Roommate Problems: Four Actions to Take if Your Roommate Doesn’t Pay Rent

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Roommate Problems: Four Actions to Take if Your Roommate Doesn’t Pay Rent

Staff Writer · Jan 18, 2010

While best friends and relatives are common choices for a roommate, selecting a person who is responsible is always priority to avoid roommate problems . Hopefully, your roommate will pay his or her share of rent promptly. But, if trouble should arise with your roommate, there are some options available.

When the Money Stops Rolling In

Some situations are out of people’s control. Even if your roommate has a great paying job, there is no certainty of remaining employed in this economy. Rather your roommate lost of quit his job, this scenerio is a tough topic.  Hopefully, your roommate has saved some money in case of such an emergency. If not, and unemployment is not available, a discussion between roommates is necessary. If you have known the person for awhile, and are comfortable that they will search heartily for a job, your best judgement should be used.

Different Options to Take

If you know that your roommate’s financial loss is temporary, and you have the extra money, covering your roommate for a month might be one plan of action. If he or she is just going through a short term loss, and the roommate is responsible to pay you back, this would be an easy fix.

If you find yourself in a situation where your roommate has the money, but refuses to pay, this scenario is a bit trickier and longer lasting. If the roommate is not on the lease and won’t pay, you have the right to ask them to leave. Setting a date of 30 days will allow them time to find a new place. If, at the end of the thirty days, they have not willingly vacated, then calling the local police for steps to take would be the next option. Also, once you do get them, small claims court would be an option to gain back the money lost.

If your roommate is on the lease, and shows no signs of participating in the monthly rental expense, than more severe steps will need to be taken. Such as contacting the ladlord to fill him in on the situation. It may be possible for the non-paying roommate to be evicted. The landlord will have to give the roommate thirty days, but is not required to refund that person’s part of the security deposit. If just a month or two is left on the lease, the easiest thing might be to pay both halves until the lease expires, freeing you to move to a better situation.

Moving Forward

Moving on from a bad roommate experience is just one of life’s lessons. Making sure you learn from it is necessary. This will ensure that you are cautious about who you share a rental with. Even best friends can become enemies when money is thrown into the mix.

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