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February 21, 2012 12:58 PM   Subscribe

How to tell current roommate he can't move with me?

I have been renting a 2/2 with my friend for almost one year. Our lease was set to end in March, at which time I was going to move into a 1/1 since he was getting married. The date was pushed back a few months and he wanted to do a month-to-month until then with him paying the balance of the rent increase. I started looking into purchasing a house last month and he said that if and when I did, he would rent a room from me. I should have addressed it at the time but I didn't think he was serious and I didn't think I would find a house and move out before his wedding. Well, I did.

I informed him of my closing date and told him I was giving our move-out notice to the apartment. He asked when "we" were moving. I told him "I" was moving X date. He then asked me how much rent I wanted from him. This caught me off guard and I was not prepared for this conversation so I told him I'd think about it. I DON'T want him to move with me.

Today I texted him (I know, I know...I couldn't wait until tonight) and asked if he could find another place to live. He said he "would have to see". I don't know if I should feel bad but I do. I have a boyfriend, my roommate is engaged, and the situation is just all around weird to me. I told him I think I have given him enough notice to find other options (a little over 30 days). How should I remain firm on my decision when we inevitably talk about it tonight? His fiance won't let him move in with her until after the wedding but he has friends and family here.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think the classic Metafilter advice of "I'm sorry, that's just not possible" is pretty fitting here.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:00 PM on February 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


How should I remain firm on my decision when we inevitably talk about it tonight?

By not giving in. You never agreed to that. It is his responsibility to look for his own place.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:04 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


tell him that the rent for a room will be $5000? in order to compensate you for lost privacy with boyfriend, which to you is worth that much?
posted by saraindc at 1:04 PM on February 21, 2012


Stop asking him things - tell him that you want to live on your own, and that he cannot move with you. The problem with saying "can you find another place to live?" is that you're implicitly offering your own place if he can't. It doesn't give him very much incentive to find his own place. The only way you're going to resolve this situation is by making the kind of blunt, categorical statement that you seem to have avoided so far.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:07 PM on February 21, 2012 [23 favorites]


You can diplomatically tell him that you are no longer able to make all of your housing and relationship plans based on his marriage timetable -- you are sorry if his feelings are hurt, but that you have lived apart from your boyfriend for as long as you are willing to, and that's that.
posted by hermitosis at 1:08 PM on February 21, 2012


I should have addressed it at the time

I was not prepared for this conversation so I told him I'd think about it.

You've been really unclear in your communication with him; it's not at all surprising that he thinks he's moving with you, given that you waited until today to tell him he's not (by text message, no less).

The way to tell your roommate that he's not moving in with you is by talking to him, in person, and telling him that you're going to be living alone. Be clear and straightforward, for a change.
posted by ook at 1:08 PM on February 21, 2012 [34 favorites]


Recognize that you led him on by being wishy-washy and non-confrontational. Apologize for that. Tell him that he may not live with you in your new house.
posted by supercres at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2012 [20 favorites]


He probably just wants the convenience of continuing on with your living arrangement and a short term rental until he gets married. Can't blame him for that. As you say though he has family and friends in the area so he has options. There's no need to feel guilty, and just firmly say you want your new home all to yourself for awhile.
posted by orange swan at 1:10 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today I texted him (I know, I know...I couldn't wait until tonight) and asked if he could find another place to live. He said he "would have to see". I don't know if I should feel bad but I do. I have a boyfriend, my roommate is engaged, and the situation is just all around weird to me. I told him I think I have given him enough notice to find other options (a little over 30 days).

I'm not clear on the timing here, between your conversations with him and whether or lease ends on March 1st or March 31st. Was there no communication about this between you telling him at the 30-day mark that you'd think about him moving with you and you telling him he'd have to find another place today? I'm just trying to figure out whether this dude actually had 30 days -- during which it was equally his responsibility to be diligent and confirm things -- or whether he now has a week to find a new apartment. Not that it matters in whether or not he'll be living with you, but by how difficult a conversation you should prepare to face.
posted by griphus at 1:11 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today I texted him (I know, I know...I couldn't wait until tonight) and asked if he could find another place to live. He said he "would have to see".

Ha. He's manipulating you. He'll "have to see?" Wow.

You're not his caregiver, and he's not your ward.
posted by jayder at 1:13 PM on February 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


How long is it until his wedding? Because saying no after implicitly saying yes beforehand (which is what you did by not saying anything beforehand) has the risk of you losing your friend (unless you're moving into a one bedroom house). Assuming the wedding is more than a month or maybe two after you move, then you be clear about saying no, and apologise for leading him on.

(I assume he will have 30 days from today, when you've finally been clear that he cannot move in with you, to find a new place.)
posted by jeather at 1:14 PM on February 21, 2012


He's manipulating you. He'll "have to see?" Wow.

I don't see anything manipulative in his behavior. Yes, he was presumptuous when he declared he'd move in to your new place. However, you've had several natural opportunities (as well as general agency as an adult) to set him straight and you haven't.

"Can you find another place to live?" is not at all the same as "You can't move in with me."

He thinks you are (or at least were) ok with him moving in. You should apologize for not having been clear up front and then follow up with, "That won't be possible" as necessary afterward.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


You could say something like "I've been thinking about your request to rent a room from me. At first I didn't really think you were serious which is why I didn't address it right away. But I have a boyfriend now, and you're engaged, and I'm not so comfortable being roommates anymore. I hope you understand."

If he protests, keep repeating "I'm just not comfortable."

It's less direct than some of the suggestions above, but you might be more comfortable with saying this.

It might be worth it to offer to pay an extra month's rent, especially if he has a legitimate argument that by not having the conversation sooner you've given him less time to find alternate housing.
posted by bunderful at 1:23 PM on February 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


Stop hoping he will develop powers of mind reading. You have to state facts and stand by them. "I'm sorry I haven't been clearer about this before. I really prefer to live on my own in my new house from the start. It won't be possible for you to rent from me, so you'll need to find another place to live before your wedding."

Now, here's the thing. He might immediately accept this (though he might be pissed off with you for not telling him sooner) and start figuring out his next move. But given that you have also asked how to remain firm in your decision, I get the sense that you worry he might not accept it, and will counter by explaining all the ways in which it really IS for the best if he moves in, or why you SHOULD still be comfortable with the situation, or how the inconvenience you're causing now translates into OWING him a place -- and then if he does, you won't know how to respond to what he says.

However he responds, none of it has any bearing on your decision. You are buying a house. You don't want a roommate. This is your preference and your right. In the event that he's unable to comprehend or respect that, that is entirely his problem. Do not let him make it yours. If he starts arguing or "explaining" why living with you is still really the best option, do not engage the conversation on those terms; just keep saying you prefer to live alone in your new house.
posted by scody at 1:31 PM on February 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Look, when it comes down to it you both communicated ineffectively; however, you do not owe anything to this friend.

Your friend/roommate is responsible for finding their own place, after all that's what being an adult is about.

You have to directly state that you have enjoyed living with him, but that you feel like it's time to live on your own rather than with each other. Tell him that you are sorry for not being completely upfront about it before, but you were unsure about what you wanted at the time. This gives a positive comment along with a difficult to hear kind of comment.
posted by livinglearning at 1:32 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Look, I'm really sorry, I wasn't clear before. I've decided I want to live on my own. So, I can't rent you a room in my new place."
posted by canine epigram at 1:32 PM on February 21, 2012 [13 favorites]


You can help keep your resolve by remembering that a few minutes of feeling miserable and uncomfortable while you stand your ground is going to be waaaay easier than a few months of feeling miserable and uncomfortable because you didn't. You might also consider which is going to make a bigger mess of your friendship (my money is on the few months of living with resentment).

Just pick: a few bad minutes or a few bad months?
posted by looli at 1:39 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


30 days is plenty of time to get himself sorted into another situation. Or, if this proves difficult, as you say he has friends and family with whom he can crash until he and fiancee get themselves sorted.

I think all you have to say is the truth: "I had no idea that I would find a place I wanted to buy and actually buy it before you were married and off on your own. Part of this is due to me finding the right place and part of it is due to your changes of plans with respect to your wedding. But this is my first home, and I have some ideas about how I want to live like an adult in my own home and build my life, and as much as I like you, having a roommate for some indefinite period of time right when I move in to the place where I want to start this next period of my life doesn't fit in. So I'm sorry. 30 days is a pretty long time to look for another situation, and you have lots of friends and family here."


Here's a question: Who is on the lease for the apartment? Is it you? Him? Both of you? Is there any chance that you could either get your name taken off the lease or get the lease turned over to your soon-to-be-former roommate? Then he could just stay where he is and would only have to find himself a roommate to pick up the other portion of the rent (or he could pay the whole rent himself if it's a cheap enough place). It seems a little softer to say, "you have to find yourself a new roommate" than it is to say "you have to find yourself a new place to live."


I feel you on this one. I had a situation where a roommate said he was moving to another city in X number of months, so my serious girlfriend (now wife) didn't renew her lease and made plans to move in right around the time we expected my roommate to be gone. When it turned out that he dithered about the date and his plans changed by around 6 months, and that he expected to be able to stick around post girlfriend move-in until his own situation was sorted at some nebulous time in the future, I ended up having to be a hard-ass about it. There was lots of foot-dragging on his part, but he did move on to another apartment given about 30 days' notice from me, and we're still friends. As looli and others suggest, it really is better this way. Inertia can be a big deal to these types. If you cave in, the chances are that 6 months or even a year from now this guy still won't have his situation sorted, and it will be even harder to get him out of your house because now it will be an established thing. At least with your move, you have a set date looming that creates a convenient "everything will be different from this date forward" deadline, where there can be no "aw, man... why you gotta be this way now?" bullcrap.
posted by slkinsey at 1:51 PM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just pick: a few bad minutes or a few bad months?

Perhaps more. When/if he fnally gets married and moves, five'll get you ten he wants to keep some of his stuff in your house "for a while". Cut it off now.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:53 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


He then asked me how much rent I wanted from him. This caught me off guard and I was not prepared for this conversation so I told him I'd think about it

The way to tell him he cannot move with you is to actually tell him. "You are not moving with me." Go say this to him now. You are buying a house and don't want a roommate, which is perfectly reasonable. Letting him think he's moving with you is not.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:07 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything manipulative in his behavior. Yes, he was presumptuous when he declared he'd move in to your new place. However, you've had several natural opportunities (as well as general agency as an adult) to set him straight and you haven't.

OP, you have been perfectly clear in my view. You said YOU are moving. When he didn't acknowledge that, you asked him if he could find another place to live. You've been perfectly clear.

When you're an adult, and your soon-to-be-moving roommate asks if you can find another place to live, the answer is always, and must be, yes.

Don't feel bad, or at fault, for his willful obtuseness.
posted by jayder at 2:34 PM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Roomie, I have found a house, and expect to move out of the apt. on (date). I will, of course, pay rent until the end of the month, but I'll be using my security deposit for that.
* blah, blah, Room for me?
No, I'm just going to be moving on my own
* blah, blah, Why/But we agreed/Blah?
I've decided to move on my own. I'm not planning on having a rommate.
* blah, blah, Why/But we agreed/Blah?
No, I'm just going to be moving on my own

The sooner you make this clear, the better. There's nothing wrong with your decision. Your failure to communicate your decision is causing problems.
posted by theora55 at 2:43 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


You've been perfectly clear.

When the roommate suggested moving with the OP, the OP 'didn't address it'. When the roommate asked what his rent would be in the new place, the OP replied "I'll think about it."

I agree the roommate shouldn't have been so pushy about it, but the OP has been anything but clear; they've ranged from tacit (not addressing it) to explicit ("I'll think about what your rent will be") consent.

Which does not, of course, obligate the OP to let the roommate move in with them. But they do need to be a grownup and have a clear, direct conversation about it -- in person, not by text message. This would have been a much easier situation if the OP had just done that in the first place.
posted by ook at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


What if the OP intends to rent out a room, just not to him? That could scupper the 'I want to live on my own' excuse.

If that's the case, perhaps you could try 'I'm looking for someone long term, not someone who'll be moving out within a few months due to the wedding. Sorry!'
posted by twirlypen at 3:43 PM on February 21, 2012


Just be honest, clear, and firm this time, tonight.

You don't have to let him rent from you - it's your house, it's your decision, and there's nothing wrong with that - and hopefully your friendship won't be damaged, if that's your intention. Otherwise it'll be a looong 30 days (I'm assuming that's how long you'll be there as well).
posted by sm1tten at 4:29 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


He should have flat out asked you. Put the problem here is this:

He then asked me how much rent I wanted from him. This caught me off guard and I was not prepared for this conversation so I told him I'd think about it

You told him he could move in right there. Last he heard, you were trying to figure out how much rent you wanted, not whether he can move in. So if your "30 days notice" you supposedly gave him includes any time after that discussion, they don't count.

So, how much time does he actually have to find a new place from today? Depending on this guy's situation and if you want to stay friends with him, you might want to consider paying your share of the rent for an extra month so he actually has 30 days to look. (You might not want to stay friends with him, he sounds pushy.)

But, you do have to actually tell him he can't move in. You have to actually say the words. Don't engage him in an argument.
posted by spaltavian at 6:23 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't tell him you're going to rent the room to someone else. Lying is not the way to get out of this. Just be upfront and tell him you've had some serious second thoughts, are considering your boyfriend with this, and don't want a roommate.

If you're uncomfortable talking to him for the duration of this conversation, think what a PITA it will be to have him moving in then moving out again when he marries. Think about the joy of him cancelling the wedding, or asking if he and his wife could stay with you 'just until their apartment is ready.' OK, maybe the last two are pretty far out, but can you imagine how great THOSE conversations would be?
posted by BlueHorse at 7:33 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I told him I think I have given him enough notice to find other options (a little over 30 days).

You dodged, then said you'd think about it, and then you asked him if he could find a place? C'mon, that's not clear at all, you're expecting him to read your mind. Straighten this out, now, apologize for being so vague, and tell him that you have given it some thought and you don't want a roommate.
posted by desuetude at 10:56 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the roommate was pushy and to quote jayder, "willfully obtuse." I imagine the roommate has steamrolled over the OP more than once in the past year they've been living together.

I agree the roommate has known all along the OP did not intend to have him move into the new house.

In that spirit, it doesn't matter much what you say, as long as you draw a boundary, "I don't want to have a roommate situation in my new house - sorry."

- Great point about storing his personal items in your new home! The answer, should it come up is, "No. That won't be possible."
posted by jbenben at 3:06 AM on February 22, 2012


I think this is an Ask vs Guess thing. Get OK with saying No.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:10 AM on February 22, 2012


Is it about how to say no, or is it about feeling horribly guilty because you're saying no?

What could help you feel less guilty (an idea list, not a checklist)
- apologise for the misunderstanding
- explain the misunderstanding (you hadn't thought he was serious, you were avoiding conflict)
- express that you understand how much trouble you're causing him
- explain your point of view clearly (you really want to have this be a house of your own, you don't want to have to set up a roommate household then set it up again as a single household, then again as a couple household)
Think of things you'd be willing to do to help him:
- paying continued apartment rent (for how long?) so he can stay there till the wedding
- storing his stuff while he's in-between places
- (variation on storage) letting him pretend to live with you while spending 99.9% of his time at the fiancee's
- charging him exorbitant rent to live with you when you don't really want him to
- really nothing, he should just take his lumps and get on with life.

When you're thinking all this over, consider whether there's any magic bullet that would make you want this roommate situation - and avoid using false excuses. You don't want to say "We can't because of X" and then have him fix X and assume that mean "We can!"
posted by aimedwander at 7:01 AM on February 22, 2012


I find the roommate willfully obtuse, as well. If my roommate asked me to find another place to live, my answer would not be, "We'll see." It would be "What's up? Is everything okay? Did I misunderstand you? Let's talk," or it would be, "Well, it's your house that we're talking about here, so definitely." I might add, "Let's talk later," if I was upset.

You were not clear in the beginning because you didn't think he was serious. That's a valid reason. Lots of times people say, "I'm going to do x," and then don't do anything close to x. If I started declaring my feelings on everybody's supposed actions, I'd have way too many confrontations for my taste. Don't feel bad that you didn't lay it out right away. It's perfectly okay to wait and see.

Now is obviously the time to talk, though. Don't feel bad. You don't have to be brutally direct and I don't see the point in this case. I'd say something like bunderful's suggestion.
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:52 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


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