Living with friend who owes me rent
October 27, 2014 3:57 AM   Subscribe

I live in a two bedroom flat which is owned by myself and my brother. She gets a discount half price, which goes to my brother. She owes several months rent, and now I don't know what to do.

My brother is very laid back and hasn't asked for rent, but I have it all in a separate account that I will give him whenever he wants. He lives in another country. I wasn't checking how often she was paying because I trust her, but I looked recently and she's paid 5 months out of 12. We are very close and I love living with her, but I feel really uncomfortable now. We are both struggling here in this expensive city, and I know she has money issues. But her family are quite well off, whereas my mum has the bailiffs after her and my dad is also not very rich, so this flat is a security for my brother and I as we can't rely on our parents for money and may have to even help them some day!
I feel guilty asking her for money as she's my friend and I don't even have to pay rent. How should I tell her? Also I spoke to my brother about this and we now think it's best that maybe I get someone else to move in, in a few months, who isn't my friend and who actually pays full price. He really likes her and hasnt pressured Her for rent, but it isn't fair that my friend gets to live here and won't even pay... How do I tell her this? It means she will have to move out and probably won't be able to afford to live in this city anymore, and it could possibly break up our friendship. She's been a really good person to live with, has made the flat look really nice and cosy, and it's nice not living with a stranger. If anybody has been through somethng like this or has any advise Id really appreciate it, thank you.
posted by akita to Human Relations (35 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you're jumping the gun a bit by pushing this all the way to eviction right off the bat. Have you tried talking to her about the money? Something like, "Friend, Brother and I were checking our records and it looks like there's quite a bit of back rent owed for this apartment. Would it make sense for us to start up some sort of payment plan? Because Brother (or parents?) has $EXPENSE coming up and it's pretty rough on him not to have this squared away."

If she's a nice person, then that might be enough-- she may be assuming it's somehow okay because nobody's ever even mentioned the 7 months (!) of missed rent so far. If she says she can't pay, THEN you can transition, in a totally civil way, to "We totally understand if it's too pricey a place, with the economy being what it is. i'll start putting up some flyers, and could you maybe mention us to anybody you know who's looking for a room?"
posted by Bardolph at 4:14 AM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes, you need to give her the benefit of the doubt first. Perhaps something like what Bardolph suggests, but you could suggest there may have been a bank problem: "Friend, we've been doing the accounts and brother and I noticed that no rent has been transferred from you for 7 months. Can you check with your bank? Or is there another problem."
Don't jump the gun -- maybe it's an honest mistake (or a bank mistake) and if not, then maybe she can agree to pay the rent by a set date from here on in, with extra (half?) to make up the shortfall.
But you need to talk and not get stressed before the discussion. Practice and don't make excuses for asking. She already has a good deal -- and don't think it's not fair that you don't pay and she does. It is your place -- you're responsible for maintenance, taxes, etc. Good luck.
posted by bwonder2 at 4:21 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think Bardolph's got it covered. You definitely need to have a conversation first but make it clear that non payment means you'll be getting another flat mate. Ask your brother how he would like to deal with collecting back rent, unless this is in your hands.
posted by Jubey at 4:21 AM on October 27, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. The rent has been paid on and off for example in May she paid, then paid in July. Also it wouldn't be until September because that is what my brother and i agreed on. I'd happily have her live with me for longer than that but my brother says it isn't fair that he gets paid half the rent when he could be getting double if it was a working professional living there.
posted by akita at 4:53 AM on October 27, 2014

So you have two issues. One is unpaid back half-rent. The other is that the landlord (brother) wants full rent.

I'd suggest informing the tenant that the rent is doubling in 60 days. That gives them plenty of time to find other living arrangements and you plenty of time to find a new tenant. Write off the unpaid half-rent - if she couldn't/didn't pay it when it was her only expense, she can't/won't when she's got to pay it elsewhere.

Living with friends is nice. Doing business with friends is not. Rent to *tenants.*
posted by headnsouth at 5:17 AM on October 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

So you and your brother have this amazing asset, and you feel guilty that others don't. You need to accept that someone in your life gifted you with this awesome legacy and wanted you to have security. It would be nice if we could all have such a thing, but sadly, it can't be. So step #1, stop feeling guilty about it.

Sit down with your roommate and say, "Cynthia, you know how much I love living with you and I'd love for you to continue on, but David and I were going over the rent receipts and it seems that you're a total of 7 months in arrears. We've been negligent in bringing this to your attention and we need to sort out a way to get you caught up. If the place is just too expensive, as much as I'd hate to lose you as a roommate, we can put it on the market and find someone else to take your spot, and you can find housing that's more in line with your budget."

She just may not be able to afford the flat, and she might not have thought it was an issue because no one ever told her that it was. In the future, be proactive and don't let things pile up like this.

But again, your friend knows too much about your finances if she feels comfortable stiffing you more often than not for the rent. Would she have decided to be your roommate or not paid rent if she knew that you were paying a landlord? Probably not.

Also, your brother is right. Rightly, this is HIS money, not yours. She's not stiffing you, or the both of you, she's stiffing HIM.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:27 AM on October 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

Have you talked to her about this yet at all? Have you asked her why she isn't paying rent, and what needs to happen in order for her to pay rent? Asking someone to pay rent for the place they live is 100% fair. You and your brother seem really excessively conflict-averse about this... I'm not sure if that's a cultural thing or a personal thing. Please start by talking to her.
posted by mskyle at 5:30 AM on October 27, 2014

I'd happily have her live with me for longer than that...

Fine, but how much are you willing to pay for the privilege? It's not fun to look at social situations through a purely financial lens, but if her nominal rent is half of the market rate and she's only paying 5/12 of that, then you're currently giving up roughly 80% of the market value of her part of the space so that you can enjoy living with her. You're also foisting a large part of that cost onto your brother, and it sounds like he's no longer willing to accept that, so you may soon have to absorb the entire 80% yourself. Is the enjoyment you get out of living with her worth that much? If not, there's no avoiding drawing some pretty hard lines for her.
posted by jon1270 at 5:31 AM on October 27, 2014

Also, re: your brother's preferences for a full-paying tenant, it'd be helpful in this scenario for you guys to also figure out, respectively, (a) how much it's worth to you, in monetary terms, to live with a friend vs. a stranger-- e.g., would you pay $30 per month extra? $40?; and (b) how much it's worth to your brother to have you living onsite, where you can look after the place and take care of issues, vs. you living elsewhere with friends and renting out your half of the place as well, and him having to hire a superintendent to oversee the day-to-day renting stuff.

In this scenario, your roommate's actual "fair" rent, from your brother's perspective, should not be double the current value. He should discount that doubled rate by the value to him of having you as an onsite landlord (since that's a benefit he's getting from you, at the cost to you of having to give up the opportunity to freely pick your roommates); and you should probably be willing to pay him whatever it'd be worth to you to keep your friend as a roommate. I mention it only because the final total your friend needs to pay might well be considerably less than 2X her current rent, which might be a factor in her decision to stay or leave.

It's also worth pointing out to your brother that some substantial percentage of new tenants turn out to be flaky, crazy, destructive and/or otherwise expensive and problematic; so there's probably some value to him in keeping this (sane, tidy) woman as a tenant, even if it means getting slightly below market rate for the place going forward.
posted by Bardolph at 5:38 AM on October 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

The rent has been paid on and off for example in May she paid, then paid in July.

So, she probably thinks it's OK that she only pays once in a while, because no one has said anything. Either she thinks you've noticed and are not fussed enough to say anything, or that you just don't need the money period. Kind of a silly thing to assume, but she's gotten used to not paying and I think this is going to come as a shock to her. Also the demand for several months' rent will be for a huge (to her) amount of money, impossible to come up with immediately.

So I think you have to prepare what you are going to say, and what the goal is. If you and your brother have really decided to kick her out, then she would be somewhat justified in feeling railroaded because no one has said anything and then suddenly she is out. You'll have to explain that it was not enough rent in the first place and perhaps give her a chance to pay the new, larger amount if she wants to stay. If, on the other hand, you just want to give her a chance to be up to date on the current rent amount, then it probably can't just be pay up immediately or you are out. This situation is partly about your inattentiveness in letting the back rent mount up. In your shoes and if I wanted her to stay at the current rates, I would ask for the money to be paid back over time, with maybe a discount in recognition of the fact that you both let it mount up.

As far as her family having a lot of money-- don't count other people's money and certainly not other people's family's money. A lot of people's parents seem to have a lot of money, but it's not available to them. Sure, suggest one time that she borrow from her parents or something but don't be surprised if that is not possible.
posted by BibiRose at 6:09 AM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Part of being an adult is being responsible about your bills. That doesn't mean we can always pay them -- but it does mean we should be communicating when we can't. It can be scary to have conversations like this, especially with friends. Your roommate might be terrified of talking to you about it because she's afraid you're going to do exactly what you're suggesting above: just evict her without talking to her about what's going on. That doesn't mean you shouldn't start the conversation. It just means empathy is going to be key in working with her as you set boundaries and encourage her to communicate openly with you about her financial situation.

I might say something like, "Hey friend, brother and I wanted to talk about rent. Right now it's being paid inconsistently and that's putting him in a tight spot. I can't cover the missing portions. Can we figure out a way to get things balanced and consistent again?"

Be very, very careful about being manipulated though. Let her off the hook for one month max maybe. But don't get suckered in to just forgiving all of it. Again, she's an adult. She can deal with this. It's her responsibility. Just be kind about it, as I am sure you will be.

Hope it all works out.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:21 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

First off, you own 50% of this flat and it sounds like you are sharing your living space with her so it's not purely about the money your brother gets. It's also about your comfort and attaching monetary value to that.

If you want to continue to live with her I'd look at ways to make that possible:

-can she provide other services to you or your brother to make up for the back rent?
-can she do more chores around the house? Clean and cook more to cover some of her rent?
-can she move to the smaller one of the rooms or give up some of her living space so that what she pays is actually fair in comparison? (some people are fine to live in a closet space if that means they can afford to stay in Awesomecity)
- would she be okay to share her room with an additional roommate to cover the rent? (would you be okay with one more person in the flat?)
-talk to her - she should pay you back and let you know how she plans to cover rent going forward

You are not required to support her or cover her expenses, however if you are close, you might choose to help her out. Life is not all about money, and support from friends and family can be invaluable at times. If she is one of the people you hold near and dear, and you believe she is a good friend and would help you out were you in a pickle, you might want to work something out with her.

To me, the paying pattern (paying in May, then in July again) suggests that she is willing to pay. I think mean spirited people would have stopped paying all together as soon as they discovered it had no consequences.

If you have already decided that it is best if she moves out, let her know as soon as possible. Give her adequate time to make other living arrangements or organize her move away from your current city. Be fair, but firm.

Anyway, this will change the dynamic between the two of you and it is not your fault. Best of luck.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:02 AM on October 27, 2014

If you are managing the asset for you and your brother, then it is your responsibility to collect rent.
posted by Flood at 8:48 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Your chances of ever seeing this money are slim, to be quite frank. Her half of the rent for 7 months is going to certainly be in the low four figures even if she's only paying a few hundred a month. Even if she had the money at one point, you can guarantee that after pulling this 7 times over a year, the money is gone now.

If you think she has the cash, you could also immediately up her rent to 1.5x her current rent, plus repayment for rent in arrears, which would solve both your and your brothers' problem. But again, I would put money on that not going well. People that are responsible with money don't let this happen in the first place.

You should talk to her first, just in case it's some sort of administrative error, but chances are she's well aware that she hasn't paid rent and just thinks you don't care. Your best bet is going to be to throw her out and get somebody to pay 1.5-1.75x of her rent to make up the difference over time.
posted by zug at 9:00 AM on October 27, 2014

As nice as this friend might be in other ways, she is really taking advantage of you and your brother in an uncool way. It would be one thing if you had some sort of agreement like "Hey, we have this apartment, you are welcome to crash here and chip in with some extra money when you have it." But, instead your agreement was for a specific amount of rent, which she then chose not to pay. (I find it hard to believe this was an administrative error - even if it was a situation of a failed direct debit or something similar, she should still have noticed that her bank account was too high and the rent money never got taken out...I can believe a mistake/overlooking a bank error for one or two months, but seven months? That's just not plausible.)

So, I would approach her politely but firmly. "Hey, brother and I just reviewed the accounts, and your rent money is missing for seven of the past 12 months. Can you tell me what's up?" She makes whatever excuses, and then you say "Hey, I'm really sorry to hear that money has been tight, but unfortunately brother and I simply don't have the means to provide this room rent free. I hate to lose you as a roommate since you've been a great friend to me, but I'll need you out by the end of the month so that we can find a replacement tenant who will pay on time."

If she ends up paying the back rent, that will be a nice surprise, but I wouldn't count on it. Most important here is to correct the problem going forward.
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:26 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

She stiffed you seven times and never even brought it up for discussion? If I understand this correctly, she's not showing you much respect or consideration.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 9:42 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with pretty much everyone else that there is no chance that this was accidental and that, while it isn't guaranteed that this will be the end of your friendship and the end of your living together, that you should begin preparing yourself for that as a likely outcome.

Your best case scenario is that she's just cheerfully oblivious to how unacceptable this is -- both to your brother, to whom she owes a substantial sum of money, and to you, who she has put in a terribly awkward situation -- but very few people are really that clueless. But whether she just wasn't aware, or whether she somehow rationalized that it was OK to deprive your brother of thousands of dollars she had promised (over and above the benefit of below-market-rate rent that she was already receiving!) you had better be prepared for her to be extremely defensive when the issue gets raised.

If your brother is willing to play the bad guy here (and there's no reason he should have to, but it will be easier because he doesn't have the same compromised relationship to her, mixing business and friendship, that you do..) he should probably just begin standard proceedings against her and you should offer perfunctory sympathy ("gosh, that's terrible but it's between the two of you..") but not otherwise get involved.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:56 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's some good advice here, and I would just add the point that if she's in a situation of low income, high expenses, and a lack of feedback, it's easy for a person in her situation to rationalize a situation like this. Yes, she's aware that she's not paid some months of rent but she's probably taken the lack of pushback on that as enough of a sign that it's 'acceptable' that she may well have just sort of swept the issue under a subconscious rug, probably making an internal promise/assumption that she'll pay it back later but not really putting the money away for that with no immediate motivation to do it. THat kind of thinking is easy to fall into.

That doesn't excuse it or clear her obligation, to be sure, but if she's your friend I hope you will be able to approach this in an understanding way. Of course, it's fully your/your brother's prerogative to want to take on a full-paying tenant, and to try to recover as much as possible of the back-rent as possible. But also be aware that it may simply be impossible for her to pay you back on any kind of meaningful timescale, at least not fully, and you may have to prepare yourself to write off some or all of the debt unless you're willing to pursue it in court (which, yes, would almost certainly mean an end to the friendship). That also carries risks of potential court expenses, time and effort to find a new tenant, dealing with the issues of living with a stranger, etc. The balance of that part is up to you.

You can and should bring it up with her, and bringing it out in the open may well provide her with a certain amount of relief (alongside the stress of having to deal with the financial implications). The suggestions above on how to handle/phrase it sound good to me. I would present her with the numbers, and ask her to go and sit down and work out a budget of how much she can realistically afford for both rent and back-rent. It sounds like she doesn't have much to spare; even paying 1.5 times her current rate it'd take a bit over a year to pay back the full debt. For that reason, if you want to work out a sustainable arrangement, then writing off a certain amount of the debt may help. But if you want to keep her, a compromise from both sides will probably be needed.

Best of luck to all three of you.
posted by Drexen at 10:10 AM on October 27, 2014

I think you also need to look into the legal situation where you live. She's not just your friend, she's your tenant. And as such she has rights too. Clearly living there rent free isn't one of them, but you probably can't just heave her out without some kind of due process. It's also possible that you can't double her rent in one go, either at all (some places have caps on rent increases) or without some kind of notification period. So you need to be sure that whatever you and your brother decide is legal.

I'm not saying you should be jumping to laws and lawyers. I agree with all of the above that talking to her first as a friend to ask what's up is the best first step and that this doesn't need to be adversarial. But knowing your rights and legal responsibilities will help protect everyone involved in the long run.
posted by shelleycat at 11:11 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

On top of what everyone else has said, maybe bring up all your costs -- property taxes, insurance, "preparing to replace the roof [or water heater, or whatever is likely to go out first]," etc. She may be rationalizing "akita and her brother just got this via inheritance; they're not paying anything and I already paid them something; can't they share some of their good fortune with me?" Instead, the situation is: you guys are splitting the costs of maintaining this house, and you already determined that her share was $X/month, and you guys are counting on her to pay her share.
posted by salvia at 2:50 PM on October 27, 2014

I think you also need to look into the legal situation where you live. She's not just your friend, she's your tenant. And as such she has rights too. Clearly living there rent free isn't one of them, but you probably can't just heave her out without some kind of due process.

The OP, I believe, lives in London (or at least the UK) and if he owns the flat, that makes her a lodger (an 'excluded occupier') . Which gives him a lot more power and her a lot less rights/recourse than a normal renter-landlord arrangement. He only needs to give 'reasonable notice' which isn't actually defined. It doesn't sound like he is going to play hard-ball in any case, but if he so chose then the law is mostly on his side.
posted by K.P. at 3:07 PM on October 27, 2014

Fyi, op, it has sometimes been my experience that people from very wealthy or privileged backgrounds take this kind of thing for granted because the world they come from values these kind of things a lot less, as they are in abundance and informal giving away of resources happens much more frequently. She may be assuming that it's completely fine as free accommodation for months or ad hoc pay back is common where she comes from. So it could be a cultural issue in a way too. She may not have any inkling of how you guys think about this property and investment in it.

I would gently flag that your brother need the rent paid back, if she is not forthcoming about addressing it, you need to get her to move out, say your brother needs the money and will be increasing the rent by more than double. Your bro is not around, make him a convenient driver of this change.
posted by smoke at 3:27 PM on October 27, 2014

Response by poster: Really good advice so far, thank you! I wouldn't even think of evicting her on short notice, I was thinking more around next September so in 10 or 11 months time. This is because it is fair that my brother gets the full price of rent, even if it means I live with a stranger, but it is what we agreed on. My friend has been on several holidays this year, so though she says she's short for money, I know she earns more than me and takes taxis etc, but I doubt I'll ever see that money in which case I'll have to pay her bit to my brother to avoid family conflict. I hate conflict but I feel like she is sort of taking advantage here, and like a poster said, she doesn't see paying monthly as a privilege as she comes from a wealthy family where staying somewhere for free won't imact on others. I will talk to her when she gets back and let you know how it goes.
posted by akita at 3:56 PM on October 27, 2014

If she is not going to even attempt to pay that money back, please do not let her stay for another 10 months, especially if that means you paying it. Are you serious?!
posted by kinddieserzeit at 4:04 PM on October 27, 2014 [8 favorites]

I feel really bad for you. Right now she is metaphorically robbing you. If she were to literally rob would you still want her around? And why would her coming from a wealthy family mean she doesn't have to follow through on her agreement to pay rent? Wealthy people have to honor agreements too. Do you want to owe 17 months rent (if she doesn't pay any more rent until next September that's how much you'll owe) to your brother because you can't handle conflict? Stop making excuses for her. You trusted her to pay rent and she hasn't honored that trust. I doubt she'd be as considerate of you if she were in your shoes. I know this, because she isn't considerate of you in her shoes.
posted by Green With You at 5:32 PM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

OP, you should not allow this issue or your friend to get between you and your brother. If your brother wants your friend out, you should respect that. And you own 50% of that flat, so you'll be getting a cut from the new tenant's rent as well!
You said you and your friend are struggling financially - so you could really use that rent money from a new tenant it seems. And per your update, I am not so sure if your friend is strapped for cash after all....
posted by travelwithcats at 5:34 PM on October 27, 2014

I was in a very similar situation except i was renting the place, not owning it, and subletting a room to the person. It was in a very desirable location that was usually $$$ and i probably could have gotten more for the room.

It ended with the person up and moving out quickly with basically no notice because i was so mean for asking them to not only start paying rent, but make some kind of plan to at least pay some of the money they owed in a reasonable timeframe.

I hate conflict but I feel like she is sort of taking advantage here

Yea because she fucking is. She blew all her money on vacations because she didn't have to pay rent and she knew it. When i finally exploded on the guy doing this routine to me, it was because i came home from work one day and he had bought a top of the line gaming laptop.

The speech i'd give would basically be the effect of "i'm not kicking you out tomorrow, but you have to pay rent on time at the beginning of november. rent is also going up 25% the month after that" and then pretend you didn't use the rent, and use that collect the back-rent. Because you never will see anything otherwise.

I felt like i was projecting until i read your update, and i still do a bit, but once someone has been sort of trained in to thinking they can get away with this they'll always blow their money on non-essential things first and then suddenly have no money for paying you back, or even rent.

And honestly, i think that as soon as you try and get her to pay up she's going to ghost. I just came home one day to that guy being gone, having moved in with his girlfriend in a cheaper shittier place further away.

Basically, she knows that you're not going to put your foot down because so much time has gone by. She paid just enough to keep up hope and not turn it in to a "she never pays" thing and keep it ambiguous. The fact that you haven't said anything pegs you as conflict avoidant in her mind which you yourself admitted you are. Whether or not she is consciously fucking you over, you're still subconsciously not someone to be afraid of. Rent has become as optional as ordering pizza.

Whatever you do though, don't pay for her. You're fully within your rights morally and whatever else to go "hey, you said you'd pay and you're not, either pay or get out in 30 days". It's not your fucking problem what she does after that. And someone like this is never going to be destitute on the street. Hell, you say she earns more than you. It's her problem now.
posted by emptythought at 6:17 PM on October 27, 2014

There is avoiding conflict and then there is being walked all over like a doormat, and I'm afraid you're talking about going far beyond the former into the territory of the latter. You don't have to allow her to stay for so much longer because it is "nice", that concept doesn't apply to situations like this where so much money is at stake. The reason you are getting upset responses from other answerers here is because you're letting her get away with something she's doing that is wrong/irresponsible/jerkish and you are strangely only minimally perturbed by it. Just remember that if she has an agreement to pay this rent amount, then the wrongness of not paying has nothing to do with how much it harms you and your brother or how much you 'need' the money. It's just wrong, period, regardless of how much you need it - sort of like you can't just steal a computer from the Apple Store just because Apple is a wealthy company that doesn't need your money to keep itself afloat.

Your latest update about her making more than you but yet you volunteering to pay her share of over a year's worth of rent is kind of jaw dropping - and makes me think you need therapy to address what appears to be a very, very extreme case of conflict avoidance...

And please, when you get a new renter (which I really hope is sooner than 11 months from now, unless the current one starts paying up), have that person sign a formal lease agreement.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:27 PM on October 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

we can't rely on our parents for money and may have to even help them some day!

10, 20, years from now, this day will come. Either they will need your financial assistance, and/or you will find yourself wanting to help them. You have also posted previously about possibly returning to school, but at the same time expressed concern about the financial consequences.

And now, you have essentially paid the rent of a wealthy friend for 7 months.

You really need to consider what your financial priorities are.
posted by invisible ink at 9:33 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Look, in your discussion with her, point out if she moves out, rent will be higher. If it wouldn't be - great! She can move out now!

She needs to start paying FULL rent, to make up for the unpaid months, and she needs to start paying it WHEN SHE GETS PAID. Not monthly. Rent is the FIRST thing to be paid, not the last thing, and you will be doing her a big, big favor in life to help her learn this now.

I would recommend setting up an automatic payment with her bank, so the money goes out on the same day she gets paid. If she is bad with money, and gets taxis - it may not make much of a practical difference to her. I know that sounds weird, but many people I know who are bad with money, just spend their money til they're broke, and then bumble along being broke. If the money is there, they'll spend it, if it isn't, they won't.

Also, yes, you need to be more proactive about making sure someone else is paying you rent, and noticing a little sooner than in 7 months. But, that doesn't mean you should be only blaming yourself. She IS the one who put you in this situation, which is not fair.

What I've always done for renting situations with housemates (of which I have been in many):
Everyone is 3 weeks ahead in their rent.
If they miss or are late with their rent, and are not caught up in one week, you start advertising for another housemate. You then have two weeks to find a housemate. If they really sort themselves out, you're only out the cost of advertising for a new flatmate, which is less than covering their rent.
Everyone knows the deal going in, and you actually start advertising when you say you will.
posted by Elysum at 10:34 PM on October 27, 2014

After your update, I'm feeling less sympathetic towards her.

Really good advice so far, thank you! I wouldn't even think of evicting her on short notice, I was thinking more around next September so in 10 or 11 months time. This is because it is fair that my brother gets the full price of rent, even if it means I live with a stranger, but it is what we agreed on.

Does "what we agreed on" refer to the period of time that she is supposed to stay? Not knowing how much money is involved, I wonder if you could strike a bargain where she stays on for a while with the understanding that she pay her current rent plus whatever amount monthly would pay you back for the missing rent over the whole period of time. That way she stays for the period you agreed, at the amount you agreed. This would be to her advantage in obvious ways and would offset to some extent your losses so far.
posted by BibiRose at 4:08 AM on October 28, 2014

Wait, you're going to PAY your roommate's rent!? So not only is she not paying you, you're going to make up the difference? AND you're going to let her keep doing this for another YEAR??? I'm sorry, but that's nuts. Like, "what aren't you telling us" nuts.

No wonder she's walking all over you, you're laying on the ground and rolling a red carpet over yourself to make it so she doesn't scuff up her shoes when she does it! Good lord man, tell her to pay rent or GTFO. If you're going to pay her half of the rent anyway, you might as well live by yourself and not have to deal with a housemate at all.
posted by zug at 1:48 PM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

Is it possible that she has the wrong impression of the situation? Is your rent agreement with her even in writing? It sounds like you informally asked her to pay half price and that neither you nor your brother has ever asked for rent. She might have figured that since you own the place, offered her a room at a nominal half-price, and have not been bothering to ask for that money in an entire year that it doesn't matter to you how much she pays and when.

I would start by asking her why she hasn't been depositing her rent regularly. I wouldn't be surprised if her answer was "I didn't think you cared."
posted by wrabbit at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2014


You can give her 60 days notice, which is liberal. And don't YOU cover her share.

You don't need to pay her for her to be your friend. If she'd stop being your friend over this clearly understandable situation....she's not really a friend.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you so much for the comments. It has given me a lot to think about. I am very bad with conflict and guilt, I can't deal with these emotions. I finally managed to speak to her and so the rent has gone up a couple hundred pounds so that she can pay it off gradually for the next half a year. She can't afford to pay it otherwise. But my brother and I still agree to get a new tenant in who can pay the full price, no more friends with business. Lesson learned.
posted by akita at 4:33 AM on November 5, 2014

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