I’m trying to figure out why the LW and her BF said anything in the first place. If there was an agreement to split the rent 5 ways, and you paid your part why do you care where the rest of the rent came from as long as it was getting paid? Did the other roommate and his girlfriend ask you to pay more, because she couldn’t pay? It just doesn’t make sense to me. If rent day came around and she didn’t hand over any money that isn’t your problem to pay the difference it is her BF’s, and if they can’t do it then I guess they would be the ones to move out. I feel like there is more to this story that is left out that would help explain why they even had to have a talk with them about it.

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    • avatar

      Jess July 7, 2011, 11:40 am

      I think the fear is that the rest of the rent WOULDN’T have been paid. A friend of mine lived with a girl who conviently never was around when it was time to send the checks in, so somebody else would have to cover it, then hound her until she finally paid them back a few weeks later. If none of the other roommates could cover it, you have to worry about late-fees and pissing off the landlord. Someone definitely needed to talk to whoever hadn’t paid, and if they weren’t comfortable confronting the girl, the boyfriend who brought her in is the next logical step. You can’t assume everyone will be responsible.

      Side note: I hate when people think that splitting the rent by bedroom is totally fair. It completely negates that however many extra people are taking up fridge space, using the kitchen/living room/all common areas. So kudos to the LW for being of understanding that and contributing finanically.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 7, 2011, 11:48 am

        Agreed on the side note! Usually, most people just sleep in their bedrooms but live just as heavily as everyone else in the common spaces, they use the utilities just as much. Their presence is felt just as much as the person who is officially on the lease, they should pay the same amount

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      • avatar

        Fairhaired Child July 7, 2011, 12:44 pm

        I don’t know I’m on the “pay rent by the room but utilities by the person” bandwagon. Then the rent drama falls on the two who share the room to figure out how much each contributes to at the month (which can depend on finances, other bills they pay more towards etc).

        Such as if I was in a situation where I had the bigger room in an house – I’d probably pay more for the bigger space per month towards the rent. What if the rooms that have two people are the smallest in the house? I had a b/f who I didn’t live with, but was over frequently with, who had the BIGGEST ROOM in the house, and one roommate shared the SMALLEST room with his live in g/f and that room was the size of a nursery pretty much (it was the nursery in a past room life- there was a door that could go between the biggest room and smallest room). I don’t think it would have been fair to tell them in that situation “lets split the rent equally by people” however I DO agree that the Utilities and other bills should be slit equally by people.

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      • avatar

        Slamy July 7, 2011, 1:19 pm

        I have the smallest room in my house… I pay the least ($225). My other roommates pay different amounts ($250 and , split according to room size. The biggest room has a walk-in closet, while the smallest room (mine) doesn’t have a closet (or a locking door).

        It works out. I’d be a little put off if my 2 roommates paid the same amount in rent as me, considering the amenities they have in their rooms that i do not have in mine. We also split bills/utilities completely evenly, which I also believe is fair.

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      • avatar

        Slamy July 7, 2011, 1:19 pm

        I butchered my comment grammatically. I don’t think it will let me delete. Oh well!

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      • avatar

        Jess July 7, 2011, 1:38 pm

        I lived in a house where we did the same thing. My room was basically half the size of the master, but I still paid only about $75 less than that roommate with the other girls falling on a scale in between (it was like $525 to $600. Man, I miss New Orleans rents.). Common space does still count for a lot. I think in an ideal world the guy with his own room should pay more than the other four roommates, but each couple combined (each room) should be more than his, if that makes sense. Example: if rent was $1400 total, instead of splitting it 5 ways, it’d be him paying $400 and they each pay $250. Still cheaper for those splitting a room, but more fair.

        Ah, the joys of living with roommates and the math that inevitably comes with it. They should have sat down and had this conversation when the “semi-permanent” move first happened. And the two girls should have been contributing to utilities the entire time.

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      • avatar

        Kare July 8, 2011, 2:48 am

        I lived in a house and shared a tiny room with my boyfriend. My roommate had a room that was an addition and was the size of our living room and dining room combined. We both paid the same amount in rent, but I got charged extra for utilities since my boyfriend was there. (Which I understand.) Her boyfriend lived there too but she paid extra. Somehow I get the feeling I was ripped off.

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    Kate July 7, 2011, 11:06 am

    You should be on the lease, technically. I don’t know your state’s laws, but in 4 states I’ve lived in, you have to be on the lease to reside there.

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      Fairhaired Child July 7, 2011, 12:37 pm

      Even if it isn’t as a lease holder, then be on it as an ‘occupant” of the said shared space. My boyfriend isn’t a lease holder with me, he’s an occupant – which means there are different ways of dealing with it if one or both of us decided to move out (together or after a break up). If he’s an occupant I can’t really legally demand rent as being half (even if that is what we are doing currently) but if we break up, I also don’t have to give him as much notice to move out etc, as if he was on the lease as a lease holder. He can still make calls about “this door broke” etc for the apartment if need be.

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        Kate July 7, 2011, 12:40 pm

        Interesting. None of my landlords have ever allowed that. In fact, every lease I’ve ever signed is clear about all people living there must be on the lease.

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        Fairhaired Child July 7, 2011, 12:47 pm

        You should inquire! I was totally going to let him be a lease holder, but when we got to the leasing office they asked me “so do you want him to be a lease holder or an occupant” and I got them to explain the differences to me. I never had been in a situation where someone could be an “occupant” either. But i guess it makes sense for renting places where someone may be a relative or underage but still noted as living in that place (ie. having a 15 year old daughter or younger sister on the lease).

        Where I live its a lot of small families as well as college students. So maybe that’s why its an option? They want to know how many people EXACTLY are living in a place, but obviously a 8 year old child isn’t going to give his/her drivers license and last pay check to the leasing office to show that they can afford the rent lol.

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        Kate July 7, 2011, 12:59 pm

        I live in a big college town, and I actually have asked. If they are an adult, they are on the lease. It hasn’t ever made a difference to me, actually.

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      Greebo July 7, 2011, 1:17 pm

      That’s an interesting point. I’m actually a landlord, and my lease specifies no one who is not listed can occupy the dwelling, or stay more than 2 consecutive nights. Where I live, if a tenant’s guest moves in and stays longer, the guest becomes a de facto tenant. I have to start a formal eviction process to get rid of him, but I’m stuck with all the legal liabilities a landlord has. The LW’s landlord would be justified in being upset about this. Also, some places have occupancy limits on rental dwellings.

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        Kate July 7, 2011, 1:42 pm

        That’s exactly what my lease says.

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      Rachel July 7, 2011, 4:47 pm

      I’m guessing they’re in college. Not that that would make it okay legally- but when I was in college it was pretty standard to have roommates that the landlord didn’t know about. My senior year, I lived in a 3 bedroom house that 6 of us shared, but only 3 of us were on the lease.

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        Fairhaired Child July 8, 2011, 4:37 am

        In my old college town they were trying to get it changed it so that only three people who weren’t related to each other could live together in certain sections of the city. (It was a way for them to stop college students/greek life etc from taking over the houses for rent in the nicer neighborhoods). Something silly like that, but I totally understood where they were coming from because a lot of neighborhoods that had college students infiltrating in were getting messed up (gardens full of trash, puke on the side walk etc).

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  • Budj

    Budjer July 7, 2011, 11:15 am

    My brother’s girl friend when she was pseudo-living with us contributed by buying groceries to cook dinner a couple to a few nights a week and partaking in cleaning. We appreciated it and now she is permanently with us and contributing fully.

    You need to have a house meeting to discuss this…communication is key. If the other gf isn’t a full time resident she shouldn’t be paying 1/5 the rent, but perhaps other options of “pitching” in would help make it a less resentful situation.

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    LTC039 July 7, 2011, 10:30 am

    I agree with Wendy. It’s a sucky situation but whenever you get multiple people living under the same roof, there’s always drama. Haven’t you seen the Real World? Haha, no but seriously…
    Either move out, or suck it up. If all the other roommates are in agreement with you, then maybe something can get accomplished. I know how irritating it must be to coexist with someone who is so blatantly inconsiderate (I’m dealing with that at work). Unfortunately, NOTHING is being done, so what am I doing? Sucking it up but actively looking for another job. (I believe my city, as of now, has the highest unemployment rate in the country) So it hasn’t been easy, but I have an interview today!
    The reason I shared that is bc you can apply the same tools to your situation. If it can’t be solved while you’re there, MOA.

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      honeybeenicki July 7, 2011, 10:53 am

      Good luck on your interview! My city has a fairly low unemployment rate compared to most places, but we have an overabundance of well-educated people, so finding a good job (with a livable wage) is nearly impossible. I’m lucky because I do have a job, but the pay sucks and its not even close to what I want to do. I keep looking though.

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        LTC039 July 7, 2011, 10:59 am

        Thank you! I appreciate it. It really sucks, if unempolyement rates weren’t an issue here, I would’ve left a LONG time ago! Not only does this lazy employee get away with EVERYTHING (including threatening to beat me up in the parking lot), my boss is constantly nagging me, yelling at me in front of everyone, she threw a file at me, tells me I’m inadequate, etc…
        I HATE being taken for a doormat, but unfortunately, it something I need to suck up.
        & my friends are in your same situation. They’ve all already graduated & only 1 or 2 of them are doing a job related to their career…

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      • katie

        katie July 7, 2011, 8:53 pm

        thats called workplace bullying. i heard a guy on the radio talk about it, he wrote a book about it. you should look into going above your bosses head, and using workplace bullying language to get the situation fixed, if you can.. usually that can only be resolved in large corporate companies, apparently. thats what they guy said.

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        LTC039 July 7, 2011, 11:00 am

        Good luck with your job hunting!

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        plasticepoxy July 7, 2011, 12:09 pm

        LTC039: there are rules about how a supervisor can treat a report, activities or behaviors that create a hostile working environment where you don’t feel safe (like having your boss throw things at you and a coworker who threatens you physically without the supervisors interceding) are probably illegal. I’m not a lawyer, in law school and I don’t know any lawyers, but I did have a pretty shitty job and learned after-the-fact that there were things I could have done to look out for myself.

        In my state, if you can prove you left the job because of a hostile environment (or unsafe) your employer is required (at the least) to pay your unemployment. I’m not advocating quitting and filing for unemployment benefits, but often employees have resources they often aren’t aware of.

        I strongly suggest you place a call to your local Department of Labor and consider talking with an employment lawyer (not to sue or anything, but to be informed of your rights in your state and perhaps legal ways to document). The worst thing that can happen is you find out that what’s happening is legal and you have to put up with it (back to where you are now) and you’ve wasted some time.

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        LTC039 July 7, 2011, 8:32 pm

        Well I spoke with my HR dept. & they basically brushed me off saying “maybe she’s just having problems at home” & “you should just talked to her”… But that’s a good idea! I had never thought of that bc the state of Florida is an “at will” state so basically there aren’t many protection laws for employees. But you’re right, I will do that. Thanks for your advice! I really appreciate it!! 🙂

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      kali July 7, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Good luck!!

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  • landygirl

    Landygirl July 7, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I know this sounds really mean but the LW is sticking her nose into business that isn’t hers. She isn’t even on the lease yet acts like she owns the house and pays all the bills. If you want to be in control, get your own apartment.

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