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How do I tell my roommate I want her to move out?

kristin5792kristin5792 Registered User Posts: 2,068 Senior Member
edited February 2010 in Parent Cafe
Hey parents,

Thanks for all the advice re: The-Roommate-With-The-Freeloader-Boyfriend. Freeloader boyfriend's no longer a problem. He moved out (eventually!) and is now going to classes at the university and living in the dorms. All in all, he's doing great.

Roommate (Sarah) is the problem now. She's a huge slob and basically, a bum. She doesn't go to class or do anything besides sit in her room (so she's not really bothering us) except when she comes out to smoke in her bathroom (which stinks up our house) and make a mess in our kitchen. We've addressed the smoking and messy stuff multiple times to no avail.

Sarah's depressed and going through some family issues right now so she's taking most of the semester off and living at home with her parents to they can figure everything out. She's still paying rent at our place though so we don't have to deal with a subleaser or anything like that. She thinks she'll have everything figured out with her family by April so she can move back then. I'm skeptical.

We decided to renew our lease and Sarah would like to live with us again. The problem is...we don't want to live with her. In addition to the smoking and messy and generally mentally unstable side, she's just...annoying. I never really wanted to live with her in the first place (we have completely different and often clashing views and morals and goals etc) and don't want to live with her next year at all.

How do I tell her that we want her to move out? I'm not concerned with preserving our friendship; we're not really friends, we're just roommates. However, if she comes back in April (which I really do doubt), then I'll be stuck living with this person (who presumably will be mad at me for telling her she can't live with us) until this year's lease is up at the end of July.

Part of me says "Who cares about her feelings, tell her how it is, and just deal with it if she's a pain from April-July." The other part of me says "Be as nice as possible so that she's not bitter for the summer." A very small part of me says "Keep your mouth shut and just deal with it--she's been through a lot and the last thing she needs is to add to her stress/depression level by having to find a new living situation."

What should I do!?

Thanks a million!
Post edited by kristin5792 on

Replies to: How do I tell my roommate I want her to move out?

  • mominvamominva Registered User Posts: 2,781 Senior Member
    Tough one, Kristin.

    Do you or the other roommate(s) have another friend who would take that room? Maybe someone Sarah knows you are close with?

    Could you tell her that it is lease signing time, and xxx would like to live with you and roommate(s), and you feel it is the prudent thing to include her (xxx) since she (Sarah) has not yet worked things out to return.

    Express empathy that this is not what she might have wanted, and that you know this might cause extra stress, but emphasize that the group would rather have xxx than a stranger in the event she (Sarah)cannot return and xxx has found other arrangements.
  • geezermomgeezermom Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Long ago, in my pre-geezer days, I was on both ends of this experience at different times. I would tell her that the living situation just has not worked out as you had hoped it would, and that you and your other roommate plan to ask XXX to live with you. She might be hurt, but she'll recover, and at least you'll have been honest and gentle. In my past negative experience (with one roommate in a dorm room), my RM waited until the very last possible minute to tell me she wanted to live with someone else, when she had known all along and had been afraid to tell me because she knew I would be upset. I was far more upset by the timing than by the decision itself, because I was left in a tough spot. You don't want to do that.
  • thecheckbookthecheckbook Registered User Posts: 406 Member
    You"re allergic to cigarette smoke. It makes you sick. No one should have to inhale secondhand smoke.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 3,863 Senior Member
    DD had almost the same thing. An opening in their apartment and one of her freshman year suite-mates wanted to move in with them. Same issues, messy, annoying, late nights, parties. A friend they like to hang around with but not live with. In the end honesty was the best policy. A direct, we like you but it did not work when we lived together before and not risking it again. Hurt feelings for a little while but then she found other roommates and all is well now.

    It is hard, but a plain "it's just not working out and we have XXX instead" is eventually the best. No other excuses, justifications, arguments, just repeat, first phrase. But be fair and give her enough notice to be able to find something else. Don't drag it out.

    cross-posted with geezermom :)
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,365 Senior Member
    Whatever you do, do not let her sign another lease with you. Agree that the sooner the better for telling her so she can make her plans.
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,579 Senior Member
    So many "fond" memories. I have been on both sides too---nearly broke BF moving in and freeloading off the female roommate, longterm couch surfer after subletting my room, enduring slobby roommate who smoked, never left and ate my food. Good times. Really it's not as bad as it seems right now and makes good stories later. Just don't let it go too long. Or maybe we were just more hangloose in the early 70's.
  • kristin5792kristin5792 Registered User Posts: 2,068 Senior Member
    Haha, thanks for all the advice.

    I was planning to go the "it just hasn't worked out how we hoped, we're going to ask Abby to move in with us instead" route and wanted to make sure that was the most diplomatic way to go.

    Seems like that's the only way to do it. Not like there's really a way to not hurt her feelings a little bit. But honestly, I'll choose hurting her feelings for a little while if it means I'll have a year (my last year of undergrad!) of living with who I want to live with EVERY SINGLE TIME. At least it's okay to be selfish in the roommate/living situation arena.

    So, let's say we talk to Sarah about it and say something along the lines of "it just hasn't worked out" and she falls apart and promises to stop smoking in the house and keep up her end of the cleaning etc. I don't want to live with her even if she does stop doing all that stuff. How can I hold my ground in that instance?
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,447 Senior Member
    One thought on timing, if they are paying now and hope she comes back in April, if you tell her soon, she may just stop paying; legally she would owe, but collecting is difficult. Not that this should change your timing, tell her in time for her to find a new situation, but be prepared to adapt should she stop paying rent.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 3,863 Senior Member
    Don't go into excuses, don't go into reasons, don't let the argument go. Just keep saying the same thing over and over. I'm sorry it did not work out but we have asked Abby to move in with us. It's hard, but arguments are not the answer and if you do not engage it will stop. .
  • mousegraymousegray Registered User Posts: 1,642 Senior Member
    Here's the hard part that you're just going to have to deal with: You are doing something that is best for you, but not good for Sarah. So be it. Be gentle but clear that you have made up your mind. Otherwise, she might "fall apart" and make all kinds of promises. like you say. You are going to feel like the bad guy, but sometimes you just have to be one for the long term happiness of all concerned (or at least you and your remaining roomies).
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,520 Senior Member
    You should also mention that in fairness to her, you are letting her know now, so she can figure out her arrangements for future housing with as many options as possible. It may sting a bit but surely is MUCH betterthan being stuck at the last minute without a place to live & folks to live with (which happened to S the other year & made him do some fast scrambling).
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,532 Senior Member
    Before you do anything, check your lease or talk to your landlord.

    The rest of you may not have the legal right to kick Sarah out if her name is on the lease. She may have the right to renew the lease if she wants to. The option of adding Abby to the lease may not even exist if Sarah refuses to leave.
  • geezermomgeezermom Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    This is such good practice for life. Making decisions that are in your own best interest is not automatically selfish. You're setting boundaries and deciding what's acceptable to you and what's not. It's tricky, for sure, but you'll face similar situations in the future. These are adult decisions.
  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 28,534 Super Moderator
    I don't want to live with her even if she does stop doing all that stuff. How can I hold my ground in that instance?
    Repeat after me: "I'm sorry, Sarah, but it just didn't work out." "It's not a good idea for us to continue living together."

    Repeat as often as necessary.

    If you wish, you can offer to help her look for another place, help her move, whatever makes you comfortable and gets her out of your apartment.
  • kristin5792kristin5792 Registered User Posts: 2,068 Senior Member
    You guys are quite motivational and are helping SO MUCH. I really appreciate it!

    Checked with landlord--no legal problems in Sarah moving out and Abby moving in.

    Next topic: how do I actually go about telling her? She's in a different city for counseling right now. She won't be back to school until she moves in except for perhaps a long weekend next weekend with Freeloader Boyfriend for Valentine's Day. She strangely refuses to talk on the phone.

    So do I drop this likely upsetting bomb on her in a week and a half when she's here for a romantic weekend with the boyfriend, or do I go the somewhat scuzzy route of e-mail or facebook? I'd prefer talking to her and definitely am NOT hiding behind technology, but I also don't want to wreck her weekend with Freeloader.

    Then again, maybe I'm totally overreacting, she won't really mind, and will happily move out per our suggestion. I really just have no idea. She's so unpredictable!
This discussion has been closed.