Thinking about moving back to a roommate situation. Dumb choice?
March 13, 2019 8:39 PM   Subscribe

I was given an offer to move to a neighboring apartment complex across the street and join the lease of a deaf friend. Complications, though, more inside.

Two deaf roommates live in an apartment complex across the street from mine, both are friends of mine, and they're drama-free, awesome people. One of them is moving to his own condo, and needs a replacement for May-August (until when their lease expires). The other roommate will move out in August. They offered me the room (which would have my own ensuite bathroom) for about ~$300 less than what I currently pay in rent, which is significant savings in itself for me. I'm feeling tempted to take the offer and move in May. I'm OK with forfeiting about half of rent's worth of money (60 day notice) in May.

Their apartment complex (Avalon) is similar to mine (I'm at a Bozzuto property) - billed as a luxury apartment complex. It's actually a bit better in terms of amenities than mine (it has a hot tub and sauna on the rooftop!), and is one single building, vs. my building being a maze of three phases worth cobbled together. Its pool is also bigger.

The major drawbacks I'm seeing is:
-Once their lease expires in August, that means I'd have to either find a brand new roommate (negating any trust/comfort level I'd have living the short 2-3 months with the current person living there, who I know personally) or find a studio within that building, which would mean moving once again. The thought of searching for a roommate for a $3000+ 2bed/2bath apartment is making me nervous, especially as there are so many unknowns with that. I'm still not 110% over the previous bad roommate experience last year.
-My friends said that they expect (haven't received yet) the renewal offer to be very high, maybe upwards as high as 15%. That'd mean the $300 savings would only be a temporary thing, and I'd end up still paying almost as much as I'd be paying where I am in August and onwards (although I'd still be saving some money at Avalon vs. where I am now). I'd also have to pay a $550 amenity fee, which of course I'm prepared for.

I like where I am, don't get me wrong. It's just that the 3% (yes, I negotiated and got a counteroffer to go down from 5% to 3% for my yearly increase, see my previous Ask) is a lot to take in. I know I answered in my last Ask that I can stomach it, and I can! But it'd be nice to save some money. I'm a bit lured by the other building's amenities, but realize that isn't everything and isn't exactly practical. Then there'd be the hassle of moving (although I don't have that much possessions to move, and I can lug most of my stuff across the street quite easily).

I don't know, I'm just torn. It'd be nice to save a bit of money, and who knows, maybe Avalon's renewal offer would be less than 15%, and also, who knows, I'd find the right roommate (of course, I'd filter and screen them carefully first) and all will work out. I'm kind of stuck in this loop, though, so wanted some fresh insight from neutral outsiders, as well as to share any perspectives that I might be missing.

Another question: IF I do decide to move there, I'd be moving on the weekend of May 1. My lease expires May 8, but I was told by the office during the negotiation process that they often have wiggle room to extend the end of the lease by 2 weeks, pending a move. They did say they require 60 days notice, though, so if I were to give notice tomorrow (for example), my lease would expire on March 15 instead. I heard somewhere that, in DC, 60 days actually isn't enforceable and that 30 days is the minimum. Any recommendations on how to navigate that when/if I give notice, so I'd still be beholden to the original May 8 end date, saving some money on the May rent? I hope that made sense.
posted by dubious_dude to Human Relations (37 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
*my lease would expire on May 15 instead.
Quick correction just for clarification! Didn't want anyone to think I had to move out on Friday!
posted by dubious_dude at 8:42 PM on March 13, 2019

If I remember your story correctly, you've been tormenting yourself trying to find a tolerable living situation. Stick with what you have. Moving always costs more than you think it will.

(Good work on the negotiating, btw!)
posted by praemunire at 8:43 PM on March 13, 2019 [85 favorites]

How are you saving money by moving? You'll save $300 for three months, but eat half a month's rent, pay $550, and have a large rent increase on a more expensive apartment after that. And open yourself up to a new nightmare of trying to find new, no drama roommates in an apartment you can't afford on your own. Just enjoy being stable where you are and figure out somewhere else to cut your budget.
posted by momus_window at 8:57 PM on March 13, 2019 [38 favorites]

So ultimately you could end up paying the same or more as you are now, with unknown room mates, when all you've had so far is drama in that regards. Meanwhile, you like the room mates you have and you know how much you'll be paying where you are. Yeah, no hot tub is worth the potential downside. Stick to your current home. If you're friends with the residents in the other place, chances are you will get to use the pool and hot tub occasionally anyway.
posted by Jubey at 8:58 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Agreed. Stay where you are.
posted by crazy with stars at 8:58 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

One thing that helps me when I have a big decision like this is taking a sheet of paper and drawing a line down the middle horizontally and vertically. Now I have four quadrants. I label them: pros of moving, cons of moving, pros of staying, cons of staying. I actually did this exact thing when I recently decided to move myself. It helped me see that the cons of staying (bad neighbors, safety issues, really drafty windows) were a lot worse than the cons of moving (costs a little more, alters my routine) and the pros of staying (I like my balcony, I have a window in my shower) were not nearly comparable to the pros of moving (newly renovated apartment, walk to the gym).

I suspect if you do this for this move you'll decide that staying is definitely the best option. Congrats on negotiating a lower increase!
posted by sockermom at 9:06 PM on March 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'd have to either find a brand new roommate

Knowing what we know about you, absolutely do not do this. You might get lucky and find the perfect roomy but more realistically you'll end up with someone that will make you uncomfortable or drive you nuts that you'll be locked into a lease with. Nopenopenope.
posted by Candleman at 9:10 PM on March 13, 2019 [24 favorites]

This sounds exhausting, I would stay where I was.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:13 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I know you say they're drama-free, but living with friends can still be hard (good friend doesn't necessarily mean they're the right roommate for you) and like one of the posters above, I remember you having a tough time with some difficult living situations. I would strongly suggest staying where you are.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:14 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also - 3% feels like a lot, but the inflation rate last year was 2.4%. I understand wages don't always track inflation (believe me) but a 3% raise is not ridiculous. My kind of crummy apartment had an annual 2% increase built into my lease, for example. 3% isn't nothing, but it's not 15% (holy cow, what is that estimated increase about?!)
posted by sockermom at 9:15 PM on March 13, 2019

With respect, I actually can’t believe you’re asking this after your past issues with roommates!

Stay put!

If money’s an issue - would you consider making savings elsewhere in your budget, picking up a side gig or working extra hours?

If you’ve got greedy eyes on a building you think is fancier (I understand this), maybe redecorate your place, and/or see about a Y membership. (And remind yourself how nice it is to be free from roommate drama!)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:18 PM on March 13, 2019 [22 favorites]

If you're going to lose half a month's rent for early termination, plus having to kick in an extra $550 annually for the amenities fee, it doesn't even take a dramatic increase in the rent for you to not see much savings, if any (leaving aside the awful possibility of ever finding yourself without a roommate and having to cover the entire rent for any period of time).
If you can't save money with your current income/outgo scenario, you need to be thinking longer term about how you might either increase your income or genuinely reduce your rent (by moving to a cheaper part of the city or a more downscale building)--not chasing after even more luxurious luxury apartments with even more amenities, even if that is offset somewhat by having a roommate.
posted by drlith at 9:18 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think this move benefits your friends (because they won't have to pay to break their lease 3 months early) but doesn't really benefit you. If you want to live in a single in the nicer complex, you can arrange that on your own schedule.
posted by muddgirl at 9:29 PM on March 13, 2019 [11 favorites]

With respect, I actually can’t believe you’re asking this after your past issues with roommates!

I know. I just thought maybe some "exposure therapy" would help me become comfortable with roommates again, especially considering how expensive DC is.

Meanwhile, you like the room mates you have and you know how much you'll be paying where you are.

I actually live alone currently, and have done so for almost a year.

Stick with what you have. Moving always costs more than you think it will.

True dat.

That's why I asked, because I was hung up on the "good possibilities" (eye candy) of moving, but yeah, seeing all the answers so far helps remind myself that I should perhaps just stay where I am, and find a way to make more money, or cut back in other areas.
posted by dubious_dude at 9:45 PM on March 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

The only way I would move is if you could get the remaining roommate to stay with you. Otherwise, forget the amenities. How often would you use the hot tub on the roof? Make friends with someone in that complex and visit them.

(I do not follow you on the 60 days notice thing. If you current lease ends on May 1st, it ends on May 1st. I do not think they can just evergreen extend it until you give 60 days notice. Caveat is that I do not have a copy of your lease nor am I a real estate attorney, but that makes no sense to me.)
posted by AugustWest at 10:22 PM on March 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been following your epic stories of roommate issues. Please, please, please DO NOT MOVE.
posted by Toddles at 10:47 PM on March 13, 2019 [21 favorites]

Nope. You get one stressful month to move, three nice months, then another stressful madness month and a potentially hideous new housemate.
posted by kjs4 at 10:48 PM on March 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

You should live alone. This probably looks attractive at least somewhat because you are used to having quite a bit of drama in your life and aren’t sure what to do with yourself with things going easily. You have a situation you can afford on your own where you aren’t beholden to the whims of roommates. Don’t do this.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:02 AM on March 14, 2019 [14 favorites]

There is also always the chance that though you get along with these people great as friends, you may not click as roommates. Everyone has different living habits and even the best of friends can end up unhappy living together. Living alone is great, having friends in the neighborhood is lovely, stick with that.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:08 AM on March 14, 2019

You have lots of concerns about landlords in general. Going with a landlord who gives such high increases on a yearly basis is going to cause drama in and of itself. A landlord with increases that high goal is not to keep the residents who live there. It is to create a building with the highest profit possible.

You don't want that . Stay where you are.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:06 AM on March 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

Oh and go visit your friends and the hot tub and sauna. It is across the street, what are you waiting for? You may lose out once they move, but right now go! Live life and enjoy. See your friends, use their adminities and go home to your own studio where you never have to discover your friends bathroom habits.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:13 AM on March 14, 2019 [10 favorites]

Another vote for STAY PUT. A rooftop sauna is not worth the inevitable hassle.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:44 AM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would say DON'T DO IT to anyone, even without your complicated history with roommate life. This is a lot of complication and uncertainty for very short lived benefit. Stay where you are, and if you want, take the energy you'd have spent on all this Bad Idea stuff and put it toward looking around for a cheaper solo situation for yourself.
posted by Stacey at 4:39 AM on March 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

There are WAY too many variables, given what is known about your previous situations and what isn't known about the future w/r/t rent increase and roommates to go through with this.

Do not do this. Put your energies and money into finding another place to live BY YOURSELF that's cheaper, if you really want to save money.
posted by cooker girl at 5:32 AM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think you should continue living alone. The math just doesn't work out, especially in light of your previous experiences with roommates.
posted by Alterscape at 7:18 AM on March 14, 2019

I don't even need to read past the headline of this question given your history with roommates. No. No. No. Do not move. Do not go back to living with roommates. No.
posted by anderjen at 7:37 AM on March 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

August is VERY soon. I can't imagine, given your question history, and also given you're a human being, that you'd want to invite so much instability and uncertainty into your life in a few short months.

It's not easy to find a stranger to live with. And that's an understatement. Come July, do you really want to be spending all your time and mental energy on finding a suitable roommate?

And if you don't find someone by August, you'd have to start from scratch to find yet another place. And everything would be at market rate-- which would likely be far higher than your renewal increase was.
posted by kapers at 7:45 AM on March 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Same as anderjen, I didn't even read past your headline. DO NOT MOVE. Some people are not good with roommates, and that is okay. You are one of those people. DO NOT MOVE. Take all this cognitive energy and put it into the other things you mentioned: finding other ways to save money or make more money.

I'd also add: make a list of all the things you like about living alone, all the things you like about your apartment and a list of things you can do to improve your apartment if there's something you don't like. (Save up for a new lamp? Move the couch over to the other wall? Get some art? Organize your spice cabinet?) Putter around and enjoy it!
posted by purple_bird at 11:15 AM on March 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

your previous posts have made it pretty clear that living with roommates consistently doesn't work well for you. please don't give up your current living situation.
posted by hollisimo at 12:17 PM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Good afternoon. I let my friend offering the room know I was not interested in the room, so that's that.

Question: I know some of you feel I am not fitted to be with roommates, but why not? I'm a nice, kind person, and I can easily be with a roommate if we matched well. The previous roommate was a bad situation, but the previous roommate situation before that went overall good, with a few bad glitches, sure, but it was overall a good situation. I'm just trying to understand why, from some of your perspectives, it wouldn't be ideal to do some "exposure therapy" and have a roommate again, as long as we both had our own bathroom and bedrooms?

posted by dubious_dude at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2019

that seems like a question best discussed with a qualified professional rather than internet strangers.
posted by hollisimo at 2:40 PM on March 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Because living in some kind of "exposure therapy" on a year-long lease is not really great. You can't get out of it if it's terrible. You've had a lot of upheaval in the past few years with living situations. Roommates are always, always a wildcard: it can work out super well! Or it can go terribly! And if it goes terribly, as you know, you're kind of stuck for awhile trying to wrench your way out. And you've done that quite enough as of late, so I think that is why a lot of people are saying "do not get a roommate." It's just a wildcard that, given that it's not absolutely necessary, is probably not great to throw in the mix of your life right now. It's not about whether you are nice and kind enough to be a roommate: I think you are plenty nice and accommodating to the people you live with (maybe too much so). It's about prioritizing stability and prioritizing yourself.
posted by sockermom at 4:03 PM on March 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

Honestly roomates are tough universally. It's living with this other person in a commited year long lease or so with somebody who isn't someone you actually WANT to live with.

You don't need exposure therapy for something that is generally unpleasant like that. You need exposure therapy for something that should be enjoyable or not scary. You expose yourself to elevators because you are afraid of being trapped. You don't expose yourself to complex living situations that can go thousands of unpredictable ways .
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:14 PM on March 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't think people here think that you're not a good guy. But through your Asks, which have been memorable, you seem to have a lot of anxiety around your privacy (bathroom needs) and around communicating with even friends when there is a point of tension (the service dog vest). Roomates lock you in financially in ways that only heighten anxieties--understandably so! Roomates are not for your own therapeutic needs. That's a lot to expect of someone else. That's definitely not fair of someone who may just be in the housing-relationship for the financial convenience of splitting rent. Enjoy the complete control over your living space by living solo for the foreseeable future.
posted by TwoStride at 9:35 PM on March 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

Exposure therapy is for spiders. Not roommates. You can be a perfectly nice person and not have roommates. Enjoy living alone - few people get to experience it, it's a real treat!
posted by Toddles at 10:01 PM on March 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

As one of the people who said you shouldn’t have a roommate -

It’s not that I don’t think you can tolerate living with other people. You have made it through some bad situations! You can obviously do it. You also deserve to find out what it’s like not to have constant upheaval in your life. Roommates are destabilizing, even with the best circumstances. They’re also a major distraction from working on your own anxiety and other stuff. Living alone gives you a chance to ground and find peace.

From your questions you come across as a solicitous and thoughtful roommate. It also occupies a huge amount of your brain space in a way that doesn’t seem to be healthy for you.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:09 AM on March 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

I would think of it like a response to trauma, because you've been through some real roommate trauma, stuff that goes beyond the usual give-and-take of sharing space. Having armed federal agents kick down your door is pretty inherently traumatic. Avoiding situations that can remind you of that is a form of self care.

It's like, if you were badly bitten by a vicious dog, sure, you can do therapy and may be able to get yourself in the place where you're able to own a dog, but that's a lot of unnecessary work, the benefits are unclear, and if it doesn't work out, you've made commitments that are very hard to unwind. "Exposure therapy" doesn't seem necessary here, and if it is something you're taking on, it's something to figure out how to do slowly, perhaps with the support of a therapist, not by signing a lease committing you to an uncontrollable future situation.

Since you're able to afford to live alone, maybe think of the extra cost as the price to not have to deal with exposure to roommate trauma. That strikes me as money well spent.
posted by zachlipton at 4:01 PM on March 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

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