Author Topic: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]  (Read 3565 times)

Sandia

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WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« on: September 05, 2017, 08:03:22 PM »
Hello mustachians,

Longtime lurker here, driven out of my nice, shy hidey-hole by frustration over how to handle a housemate. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!!

Let's call this problem housemate "21", which is her age*.

It's gotten to the point where my Partner and I are having 1-2 grumpy/angry conversations with each other about it every week, and I'm seriously considering either asking her to leave (something we've never done before to a housemate) or moving ourselves (something we'd hate doing). What would you do?

The house: 21, plus me, my Partner, and Great Housemate (all late 20s-early 30s), in Perth, Australia. We have a positive steal of a house in a neighborhood I think is the most convenient in the city (public transit, walk to library and shops, easy to cycle along the river bike trails to work). The house is spacious, has perfect areas for entertaining friends, fruit trees in the garden, and "sections" of the house so the housemates can have their own areas. It is hands-down the best place Partner and I have ever shared.

Partner and I have lived with 13+ housemates over the past seven years, and we thought we'd gotten good at living with idiosyncrasies. We've overall had such good housemate experiences and wanted to keep up the stashing rate, but I can see this situation is starting to cause us real strife.

The problems: 21 is inconsiderate of people and things, and a lot of annoyances are starting to add up to drive me and Partner crazy. In rough order of severity:

- She was late with fortnightly rent about 5-6 times in the first six months, and it took THREE serious conversations from me before she finally set up an auto transfer. She still is a bit hit-or-miss with paying bills without multiple reminders.

- She STOMPS through the house (super old wood floors) and SLAMS doors. Great Housemate (a big tall tradie dude!) sneaks across the same floors whisper quiet on his toes. 21 does this at all times of the day and night, and it honestly concerns us that she'll break something. She's reduced this slightly in the past few months, but it comes back full force when she comes home drunk late at night. She wakes us up stomping when she goes to work every single morning (she flies out the door in a rush).

- I am 99% certain she has never taken the kitchen trash or recycling out to the bins. Partner and I went away for a 4 days once, and it was the same trash when we returned (full before we left, overfull when we came back). She takes trash from her own room, puts it in the kitchen bin, and leaves it there. If the recycling bucket is full, she sets her (unwashed) recycling on the shelves next to it instead of taking anything out.

- She leaves dirty dishes next to the sink or on the stove frequently. Last week, she left a box of chicken on the sink for more than 24 hours until I asked her if it was hers; she said "yes" and I said "That's gross, 21" (in a disapproving mom voice...) and she silently/sullenly picked it up, dumped the gross chicken in the bin, threw the dirty box in the sink without washing it, and walked away.

- She has never - not a single time, my hand to god - cleaned a common area off her own bat in her nine months of living here. We resorted to chore assignments (Partner sends out an email asking each housemate -including me and Partner- to do a job that benefits the whole house, like clean the toilet or sweep the floors), but she usually doesn't do those until weeks later, after multiple email reminders. Great Housemate does his promptly with no fuss, and goes well over and above on fundamentally improving the house (I love living with a tradie!).

- She occasionally forgets to lock the front security door. She has never closed the bathroom or toilet windows before leaving (which someone could use to break into the house).

- She leaves makeup removing cotton pads on the bathroom vanity every morning (dirty, used ones).

- She borrows things without asking, namely my plastic food storage boxes, and she doesn't wash them properly afterwards (mmm greasy spag bol plastic...).

- She uses aerosol dry shampoo every morning, and the smell wafts through the house. Partner and I find this particular smell really, deeply unpleasant. Similarly, she's got aerosol "air freshener" in the toilet that is even more disgusting.

- She leaves wet clothes in the washing machine for days, or on the line for weeks.

- She never ever puts dry dishes away. Never ever! In previous houses, we realized the drying rack was a source of contention, so we have FIVE drying racks, so there's always plenty of space for dishes to dry. If I set aside her things on the counter, they are there for weeks, until I watch Great Housemate put them away himself.

- If she takes something from elsewhere in the house (e.g. clothes drying racks), when she's finished with them, she leaves it outside her room in the hallway and never puts it away again.

- She locks the front door (from the inside) instead of the security door, which no one has keys for. She is actually locking us out. She said she did it because she wanted to nap, but can't provide any coherent reasoning for why she didn't lock the security door instead.

- "Oh maybe she's just a really busy, intelligent person and that's why she does all this inconsiderate stuff" you might be generously thinking (you're a very kind-hearted mustache). Alas, she has no time to take out the bin because she is watching Netflix. Literally. CONSTANTLY. She carries her laptop from room to room. She carries her laptop into the toilet to keep watching.

- She chain smokes cigarettes on the front verandah. She and Great Housemate fill up the entire recycling wheelie bin with beer and gin bottles every single fortnight.

/end rant.


TLDR: Our house has become a dirtier, noisier, smellier place since our housemate "21" moved in. Partner, who is normally a very generous, relaxed person, has gotten more and more frustrated. They now say things like "21 is so horrible" under their breath and feel trapped by the situation. The resentment has resulted in Partner letting slip angry comments to 21 about minor offenses (e.g. never washing her hands after the toilet), when I think we have to save the behaviour-correcting conversations for the big items.


The financials: Partner and I leased this house, and when the lease lapsed last year, the landlord never got her shit together to give us a new one (she lives in Adelaide), so now I guess we're month to month. Our rent in this house is laughably low, partly because the landlord lowered our rent to keep us here, and partly because Partner and I unevenly distribute the rent amongst housemates. The distribution is based on room size like this:
me+partner = 1.1x
Great Housemate = 1.3x
21, the newest housemate = 1.6x


Our options:
Financially, we should stay so we can build our stash. Emotionally, we're getting worse instead of better, and we need to find a way to feel less trapped by this teenage monster.

1) Stay here, don't try to kick out 21, try to fix our own perceptions of the problems. We've been trying this for 9 months, but it feels like it's getting worse instead of better.

2) Start nagging her/preparing to ask her to move out. This option is the most confrontational, unpleasant emotionally, and doesn't necessarily mean we'd get a better housemate the next time around. It is severely complicated by the fact that 21 and Great Housemate appear to be sleeping together sometimes (but secretly, hiding it from us, and not apparently dating). He does a lot of chores for 21 as well, e.g. washing her dishes after she's left them in the sink for days. We would be sad if getting rid of 21 caused Great Housemate to leave.

3) Move out, either into our own little place together, or into a room in someone else's sharehouse. Rents in Perth are coming down and Partner has a recent raise, so it might be doable to maintain our stash rate, but it almost certainly won't be as good value for money as we have here. Plus, when I suggested this option to Partner, they were angry that we're considering leave *our* house because of her.

Mustaches, what would you do? Anything that helps us gain perspective so we can choose option 1 without losing our minds?



*Not a dig at all 21 year olds, I'm just bad at code names.

RWD

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2017, 08:22:13 PM »
Where's the option for no nagging/preparing, just kick out as soon as possible? There seem to be way to many things in the list to expect sufficient behavioral changes. Find a replacement roommate (or two, if necessary). If new roommate(s) aren't working out, rinse and repeat. You're adults and can choose who you live with.

SpreadsheetMan

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 12:17:57 AM »
You lease the place, you set the rules. Boot her out asap and get a more compatible housemate.

No need to agonise about it, just do it.

Sandia

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 12:34:02 AM »
RWD and SpreadsheetMan, I appreciate the face-punch honesty.

I have two qualms about the swift boot to her ass:

1) The items on my list seems a bit... small and petty. So I need a reality-check: are we being anal-retentive about things like the smell of hairspray, or is this worth the hassle of making someone move out?

Her moving out is a big pain in the ass for all involved, as we'd have to find a new housemate in a depressed rental market; it's possible we'd have to lower the rent for that room (thus increasing our own rent) to attract a good housemate.

2) The Great Housemate seems to be secretly, occasionally sleeping with the bad one. If we ask the bad housemate to leave, I want to do it in a way that maintains my integrity in the eyes of the Great Housemate, in the hopes he'll stay. Any suggestions for scripts or plans on how to get someone to leave but still look like the good guy? Great Housemate has never voiced any gripes about bad housemate.


Rowellen

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 02:57:29 AM »
What about a harsh conversation that goes along the lines of:

You are not a child. We are not your parents. If you don't start doing xyz without reminders by "date" then you have 2 weeks to move out.

Xyz being paying on time, chores as per chore chart, cleaning dishes and taking rubbish out, being conscious of noise when others are asleep, etc.

I don't think most of these things are petty.  The hairspray thing probably is though. I'd start with the payments, chores and noise. These are disrespectful. She may not realize you have an issue with her if you haven't said anything to her.

JLR

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2017, 03:51:05 AM »
Is this the first time she has lived away from home? Sounds like a lot of childish behaviour on her part.

marty998

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 04:19:41 AM »
What about a harsh conversation that goes along the lines of:

You are not a child. We are not your parents. If you don't start doing xyz without reminders by "date" then you have 2 weeks to move out.

This was my take out form this story too. She's acting like a child and you're kinda calling into the role of parents.

Either she gets her act together, or she should move out and live with her own kind in their own mess...

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 05:20:39 AM »
Could you try sounding out Great Housemate about your frustrations?

He might be able to give her the heads up that she needs to lift her game or she is in danger of being asked to leave. She might take it better coming from him if they do have an .. ahem... connection. She might actually lift her game, or she might feel pissed off enough that she finds somewhere else to live.

Worst case scenario, you get a better idea of how he will react if/when you kick her out. And he might react better having heard your 'side of the story' first.

Good luck.

Frankies Girl

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2017, 05:42:58 AM »
Agree with the others that she's acting like she is a child and you are taking care of her as parents.

Do not agree that your list of things she's done and continues to do are small and petty:

Just the repeatedly late rent issue alone would have been enough to kick her out. Then the overall slovenly behavior is also enough. The being loud, leaving doors and windows open, and use of environmental pollutants that are irritating to the housemates is also enough. But you have all this and more - the attitude - there is such a thing as cumulative effect. If she was a great person that was on time with the rent and cleaned up after herself but happened to be loud or used a really eye-watering perfume and you wanted to kick her out for that, well yeah might want to think it over and talk it out a bit, but that is not the case here. She has been a horrible roommate since she moved in, and continues to get worse.

She's already had several chances. You've had several talks about her behavior and doing things that are disruptive to the household members, dangerous overall behaviors continue, and in general does not do things that she was told were required of a roommate.

I would give her notice that she needs to move within the month if not sooner. You should have kicked her ass out MONTHS ago if that makes you feel any better. She is a selfish, immature person who needs to go be that way someplace else, and you are not being petty. On the contrary you've allowed her to be rude and disruptive and take advantage of you for far too long.

I am actually very concerned if she's sucked in the good roommate using sex to get him/her to clean up after her, which makes me concerned about making sure good roommate understands that 21 isn't allowed to move into his room with him when she is evicted or "visit" for weeks at a time.

life_travel

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2017, 06:33:53 AM »
We ( mature couple ) lived with 9 housemates in our own house over the last 4 years . She would be GONE long time ago , not worth the hassle , especially arguments with your partner.
Prepare to look for two new housemates if needed.

Moonwaves

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 07:47:39 AM »
Agree with others that there are enough big, non-petty things on that list to justify asking her to leave. And honestly, even if they were all petty things, there are enough of them that you'd still be justified, I think. I know you don't own the house but you have the lease and so she essentially moved into your house and you are entitled to still be comfortable in your own house.

Would absorbing the cost of her portion of the rent be more or less than what you would probably end up paying if you and partner decided to look for a place of your own? Maybe just sharing the house with one other person could be a middle ground between fully shared house and just the two of you. It sounds like it's a great house that you'd like to stay in. Maybe even ask great housemate how he'd feel about maybe slightly increasing his share of rent so that you could do without a fourth person. Or see if you can periodically rent that room out on AirBnB (if it's suitable and your landlady had no objections). There are all sorts of possible solutions but I think getting rid of her is the first step that definitely needs to happen.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 08:09:09 AM »
1. For some people, all of that stuff would be acceptable. For you (and me), it's not, and that's all that's relevant here -it's your home.

2. I would evict, and be prepared to cover the cost difference for up to six months while you look for a roommate as excellent as your other one.

3. Personally, I would never again live in a place that depended on the income of a roommate or tenant. Too many tricky ones. I would have a place in which any roommate income is a nonessential bonus, a gift that feeds my savings rate. So, after evicting her and waiting patiently for a great fit for the house, I would start exploring places that meet this criteria.

life_travel

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 04:47:10 PM »


3. Personally, I would never again live in a place that depended on the income of a roommate or tenant. Too many tricky ones. I would have a place in which any roommate income is a nonessential bonus, a gift that feeds my savings rate. So, after evicting her and waiting patiently for a great fit for the house, I would start exploring places that meet this criteria.
Wise words, definitely a great motto to live by.

Sun Hat

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 09:15:52 AM »
Your concerns aren't at all petty and minor. If you can afford to increase your share of the rent on a temporary basis, I'd get rid of her asap.

I would talk to Great Housemate and tell him that you'll be asking 21 to leave by the end of the month. Since you want to keep him as a housemate, you can explain to him why she's unacceptable.

Then tell her to leave by the end of the month. To keep the confrontation as easy as possible, don't try to be gentle about it or discuss it until she's satisfied. Be tough and to the point.  All that she needs to know is that 1) it's non-negotiable 2) you had already told her plenty of times to correct her behavior. The fact that you've never given her an ultimatum phrased "Do X or you're out" is irrelevant - it's implied as the natural consequence of being a perpetually crap roommate by not paying on time / being slovenly / being disrespectful.

Script:
You "21. Given your behavior the last 9 months, Partner and I have decided that having you as a roommate isn't working for us. We need you out by the end of the month. "

21: "Excuses! Angry Rant! Pleas!"

You: (do not respond to any of rant!) "The last day of the month is a (day of the week). Partner and I will meet you here at 0800/1200/1600 to collect your keys. If you provide us with a forwarding address, we will forward your mail for 60 days, provided that you leave your space in an acceptable condition. Otherwise it will be returned to sender."

After giving her notice, expect her to be unbearable in the interim.


Sandia

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2017, 12:28:39 AM »
Thank you all for your replies and advice. I especially appreciate the validations and the scripts to help with the conversation.

I know Partner and I have been avoiding the hard conversation, but just for context, we've done that purposefully.  We realised we'd come on too strongly with the previous housemate, and our nagging scared her into leaving. It was a good thing in the long run, but a huge damn inconvenience because she chose the worst possible time to leave.

We're not dependent on 21's rent, per se, but the difference it makes to our savings rate is too much to pass up.

Partner and I looked at a calendar, and realised we'll be travelling off and on over the next few months, so it's not a great time to find a new housemate. We're going to let the bad behaviour slide until after Christmas, and then have the "shape up and/or ship out" talk when we're ready to shop for new housemates next year.

p.s. Sorry it took so long to reply - just to make life fun, I broke my arm shortly after I posted, and couldn't type for a few weeks!

alsoknownasDean

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2017, 04:44:42 AM »
I think it's still worth having another talk to her about some of her behaviour, with a reminder that 'if you don't want to tidy up after yourself, you can always find somewhere else to live'.

Think of it as a service to any of her future housemates. :)

Melody

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Re: WWYD? Housemate woes [Australia]
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2017, 03:03:37 PM »
Bear in mind unless you have a written sublet agreement to the contrary she is legally entitled to 90 days notice as a subletter. Thats a long time to live with someone who is grumpy and angry at you. In a similar situation i moved out for this reason. Rents are so low at the moment i would personally just move. I'm assuming "own place" wouldn't be more than $100/week more than your current set up and that just doesn't seem like it is worth sacrificing your sanity over (based on the length of your post you are frustrated at this person multiple times a day... i'd rather cut a few luxuries to maintain savings rate than deal with daily resentment.)
Check the meetup thread if you want to talk with Perth MMM's in person on Saturday :) we are good listeners!

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