Rents are high Heck... RENT! Is out of this world insane no matter where you reside. So often many of us have to find roommies to sustain. And that can be a great situation but it can also lead to immense trouble. Observe....
Redditor wheresmyroom posted about a dwelling situation fraught with drama...
Hi there. I'm writing this on a throwaway because to be honest I never thought I'd need to post here but what can you do.
So I moved into this flat about 8 months ago. I met "Lana" online on a roommate website, and we clicked well. She's a bit younger but seemed mature. We quickly agreed to be roommates (both of us were under time constraints to find a place to live) but have got on really well so far (up until this).
Our flat is a two bedroom, and to be frank, my room is clearly the better one. It's bigger and has built in wardrobes. When looking for the flat, I found the place first on my own and put down a deposit to take it off the market while I found another roommate. The flat was perfect, cheap rent and my aunt manages the property, so I was keen to snap it up before anyone else did. The area it's in is popular so I wasn't really worried about not finding someone to room with.
Because of the above and that I was there first, I took the bigger room naturally. When showing potential roommates (including Lana) round, I was sure to show the smaller room and say "this would be your room".
We moved in 8 months ago, and it's been happy families. Never heard Lana complain about her room. Because I have about 6x the wardrobe space that she does, I told her she's welcome to store her off season clothes in there, or whatever she wants to store, as long as she's not popping in every morning to get dressed. She was happy with this.
Just over a month ago, I went travelling. Now I'm not the biggest fan of having people in my room, but I told Lana if she had someone stay (her sister, friends from home) they could sleep in my bed. She said thanks, and as she's been such a great roommate and rarely has guests except her boyfriend, I didn't worry at all.
I came back yesterday. I was exhausted from the flight and traveling, and just wanted to shower and sleep. As I walked in Lana was in the living room with her boyfriend. We said hello and hugged, had a very quick catch up, blah blah. Then I dragged my suitcase to my room, opened the door and found it full of stuff that was not mine. I kind of yelled "what the hell?" and briefly thought I was so jet lagged I was confused, but opened the door to Lana's room and saw all my stuff.
I walked into the living room and asked Lana what was going on and she said "Oh sorry, I forgot to mention, we put my stuff in your room just because it's bigger and you weren't here and you said I could use it." I was honestly so tired I could have passed out then, so I probably wasn't in the best state, and told her to move it all back immediately. She said they were in the middle of making dinner and I looked tired so I should have a sleep. Her boyfriend then said "And anyway, you pay the same rent so isn't it fair that you both get the big room at some point." I was getting really frustrated and could feel tears welling up (hysterical from lack of sleep) so I just said "We'll deal with this tomorrow, and it's getting moved back" and then I went to sleep in not my room.
I've woken up now and I'm so pissed off. Lana's at work so I can't talk to her but what should I do when she's home? I feel like this is going to turn into an argument, I don't think it'll be as simple as "okay let's swap now you're home."
I went traveling for a month and told my roommate she could use my room for guests if needed. While I was gone she swapped all our stuff and moved into my much bigger and better bedroom. Never had a problem with her before but she doesn't seem like she's planning on swapping back. What do I do when I speak to her after work?
I'll be talking to her when she gets in because this is out of character for her, to the point of it being bizarre. She's never been anything but a model roommate, so I'm gonna give her a chance before we're donezo. If she wants to be reasonable and have a chat about rent portions I'm happy to do that. She's never had a problem with the rent before, and honestly I've never had uneven rent amounts in any place I've ever lived (whether I had a bigger room or smaller room) but a lot of people here are saying it's the norm so I'm open to talking about it if she's not ridiculous.
I texted Lana to tell her I moved my stuff back. She didn't reply to me, fine whatever, but she didn't kick off so I figured we were okay. I told my Aunt what had happened, who was as baffled as all of you, and I told her it was probably all sorted, just keeping her in the loop. I also told my boyfriend, who works about 5 mins down the road. He offered to come round, incase Lana's boyfriend came round, but I told him not to because then we're ganging up on Lana. He insisted on going for a "coffee" with his mate a couple roads away incase we needed backup. Which is a bit ridiculous but very cute of him.
So I did get myself a glass of wine while waiting for Lana, not because I was nervous I just like wine, and she came home. I was sat in the living room and gave her a very cold "hi" when she walked in. She sort of froze, bag in hand, and her eyes darted between me and my/not her/our bedroom door. She blurted "did you do it!?" and I said "what, move the rooms back? Yeah of course." and her eyes went all wide and she dropped her bag and ran into the bathroom. I could hear her talking on the phone so I was like yipeeeee I guess Tom's coming round fuuuuuun!
She moved your things out when you weren't there. You're off work now, just swap things back straight away. Start with stripping the beds and changing the linen over.
I wouldn't leave it till tomorrow, it normalizes the situation. If she comes home whilst you're in the middle of it, just keep going or ask her to help you. Her bf should keep out of it. I assume he's lived there full-time over the last month, and he's seeing it as 'their' flat now.
Get a lock for your door!
Where are his receipts?Giphy
Just to add, boyfriend has no say in this unless he is on the lease. If he tries to butt in, you tell him "unless you're paying me rent too, you don't contribute to this conversation."
The Lana / Tom Saga Continues
The original poster wasn't done, yet. Let's dive back in:
I heard the door unlock and I was about to go full hulk on how psycho she is, when she came out of the door and stood between our bedrooms. Their doors are adjacent and she just stared between them both, breathing heavily? It was really odd. Then I noticed she was crying and getting a bit panicky, so I asked what was going on.
She burst into tears and said "Omg he's going to kill me" and just sobbed so yeah it was the boyfriend's idea completely, as a lot of us suspected. She's honestly always been a perfect roommate, which is kind of why I came to this sub. If she was generally an a-hole, I would have known how to act, if you know what I mean? Anyway Lana has a bit of a breakdown, and it turns out POS Tom has always been a bit of a POS, very jealous (which I always saw hints of, but Lana never mentioned so I didn't), and has amped up his POSishness while I've been away. When I left he just finished school and basically moved in unannounced, and when she'd mention he hasn't been home in days, he'd give her the "what, don't you love me, I treat you so well, you're so selfish, blah blah" stuff and refused to move. She showed me the texts he send her, absolutely horrific stuff, things like "ring me in the next five minutes or we're over; send me a picture of you at your desk with something showing today's date so I know you're at work", just abusive stuff.
ON TO THE ROOM: As we guessed, he moved it. He did it while she was at work, which is actually a bit gross thinking of him going through my stuff, and I'm considering somehow implying I have crabs or something he could catch just to make him squirm a bit, but I'll work on it. Lana came home and said what are you doing, he made out it was just temporary and that I wouldn't mind (such a gentleman speaking on my behalf) and he would move it back, and he was doing ti for her and she was so selfish etc. When it got a few days before I came back, Lana suggested moving it back, and he completely denied he said that and told her it was her idea to move it and he only did what she told him but it's staying now or she'd be sorry.
So basically Tom is a prick and Lana sobbed and apologized and cried and I fed her wine. She didn't want to see Tom (who obviously assumed he lived there now) so I text him from her phone saying our Landlady (my aunt) was coming round for an inspection and staying for dinner after with my family and he couldn't come over tonight. He sent a lot of begging, whiney texts, and then went on the offensive and called Lana a liar, so I rang my aunt, explained everything and had her write us a fake landlord email mentioning the visit and how she was looking forward to fajitas (because she's an absolute babe and I make good packet fajitas), which we forwarded on to Tom. He left her alone for the rest of the night, apart from a few texts.
I'm not entirely sure what we do about Tom. Lana sounds like she wants to break up, judging from her crying and screaming "I hate him, I hate him, I hate him" into her wine. I think she's scared to though. I checked with her and he doesn't have a key, so that's a relief. I've told my aunt everything and she said she is happy to ban him from the flat, but Lana would need to break up with him first and get all that sorted. God knows what will happen. Thoughts?"
The daft room-moving antics may actually have been her boyfriend's idea. Him just having to make a point about you both paying the same rent - it's probably not the first time he's said that. I'd bear that in mind when talking to Lana - if she starts using a lot of "we's" instead of "I's," you can at minimum remind her you live with her, not her and her boyfriend, and you want decisions made in the flat that work for you and her, not her and her fella (diplomatically, of course).
Call Dr. Phil!Giphy
Move your stuff back. This isn't even a discussion - you found the place, you made it clear the smaller was her room. Put a lock on the door and say this isn't a discussion.
It sucks she screwed herself over, but that's her problem, not yours.
I've never had room mates so I don't know how these situations end up changing the dynamics.
But after a conflict like this.. how can you even maintain a roommate relationship with someone? Wouldn't it be awkward?
Who does this? You're much more calm about it than I would be. I would have screamed at her to get her stuff out if my room the second I saw it. When you talk with her have her repeat what you said she could do with the room when you left. Then remind her that at no point did you say she could move into your room. It's not often I request this, but for the love of everything please keep us updated. I'm deadly curious to hear what she has to say for herself.
Op I cannot stress how bad of an idea it is to talk to her about it first. There's no convincing her of anything, just do it. Your opening yourself up for repatriation if you relent by staying in the small room while trying to reason with her. What if she puts a lock on it before you? Or trashes the room? You need to seriously just do it while she's gone now, not later.
Follow her lead...
Just move it back yourself while she's out. Her boyfriend gets exactly no say. She agreed to live in the smaller room for the same rent. You are rightfully pissed.
That is other level crap!Giphy
Holy crap, this is a new different level of abusive POS.
OP, I recommend you call the cops and ask them what you should do regarding Tom given his behaviour is such that he might just turn up and demand entry or force his way in.
Also with regards to Lana, (1) suggest she go visit a therapist to talk through what happened (she needs it I think, she's been in an abusive relationship), (2) tell her to send Tom a message saying they're over, and that she's blocking him on everything (and then block him on everything and/or get a new number) and that if he comes near her, she's going to the cops (and then if he does, go to the cops).
Also get your aunt to officially say that he's not allowed in the apartment - that way if the police can't do anything before hand, you be able to at least try to get him on trespassing charges when he (eventually, given his boundary stomping behavior) turns up at the apartment.
Three seperate points here:
1) They shouldnt have touched your stuff or moved rooms. Reverse that while they are at work, just do it right now. Also get a lock.
2) An even rent split with uneven rooms isnt fair, even if she has no room to complain because she knew that going in. If you want good relations going forward (and to be the bigger person), perhaps decide what is a fair rent split and propose this to her when she gets back.
3) Boyfriend isn't supposed to live here and isn't paying anything. Does he now? Time to nip that crap in the bud.
I had a roommate secretly move her boyfriend into our house, then 6 months after the fact, send us all an email basically saying "so... [bf] is living with us... that's cool, right?"
Meanwhile, a couple of years later, when my boyfriend was in an awkward living situation (there was a death involved) and was staying with us a lot more often, which I was very upfront with them about and asked if it was okay with beforehand, I ended up getting so much stuff about it. I got confronted (after coming home from a night out with friends, so I was drunk. Yay, thanks) about him "living with us." I wanted to hit aforementioned roommate.
I've since moved.
2 can play this game!
She's established that it is okay to move things around when the other roommate is not present. Follow her rule. Then inform her that it is no longer a rule. Get a lock on your door.
Your remaining time together as roommates won't be pleasant. Understand your legal options.
That was extremely invasive and inappropriate of her. Move your stuff back and her stuff out.
Then talk to her:
- Remind her that she moved in under the understanding that she had the smaller room.
- Tell her that if she had a problem with the rooms, she should have spoken to you first, not just moved in. Talking is what adults do.
- Suggest she consider how she would have felt coming home after a long trip to find all her belongings have been moved.
- Remind her that while you have the larger room, she has a boyfriend who takes up space too. Couples often pay more rent than singles.
- Explain that you understand housemates need to communicate and negotiate, and tell her you're happy to do this, but it needs to be honest and upfront, not all cloak and daggers and wait till she's gone....
Of course, the reason this is an issue is because you know you're getting the better end of this deal. Are you happy to discuss this? Would you pay a slightly larger share of the rent? You say that you "naturally" took the bigger room, but that's not necessarily the default position. I pay more rent than my flatmate because I have a slightly better room (same size, but I have a better view), and because I store some of my stuff in my flatmates room. (Like you, I found the place.) So I'd be prepared to consider what is fair as well.
This is simple. You don't need to have a discussion with her. While she's at work, move your stuff back to your room, take her off season clothes out of your closet, and install a lock. If she had an issue about the price she's paying or the size of her room, she should've negotiated that during the contract signing. Also, do not allow a third party (her boyfriend) who does not live there, dictate or comment about anything to do with that apartment. To be honest, your roommate sounds like a shitty person and opportunist under that niceness...anyone who would move all of someone's stuff out of their room is not nice.
I'm sorry this happened to you.
I think you can insist that her boyfriend not be around when you two discuss what happened. He's not on the lease, he has no say, period. In fact why not be proactive and message her? That you two would be having a talk about the rooming issue today after she finishes work, and that it would just be a discussion between the two of you.
Don't give in to her on this. She knew what she signed up for, and she basically took advantage of you. And after she moves back to her old room, consider locking up your room all the time whenever you're not around. She has more than certainly lost the privilege of going into your room in your absence.
Stand your ground!Giphy
It seems unlikely that you two will be coming to an amicable solution to this. She just decided to move your stuff because she wanted to and it's unlikely that she's going to back off now.
Is her name on the lease, since you paid the deposit and all that? Did she pay you back for what you paid in the deposit?
I would suggest that you just try to talk to her, without her boyfriend present so they can't gang up on you, and explain to her that since you found the apartment and kept it off the market while searching for a roommate that the larger bedroom is yours. She agreed to the initial rent price when she moved in, knowing full well which bedroom would be hers. It doesn't matter if it's fair, it's what she agreed to do and she did not voice any concerns up front. If she wanted to renegotiate the terms of the deal she should have done that when she first moved in, rather than wait for you to leave and take matters into her own hands.
If her name isn't on the lease you can probably evict her yourself since she would be subletting from you. If she is on the leash it's probably unlikely that you'll be able to do much about it. I would go talk to your landlord immediately and inform him that since you reserved the apartment first, you intend to keep it at the end of the lease and your roommate will not be signing back on. You might be able to get "dibs" on keeping the place when your lease it up and essentially force her out at that time.
Take pictures of everything in each room (before and after, that way there are no accusations about you stealing anything), and move your things back while she is gone. I would not suggest this normally, but since this is exactly what she did to you I would feel comfortable reciprocating.
Reiterate to her when she comes home that you said she could have a friend or relative stay in your bed if they were over while you were away- NOT that she and her boyfriend could completely move into your room and commandeer it. If she argues, remind her that when she accepted the lease it was on the terms that the smaller room would be hers (and she should have brought up any issues or concerns about that at that point). Tell her that you have retracted the offer to let her keep her things in your wardrobe (there's no way I would continue allowing this after what she did), as you will be installing a lock on your door due to her inappropriate actions.
If you WAIT to move these things (and install a lock), you are opening yourself up to this situation becoming the norm. It will be a lot more difficult to get her to move her things when she is there versus you just doing it (like she did YOURS) when she's gone.
No room for trust!
I know she says he doesn't have a key, but that's not a chance you should take. You need to change your flat lock immediately. Neither of you have any idea if he "borrowed" it and made a copy. I don't want to be alarmist, but this guy sounds possibly dangerous.
No Permission Necessary!Giphy
I don't know why you're trying to be amicable and fair with her when she didn't give you the same - what a massive invasion of privacy. She literally touched all your personal stuff with NO PERMISSION in order to do this, I would be so disturbed. Call a big strong friend over as back up, text your roommate that you are moving stuff back (you don't even owe her a heads up but that's about as nice as you need to be), and get going.