Advice on dealing with hostile housemate?
June 18, 2011 6:31 PM Subscribe
Housemate is acting violent/threatening, land lord won't act. What can I do besides move?
posted by wanderingchord to law & government (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Alright Metafilter...ites? I got some truly helpful advice on a tough situation not long ago, and unfortunately I now face another (unrelated) one. So here goes:
I currently rent a room in a four-bedroom house in Wisconsin. There's only one other renter at the moment, a male about my age (25). At first we were mildly friendly. Then he started to get strange. Getting oddly upset about minor messes I had missed, or things I hadn't done JUST SO (I'm fairly tidy, though there's room for improvement).
So I did my best make him happy and give him some space. This offended him, and he started getting hostile, making vague, implied threats, trying to intimidate me, etc. So I avoided him more. Which upset him more. And so on.
Eventually I was being yelled at as I tried to leave for work in the morning. The threats grew less implied and less vague. I tried several times to ask the land lord for help, but he was unwilling to do anything besides ask the other renter to stop, which of course only made things worse. The last incident of this resulted in the renter screaming at the landlord for a good half hour, but the latter still refused to do anything about it.
There's been about a week of very tense "calm" since then. No screaming or stomping around slamming things, no threats. But I'm still living with someone who hates me, is violent, and has a short temper.
I'm sure the first response from many posters will be "Get out. Now." Which is good advice, but unfortunately out of reach. I don't really have anywhere to go: no friends or family to lodge with etc. Moving is certainly a long-term possibility, but it's going to be hard to find something I can afford, and it will almost certainly be much worse. Apart from this fiasco the room/house is fantastic for the price, and I don't want to give it up because of this bully unless I absolutely have to.
I should also be clear: the chances of threat to my life are pretty minimal: I'm more concerned about battery/damage to my stuff. Still a serious thing, I know, but it's a rock/hard place situation. For now I'm staying, at least until he cranks up the crazy again.
So here's the actual question: besides trying to move (which will be expensive and mean losing a lot), what are my options? Is going to the police going to do any good? What should I do specifically if I do talk to them? The worst he's said are things along the lines of "Yeah, you try that [closing the door] and see what happens!" which is a far cry from "I'll fucking kill you" but still pretty intimidating when it's yelled at you at 6 in the morning. I doubt it's enough to actually do anything with legally though.
Basically, what are my options here (if any) besides giving in to this creep? I know it's a long shot, but all the options look pretty bad: I just want to be as informed as I can before I choose one.