The Right Way to Break Up with a Roommate

  |     |   Rental Tips & Advice
Roomates

When you first decided to move out on your own, it was probably necessary to team up with a roommate to save on monthly expenses. Whether you did the asking or you were asked, popping the roommate question is pretty serious stuff. After all, this is the person you will live with and share a bathroom with, possibly for the next few years. It’s a big deal.

Then the inevitable happens. One roommate is ready to move on, so they dump the person they’ve shared a space with for so long. As the popular saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. And it could be even harder to do with a roommate than with a significant other. How do you delicately go about telling someone that you don’t want to live with them anymore?

Are You Sure You Want to Do This?
Really take some time to think things through. Even a not-so-great roommate situation can be repaired if both parties are willing to put in the work. What exactly is your reason for wanting to part ways with your bunk mate? It might not be bad enough to walk out on. If it’s a matter of messiness or noise, those issues can probably be worked out if you bring them to your roommate’s attention. He or she may not even be aware that their bad habits are negatively affecting you. A simple conversation could save you the time and stress it takes to find a new place, a new roommate, or to convince your landlord to amend your lease and sublet your apartment. Also, think of yourself. Can you afford to live without a roommate? If not, how soon can you find another person to room with? Parting ways too soon with your roommate could leave you in a financial bind.

Be an Adult
Society has made it the norm to communicate almost completely via social media and cell phones. But if you want to break things off with your roommate, that is not the way to go about it. Be direct. Be mature. A sit down, face-to-face conversation is the only appropriate way–not a Facebook post or a tweet. This way you can hear the other side of the story and the two of you can possibly work out a solution. It will be uncomfortable, but it has to be done. Other passive aggressive tactics like texts, emails and voicemails are also uncalled for. You don’t want your roommate to misjudge the seriousness of the matter at hand.

Act Sooner Rather Than Later
While it’s smart to take your time and really think things through, keep in mind that your lease does have an end date. If that day is fast approaching, you need to act as quickly as possible. Telling your roommate that you plan to move out when the lease ends next week or even next month will make a bad situation even worse. You don’t want to leave that person scrambling to figure out what their next move should be. Give as much notice as you possibly can not only to your roommate, but to your landlord as well. And remember to get everything in writing to avoid any future confusion. Even though you may have figured out your game plan, your roommate will need time to get their stuff together as well. Whatever is decided, your lease trumps all. If you’re staying in the apartment and your roommate is leaving, you still have a legal responsibility to pay the full rent and utilities until you are able to secure a new roommate if your lease agreement allows for such an action to take place.

No Hard Feelings
Once the move is complete and the keys are handed over, that doesn’t have to be the end, especially if you and your roommate are still cordial. Allow yourself and your former roommate time to settle into your new lives before reaching out just to see how things are going. Maybe you can set up a time to see each others’ new apartments. You should do this even if you two weren’t exactly a match made in heaven. Living in the same town, you may run into each other at some point. It’ll be nice if you reach out at least once just to show that you gave a solid effort to continue the relationship. At this point, following up via email, text or social media would be adequate.

Related articles:
4 Qualities to Look For in a Roommate
Is a Roommate the Right Choice for You?
How to Control Your Messy Roommate Situation
Smart Ways for Roommates to Handle Grocery Shopping

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