What to do with an apartment that I need to leave
April 22, 2019 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Sorrowfully, I have not hit it off with my roommates. They are being horrible to me and pushing me to leave. There has been some strong arming to make this early as possible, and I expect more to come. This rental company is not the easiest or most ethical either, so it hasn't been straightforward to get my money back (my deposit). I have nowhere to go, and this has made staying in my space an anxious proposition. I expect harrassment - legal harrassment is a possibility too. Despite this, I have done nothing wrong, and want to make the best of my space. It's one that's paid for for another three weeks, and that many people would benefit from. How can I turn this bad situation into something good?

That's the gist of the situation. One of those unfortunate ones.

I want to get out of my funk, and it's occurred to me that the space is paid through the middle of next month (May 15th), so if the rental company isn't willing to accommodate me, the apartment could still do someone good.

The lease is a sixteen month one, but as I'm being - ugh - sort of picked on by the roommates (one of them has tried to file two false police reports against me, much to my overwhelming anxiety - the police says these aren't even on file as they were spurious, but I'm still scared).

Tedious roommate conflict details. One of the attempts at a report was because I told her if she didn't pay for the internet, I'd turn it off, and the other was that I moved an item of my roommate's outside the apartment for a day (I'm allergic to it and she wouldn't move it, it wasn't malicious), which she said she would easily be able to report as theft. This shouldn't scare me but it does - I called a legal aid hotline, who advised me to document everything just to cover my back, and spoke to the police, who were sympathetic but suggested moving out.

In the mean time - my future aside - perhaps there is a way to use this space in a socially just way? Or a creative one?

Assuming that I'll be able to leave and the space will be free for three weeks, my fantasy is to use this space in a way that is good.

So many people would be grateful to have the space I have truly. And there is a large chance that it's paid through the next few weeks. I'd like to make my loss into someone else's gain.

The lease makes no restrictions on overnight guests obviously. So any foreign exchange student, pet, even - you know - evicted family, looking for a place to stay, could potentially benefit from my space.

Can I make this happen? How?

Any ideas about how to turn my waste into someone else's windfall? Is this a reach?
posted by karmachameleon to Human Relations (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, I respect your impulse to make something good out of bad, but I'd be really wary of getting other unsuspecting people involved in what sounds like a fairly dramatic and unstable situation. I think it's best if you write this one off as a loss.
posted by lalex at 7:22 PM on April 22, 2019 [99 favorites]

Oh, god. This is a huge reach and I would absolutely not drag other people into this situation. Please do not, like, invite a person without a home in for your roommates to briefly abuse and quickly call the police on. I’m sorry you landed in a crappy situation, I’m glad you’re getting out, the best blessing is for no one else to be involved with this mess.
posted by charmedimsure at 7:28 PM on April 22, 2019 [12 favorites]

The thought is good, but this is a shared space. One you paid for yes, but everyone does get a say in the space which is why you are already having difficulty.

That doesn't get into actual legal tenant issues - depending on your jurisdiction could leave everyone else with a long drawn out eviction.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:28 PM on April 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

Is this a reach?

I think it is. It's a nice thought, but there's really no mechanism for finding some random person(s) in need of an extremely temporary apartment space, except maybe for something like AirBnB. And that probably isn't kosher with your lease. ~3 weeks really isn't very much time, and also it sounds like your roommates are burdensome and I'm not sure how this would work without foisting that burden on whoever occupies the space, even if you could find someone to use it.
posted by axiom at 7:29 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

No, exposing people in need to your hostile roommates wouldn't be a good idea.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:33 PM on April 22, 2019 [12 favorites]

In the mean time - my future aside - perhaps there is a way to use this space in a socially just way? Or a creative one?

Assuming that I'll be able to leave and the space will be free for three weeks, my fantasy is to use this space in a way that is good.

No, if you’re able to leave then you leave and put this behind you. Why would you want to subject someone in need to dealing with a roommate who threatened to file police reports on you? It seems more likely that you want to passive aggressively push back at your roommate and you’re trying to use someone in need as a pawn in this roommate conflict, which is a jerky way to behave.
posted by sallybrown at 8:00 PM on April 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

I'm not trying to be a jerk! I'm asking if I can gracefully turn my bad situation to some else's benefit. It's ok if the answer is no! The reason the question is crowdsourced is to try to broaden my horizons or knowledge, promise. :) I'm not often in the position of donating a thousand dollars' equivalent to a a good cause.
posted by karmachameleon at 8:19 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Agreed with everyone, not a good idea to bring anyone else into this situation.

Hang in there, it'll be okay. I went through a rough situation last year, and it was really difficult. If you need to, try and look up your local area's tenant advocate organization... a lot of bigger cities has those kinds of organizations. I hope you'll be OK soon!
posted by dubious_dude at 8:23 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mean list it as a sublet on craigslist or on reddit
posted by bbqturtle at 8:26 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Why not find use these feelings of wanting to make something good happen out of this unpleasant garbage fire situation by figuring out ways to contribute using your next living situation, which (fingers crossed) will not involve hostile people? Or if you do get deposit money back, donate a small portion of that to something.
posted by sacchan at 8:34 PM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

The only way I can imagine this working is if your roommates/their friends are the beneficiaries. Otherwise, yeah, you're just giving them more to be hostile about, and someone else -- possibly a vulnerable someone else -- to be hostile toward. If you don't want your awful roommates to benefit, that's entirely understandable, but there is the possibility that clearly departing and making the room available for their purposes might create some butterfly-effect goodness in the world that just letting the lease run out wouldn't.
posted by teremala at 8:35 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Last update - it's worth considering that someone else will end up living here, no matter what I do. And pay to do so. The rental company paired us all, blind-date style, and will replace me when I leave with another paying customer. And that person might have a perfectly fine time with these roommates. This will happen whether I burn the deposit and leave the space, or continue to lay claim to the space until my deposit runs out. For what it's worth, I'm not sure these roommates would be awful to another person occupying the same space - but perhaps that's a naive assumption.
posted by karmachameleon at 8:46 PM on April 22, 2019

It's really nice that you want to help another person out, and that's a really good impulse. Unfortunately I think there is just way too much going on in this particular situation to make it advisable to try to find somebody to stay in your place for a few weeks. The amount of hassle that it would cause, not just for you but for everyone involved, is just not going to be worth it. There are so many potential downsides here that it would be unlikely that finding a temporary tenant would actually result in a net benefit.

Your life will become much less stressful the minute you are done with this situation and these people. Take some of the time that you have been unfortunately spending on this interpersonal weirdness, and do something good with that time instead after you're moved out. Volunteer somewhere for a few hours on a Saturday, or something like that. That's a far more likely way to actually turn this situation into something tangible and good without any potential downsides.
posted by sockermom at 8:53 PM on April 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

Let it go.
posted by Alterscape at 8:54 PM on April 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Let it go... It didn't work out, you lost money and it is a ton of effort. But trying help someone else out just isn't going to happen in this situation .
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:56 PM on April 22, 2019

I'm not sure these roommates would be awful to another person occupying the same space

"I'm not sure" isn't really okay, and the odds of them being awful go up a lot when we're taking about occupants they'd correctly perceive as being connected to you.

I think the answers you marked as best are really best.
posted by trig at 9:50 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you really want someone else to occupy your space in the meantime, you could offer your roommates the option of having their friends live in your space during those few weeks.

That way, your space is occupied, other people are deriving enjoyment/usage of the space, and your roommates will not be hostile to the occupants (since they will be your roommates' personal friend(s)). Potential bonus: it might also be a way of making peace with your roommates, even if you are definitely moving out.
posted by aielen at 10:34 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's a nice impulse, but I'm on team not a good idea. You're right that someone else is going to end up in this room no matter what, but my sense of your roommates, based on what you've told us here, is that they are likely to interpret any person that you put in that space as something that you're doing to them, and will thus behave badly in a way that they might not toward someone who just ends up there.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:57 AM on April 23, 2019

You having “nowhere to go” yet (your words) seems like the far bigger issue and perhaps like something you’re deflecting from with this question. You can’t help other people unless you are ok yourself. I’d prioritize solving the problem of where to go.
posted by spitbull at 9:38 AM on April 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Good luck finding other accommodations. And (unlike some other commenters) I certainly would turn off the internet if it was in my name, the day I left. Because you know your ex-roommate(s) will not pay and you'll be on the hook for it and you'll probably end up paying for the modem or something else too so I'd be sure to return that just as though I were ... moving out.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 12:08 PM on April 23, 2019 [9 favorites]

Find a place to move ASAP. That should be the #1 thing you are doing right now.

Don't try to subject other people to these roommates just to "donate" the rent. They don't sound like they get along easily with others; someone else might have a worse time of it than you.

Turn off the internet and return any company-owned hardware like router or modem the day you leave or day before you leave, so you cannot be billed for anything due to your roommates. If they get upset just say, "sorry, can't afford to pay the bill when I'm not here to use the service," and give them the phone number and website for the cable company/ISP to set up their own account.

"The rental company paired us all, blind-date style, and will replace me when I leave with another paying customer."

I am a landlord, have even been a short term VRBO/Airbnb host in a big city, and I would never do this. Sounds like a rooming house - might be okay for short term stays (less than 90 days perhaps) with furnishings in common areas provided and house rules, but for a 16 month lease without the owner being one of the roommates, it is bonkers. Putting random adults together for that long without letting them vet each other first and see what they have in common is just begging for conflict between people over simple lifestyle stuff or communication styles.

I know you aren't sure where you will be living next, but if you see another situation like this, please try your best to avoid it. Find somewhere you have fixed roommate(s) you know something about first, not just renting a room in a house where tenants come and go without your permission because management said so.
posted by zdravo at 1:54 PM on April 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

I have so many questions about this situation... but on the advice end of things, you may not even be legally allowed to just move some random other person or family in to your single room (for any period of time, short or long), on top of it being a bad idea for all of the other reasons mentioned above.

In future, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, moving the allergenic item into the other roommate's room would be a better option than putting it outside, where it might go missing. If having it in the dwelling at all, even on the other side of a door, is medically infeasible (eg. smoking anywhere in an apartment would be a problem for folks with asthma), and nothing can be productively worked out with the roommate, then it is likely the landlord's responsibility - upon receiving a doctor's note confirming your allergy - to ensure that the allergenic item is removed. Depending on where you live, you might have had actual legal culpability if your setting the roommate's stuff outside had led to it getting stollen.

And yeah, avoid randomly assigned roommates in the future, if at all possible. I've never heard of a private landlord doing that, just universities assigning incoming students to dorm rooms. But problems with nightmare dorm roommates is a well-known sub-genre of US college experience stories. I have a couple such stories of my own, and it's a super stressful situation to be in. My condolences.
posted by eviemath at 7:59 PM on April 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

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