I'm in the middle with a strange roommate/landlord situation. Any ideas on how I can gracefully get out of this unscathed, while making sure everyone is happy?
posted by dubious_dude to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have been living with 6 people since August 2012. For the first year (until August 2013), we all got along beautifully. Two of my roommates are also our landlords, which makes for kind of a sticky situation, but it's never been a problem, up to now. It's not relevant, but just wanted to throw it out there; we're all Deaf, and all guys (with one exception). When our lease expired, one roommate moved out, and another (one of the landlord's girlfriend) moved in.
After August 2013, the roommate dynamics began to change, and not for the better. A couple of roommates (including me) felt uncomfortable with the landlord's girlfriend, as she was bossy and often would dominate the kitchen, while telling us what to do in the kitchen. We all adapted, however. There were a few rough situations here and there, including one landlord, who got mad because he felt some of us were backstabbing him and his girlfriend, which wasn't true - some of us were just feeling uncomfortable. It was a bit of an ugly roommate meeting - in September 2013.
Note: that landlord is a hard person, generally, to get along with. I've known him since middle school, and he can be a very charming and nice guy, but also incredibly moody and sometimes hard to talk to. He, unfortunately, can be kind of a "bully" at times - ironically, he used to bully me in middle school (but we're way beyond that stage now). The other landlord is kind of a passive guy, doesn't often stand up for himself, but is generally a nice guy.
So, recently, things have truly took a turn for the worse. Landlord One has been more cranky than usual, and one time, I was in the living room when he and the other landlord was talking. I was just resting my head and casually sitting when Landlord One sharply asked me, with a very rude expression, to please not look at their conversation. I was very taken aback, as this was our common area, and I do pay rent, too, and I wasn't even looking at their conversation. I decided to let it go and treat it as an one-off.
Later on, he told me that I was one of the best roommates in the house (cleaning up all the time, etc), but said that one roommate was truly an awful roommate, and that he was very frustrated. I felt this was very unprofessional and definitely not acceptable, especially as he and said roommate were friends. I felt uncomfortable and somewhat intimidated to 'speak up' so just decided to listen to his rant.
Recently, said roommate went out of the country for a travel. He has been doing that more frequently, partly because he didn't feel uncomfortable at home and wanted the airline miles. During this recent weekend, both landlords group-texted all of us roommates, excluding said roommate, and asked "where is x roommate? serious question? did you see him leave?" - this made me very uneasy - why would they ask us and not include him on the text (he has an international texting plan). I may have made the potential mistake of sharing this group text with him when he got back last night, because I felt he had the right to know. He was outraged and wanted a roommate meeting.
I'm now afraid because I'm, frankly, the only obvious one who would have shared this group text with him. I asked him (said roommate) to keep this to himself, but he's enraged and had a funny feeling that the landlords entered his room, and I honestly can't blame him, but I'm also afraid I'm now in the midst of a potential thunderstorm. How can I get out of this? I thought about talking about the general tension in the house during the roommate meeting, then casually bringing up the recent text as an example, having said roommate interrupt me and ask 'what text?' and act dumb, thinking that the private group text excluding my roommate was part of the all-roommate text (it was also during superbowl, so that hopefully would help my credibility and have the landlords understand I just got mixed up and happened to bring it up, THEN said roommate would air his concerns about the private text excluding him. This way, I could save face and not 'get in trouble' for sharing that text.
I just wanted to help and share my concerns with said roommate, as I truly felt he had a right to know. Now, I'm afraid everything will spiral uglily, and I'll be blamed for sharing the text. But why do that in the first place? It doesn't make sense, nothing does. A beautiful roommate situation has became very ugly, potentially, and I need suggestions or solutions in how to get through this. Part of the problem is that said roommate is very...'who gives a bleep what others think?' so I'm afraid he may unintentionally 'out' me. I also HATE lying, but I feel I have to, to save face. I honestly didn't want to cause any drama, but I also felt that said roommate wasn't being treated right. I haven't told him about what Landlord One said about him behind his back (being the worst roommate).