I’ve lived alone and I’ve lived with 11 roommates. That’s eleven different personalities, preferences, and temperaments. After three years, finding a full-time job, and sweet apartment in the city, I left and have been living on my own since.
Living with people, family, boo, bestie since fourth grade, and the only other person from your small town attending the same Google internship, is not easy. In fact it can be really difficult, so much so that you find yourself wanting to utter: “You ain’t got to go home, but you got to get out of here!” to your roommate. If that’s the case, there is a way to go about giving your roommate the boot without coming across as a B****.
Avoid Surprises: Before you even think about giving your roommate the boot make sure you don’t plan to share anything with them you haven’t shared before. This should not be the first time you are talking to them about not paying rent, missing cash, the smell of weed that they don’t smoke, the pile of noise violation fines whose dates correlate with every time you have been away for work, etc. While they may not like the conversation you’re having about them moving out, the reasons for the request shouldn’t be a surprise. Furthermore, schedule a time to talk with your roommate. Don’t bring it up in your next disagreement, don’t write it in her lipstick on the bathroom mirror, and DO NOT TEXT IT!
Know the Facts: If both names are on the lease, you need to plan on sticking it out until the lease ends. If that feels like a non-option then you may want to head to the leasing office and see how the lease can be broken, either by having the roommate evicted or you being able to move out. Contact your landlord and share the facts. Emphasis on facts. No need to bad mouth your roommate. If they are not paying rent and you have been struggling to honor the lease, share your bank statements. If the roommate has had a couple of intoxicated nights that led to physically violent altercations in the space, provide the dates the police have had to come to the property. Stick to the facts and let the landlord make the decision on how to handle your roommate.
Also, study up on the eviction process. In some counties, a verbal agreement — “Yeah you can stay with me until you figure things out” — is an agreement that the court will honor regardless of any type of written contract. If that is the case, you will have to go through the eviction process. Learn the eviction process for your area because whether you want to or not, it may be the process you and your roommate go through.
Stick to the Facts: Once you know the facts, stick to them. I don’t care how bad her feet smell, how infrequently she washes her clothes or body, how much she says she wants to lose weight but stays on a steady diet of food you don’t deem healthy. Stick to the facts!
Say What You Need to Say: This is not the time to practice your poetic skills. Say what you need to say to your roommate. Let them know that it is has become evident (as per the facts) that being roommates is no longer working. Let them know that you would like them to move out. Providing they are not on your lease, you can give them a time frame to gather their things and find a new space. If they share they will not be moving out, share that you will be moving forward with the eviction process.
Do What You Said: Once you set forth the move out parameters stick to them. I’m not an advocate for ruthlessness, however you will turn around and “be out in 30 days” will turn into 60 days with one excuse after another. The eviction process is a process. The longer you take to file, the longer it will take for it to start, happen, and finish.
Brace For Impact: If your roommate seems to be remotely sneaky or vindictive, hide your valuables. No need for your laptop to start acting up, your cell phone to go missing, or your iPad screen to mysteriously crack. Be home when she packs up, collect the keys, and request the locks be changed. The last thing you want is for her to move your stuff with hers and to come home to any empty space with no idea of where she moved. It’s also unnecessary to come home and find the space vandalized with no way to prove it was your roommate.
Let your roommate go and get your space, life, and happy back.