My roommate is driving me nuts and I'm wondering what my options are
May 9, 2013 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Basically I paid $400 (really cheap rent) for a small room sublet in Bensonhurst and one of my friends with benefits (who I knew for about a month), heard about my situation incidentally and kept on asking me to split rent with him in the Bronx. It's not a particularly bad area and it was financially feasible (he lives alone and his dad pays half his rent just as a nice gesture, so we'd split the remaining amount - $250 a month on me and the rest on him - about the same). So primarily for financial reasons, as I could save money on rent, I started moving my things and called my landlord to tell him I'm leaving this month within a couple weeks.

So it comes to this... me and him have some fun and it seems all fine until his female friend has to stay with him for a short while. He and her speak Spanish most of the time, so I only understand like 20% of the Spanish. They both seem to have their own shared issue with me, which I feel is due to some jealousy of attention as each one thinks the other one is spending more time with me than themselves.

He's become a total tyrant recently (after all the fun has passed and he's basically gotten past me in his adventures). I would say that he has few real friends and feels like he's my parent. He is always asking me where I am and feels like my business is his business. He gets negative and offensive to me and gets rabid when I don't let him get into my personal business, even threatening to get me out of his place. I don't mind that he's a neat-freak - that is not really a problem as I try my best to keep things neat around the place. Sometimes I feel that he is mentally unstable.

The lease is on him and his dad, even though he lives there by himself.

I originally left my grandpa's apartment (technically stepgrandpa's place) before I moved into my old room sublet because he was financially leeching off me and would read my mail despite me not giving permission and would live large at my expense even though he'd make $60,000 and live in a rent-controlled apartment.

I'm wondering what I should do. Should I try to get back to the old place or should I stay at my convenience until I find something better? Is there something better? Like a better apartment or somewhere I can stay that fits into my income? I make $40,000 a year currently as a mobile developer in a company working full-time 5 days a week.

I'm wondering if there are any other options that I have other than attempting to get back to my old place. If I will have to move my bags again, I would rather move them to a newer and nicer place than my old place.
posted by antgly to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What do you think is a reasonable amount you could pay for rent each month? $400/mo and $250/mo seem like really cheap rents for this area and I am unsure if you could find something "newer and nicer" than your old room for a similar rate.
posted by coupdefoudre at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd go back to the $400 sublet: the extra $150/month you're saving with psycho-roomie doesn't sound worth your peace of mind.
posted by easily confused at 9:55 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Figure out your priorities and work from there.

Is your priority cheap rent? If so, stay where you are if you can and grit your teeth, or move in with a family member if possible. Or, go find a cheap house-share with someone you don't have baggage with.

Is it a drama-free life? If so, move out asap. Bugger rent - go wherever you can go soonest, whether it's staying with a friend or relative or an apartment that costs a bit more than where you are now.

Is it a "newer and nicer" pad? If so, start looking and find ways to save on cash, starting today, that mean you can budget for a higher rent.

Me personally, I'd put drama-free life first, then living somewhere I liked. So I'd get out asap, stay anywhere I could get a bed, and then prioritise finding somewhere really nice to live where I'd be happy for a good while. But your priorities may differ.
posted by greenish at 9:55 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Moving in with a FWB (!) who you've known for only 1 month (!!) before moving in and in that short time, you're already noticing serious personality conflicts (!!!) seems like a recipe for disaster.

You're not on the lease, so your options are nearly unlimited - anywhere you can afford, basically. That limit entirely depends on your budget and preferences, but unless you have any crazy-high expenses, it's very likely that you could afford higher rent than 400$ (As a student I pay $700 rent on a $20k net income, which is higher than I'd prefer but totally doable).

If you're happy with the $400 and you're able to move back to that, I'd go with that option. I doubt you'll find lower rent than that unless you luck out with another unique situation like this (but with less drama).
posted by randomnity at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm basically wondering where would be a good place to look for an apartment in the NYC five boroughs (not Staten Island, though). Something which is reasonable and will not be a rundown place.
posted by antgly at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2013

The High Price Of Low Cost.

This is a truism generally in life, but especially when it comes to living situations. As a safe nest is one of the bedrock factors of a Generally Healthy Life, I think you should stop selling yourself short, and make a Strong Move.

You can find short-term places to rent on AirBNB – if you put in two/three months for a private room, you'll see a lot of people have monthly rates. I would detach yourself from any anchoring done to the previous two "rent" prices you've been paying and go for something that will give you some privacy and stability whilst you find a permanent place.

We usually don't make our best decisions (especially about NYC housing) under time pressure. You may pay a bit more for a short-term place, but it will probably be worth it in terms of piece of mine and lead you to a better place after that.
posted by nickrussell at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]

FWIW. Husbunny had a great, top floor flat, in Bayside, Queens for $900 per month, 12 years ago.

His downstairs neighbors were jerks and his super (the troll who lived in the basement) was a complete asshole.

But the place itself was pretty nice.

Before that, he and his ex rented a place on Roosevelt Island which he liked, it was a one bedroom in a high rise.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:30 AM on May 9, 2013

You are making $40,000 a year as a mobile developer in NYC? There is something so completely, utterly, off-the-charts wrong with that number that it just doesn't make any sense. You should have a really hard time making less than $80-$90k, which would incidentally solve all your rent problems. What am I missing here?
posted by rada at 10:32 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I started my job about 6-7 months ago, so maybe that is why? I'm 22 years old.

My job title is technically Assistant Software Engineer, but I'm considered a Junior Developer.
posted by antgly at 10:34 AM on May 9, 2013

Being 22 years old is a reason to get $80k and not $120k+ that a mid to senior level developer would. Not having a degree does complicate things somewhat, but then, neither do I, and I've never made that little. (I currently have a few still-in-college interns working for me, in the Midwest, and they make more).

Obviously, I don't have all the facts but it sure seems that your company is taking massive advantage of your inexperience in the job market. I strongly advise that you call a few recruiters and talk to them about your situation. (Don't send them your resume, just tell them your skillset and ask them what they think they could get you).

IM me if you'd like a referral, or to talk more.
posted by rada at 10:57 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Well to answer your main question:

1) Start looking for a new place NOW

2) Make sure your old place is available

3) If you can't find a place within say a few weeks to a month, move back to your old place

Why? Because this guy IS unstable. I had a roommate who started threatening me like that. I called the cops on him. If I would have called the cops on him the first time, his threats were so bad he would have been arrested. I didn't know it at the time. (Some of my other roommates would just say "Oh, that's just how he is.")

Either way, this guy could snap, and it's not okay. You need to flat out, get the hell out of there. His current behavior is already abusive.

4) Figure out your work stuff and pay later, most important is being in a safer environment
posted by Crystalinne at 11:14 AM on May 9, 2013

$40k is still PLENTY for a better living situation than this. Have you been paying rock-bottom rents just because price is literally the only thing you've been considering in apartment hunting until now? Or do you have some huge debts or something else eating up all of your income? There are tons of young people living comfortably on $40k/year or less in New York. If you can pay $1000/mo, you can get a nice room in a shared apartment with sane roommates in most parts of the city (not Manhattan below 125th st, but in some nice neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, absolutely). If you can't go that high, you can still find some legitimate $800-900/mo rents in apartment shares in Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and maybe still some parts of Crown Heights. Craigslist rooms/shared is your best friend. Go visit a bunch of places in person and meet the roommates before signing anything. If you want to stay below $800, I don't know if you'll get out of the world of shady sublets and weirdo roommates.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:17 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wtf? i was making half that, and considering renting a $650 a month + utilities place i was sure i could comfortably afford. 40k a year should be close to 3k a month take home. Where is your cash going? You don't need to be misering this hard and spending some tiny fractional amount of your income on rent. At this stage of their lives, a lot of people are spending 1/2 their income on rent. You could easily be spending 1/3rd(the "recommended" amount) and still be living incredibly comfortably.

Even by that weird NYC-specific rule of "income x40" you could be spending 1k a month on rent and most landlords would still wave you along. Go rent a studio/room for let by yourself and get the hell away from weird situations and crappy roommates.

I can empathize too. After i got my first "real" job i spent another couple years living in sharehouses with friends and weird people. It took a bunch of pretty egregious shit for me to finally slap myself and walk away from it. I've only had actually my own place(well, with my girlfriend, but that's a lot different) for less than a month now, and i already feel a hell of a lot healthier from the lack of stress.

Stop involving yourself in these situations entirely. You can afford it, you deserve it, and you will feel so the fuck much better when you're on the other side of the fence. Start looking at places on craigslist right now. Go check out at least one place tomorrow. Start the gears turning. Get the hell out.
posted by emptythought at 4:06 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I moved back to my place last night. My landlord said it was fine for me to move back. There was a scandal upon which I took my stuff and brought it back to my place during the late night hours, but it was worth it. The scandal was over me leaving and there were threats made against me, but at least I'm out of there.
posted by antgly at 10:35 AM on May 10, 2013

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