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Lupin Tonks Moon
Posted on Monday 22 June 2009 at 3:06 pm

Are y'all sick of me talking about roommates and rental places yet?

I need some advice regarding my future living situation. As y'all know, I have a rental house but am in need of roommates. I originally had two roommates and no place to live. We were going to get this house, roommate A bailed, roommate B was supposed to talk her around, and I said "I'm taking the house with or without y'all." Shortly thereafter, roommate B bailed and roommate A maybe wanted back in. Roommate A and an entirely new person are meeting me tomorrow to look at the house. Since I have two potential roommates but no definite ones, I went ahead and posted an ad on the student housing network a few days ago. I've had seven replies to that in the couple of days it has been up so I am confident I will be able to find roommates.

At this point, I feel like I'm in a position of power. I am the only one to have contact with the landlord, the only one to have filed a credit report with him and to be approved, the only one to have paid the security deposit, and I'm not desperate to find anybody to live there because I have a decent quantity of potential roommates from which I can pick. I feel I have every right to exercise veto power over potential roommates if I just don't think we'd make good roommates and to insist they agree to certain conditions before moving in. I'm not wanting to be a dictator about all this, but I want to make sure I've got roommates with whom I think I will be compatible and I want to make sure I have a generally pleasant living environment. I've been looking at Roommate Agreements online and have cut and pasted from various ones to create one that I like. It has all the legal stuff in it regarding breaking the lease and dividing up the utilities and then it has the house rules stuff about cleaning schedules, overnight guest policies, and the like. In the section about house rules, the current draft basically lists multiple topics and says "We need a policy on this and I'm thinking this specific thing might be a good idea but I'm not set on exactly that and will negotiate anything within this general range," so I don't think I'm being tyrannical, but I am staking my ground so that I can have a home I like.

My big question is how far can I push this with roommate A. We previously had a spoken agreement to get a place together with the now non-existent third person. When I made the unilateral decision to take this place while they were both still on the fence and the third person eventually walked, did that void the previous arrangement completely and I can reject her now if I want or no? Can I treat her like all the other potential roommates or does she have more rights and power in this whole thing? Obviously the only thing legally binding is the check I gave the landlord, but from a moral or ethical PoV, what consideration do I owe her?


lady_bracknell at 7:16 pm on 22 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)
I don't think you owe her anything. She bailed and I wouldn't even consider living with her after that, so already by just considering her you're being more generous than I would be in the same situation. I think you're compltely within your moral/ethical rights to treat her exactly the same as the other potentials - and I'd seriously consider whether she's worth considering at all if she's already left you in the lurch once.
bratty_jedi at 7:53 pm on 22 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)

The comment in which Rachael rambles, gives too much backstory, and gets a bit emo

I'm really ambivalent about living with her. When I was originally looking for roommates, I posted on the school's housing network that I was looking for graduate students. I'm at least five years older than any traditional undergraduate students and many of them are rather immature. Plus, I teach and TA at the college and it would get majorly complicated if a roommate ended up in a class I'm teaching / TAing. I was contacted by the two girls I agreed to find a place with, one of whom was a graduate of the college and working in the area and the other of whom was an undergrad. I was hesitant about the undergrad, but we discussed ensuring she is never in one of my classes so that solved the big potential legal problem. I clicked better with the older one and I figured with her there and vouching for the undergrad, it would be alright. So of course the older one whom I liked more is the one who has now bailed completely and it is the undergrad who is potentially on board.

The reason the undergrad bailed on this house at first was because she refused to live someplace without a dishwasher and wanted to look at a house that was $150 more a month and would have been a nightmare to coordinate a moving date for me based on when it was available and when my current lease ends. I pointed out that we could buy three dishwashers for the difference in rent on a year's lease and offered to buy a bloody dishwasher if that is what it would take. I said I was taking the house and either or both of them were welcome to take it with me, but I needed a decision. It took a few days, but that's when she finally said that the dishwasher might solve her problems and she might be willing to take the house, by which point of course the other one had bailed completely. I feel like I've committed myself to taking her on as a roommate and to buying a dishwasher because I did say either or both were welcome to take the house with me, but I said that to the other one at a point when this one had supposedly bailed and the other one was still on board and was supposedly trying to talk this one into taking the place so I expected it to be both of them or the other one, not this one alone. I feel like if I was going to say "Screw you! I'm finding new roommates!" I should have done it when this one first bailed. I didn't want to do it then, though, because as far as I knew the other one was still trying to talk her around and I was trying to help with that. Now that the other one bailed, I want to say "Screw you! I'm finding new roommates!" but I feel like that ship has already sailed. At this point I kind of want to try to come up with reasons for her to hate the house and try to convince her to say no again, but that is such a passive-aggressive and cowardly way to do it and I'm just not comfortable with that. So my options are (1) be a bitch and tell her to take a hike when it will seem like I've been stringing her along; (2) play passive-aggressive and try to get her to back out; (3) suck it up, live with her, and hope for the best. I don't like any of the options!
lady_bracknell at 8:00 pm on 22 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)

Re: The comment in which Rachael rambles, gives too much backstory, and gets a bit emo

She might back out anyway? It doesn't feel like she's 100% committed, with or without you forking out for a dishwasher. Maybe you could continue to pursue other options and just... see what happens? You might meet someone else you click with more (in which case I think it's perfectly OK to say 'I met these two awesome people and they'll only take the rooms together so I'm going with them, sorry') or you might not and she might seem like a better option when you've met some other people.
godricgal at 9:46 pm on 22 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)
You certainly don't owe her any special treatment. She voided any tacit agreement she had with you when she bailed the first time and frankly, if you have a whole host of other interested people, then she's lucky to even be on your list of people to consider because she's already let you down in a way that's given you a huge headache, which isn't the best of starts or recommendations. Live with the people you want to live with and the people you think will be the best to live with, both in terms of not giving you a headache and potential friends.
bratty_jedi at 4:08 pm on 23 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the support. This is getting unreasonable, isn't it? She is maybe flaking again so I sent her an email basically telling her I'm done trying (see recent journal entry for details).
littlepixiechic at 11:03 pm on 22 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)
I don't think you owe her anything, especially since she's being so wishy-washy. I would definitely shop around, even more so now that I know she's the undergrad! Is she not a history student? Are you really sure that she won't end up in one of your classes? My suggestion is to be up front and tell her that you're really unsure about rooming with her because the situation has changed completely and because she hasn't been reliable in the very recent past. Good luck!
bratty_jedi at 4:04 pm on 23 June 2009 (UTC) (Link)
She's not a history major and says she stays as far as possible from history classes. That's good, but what about any friends she'll bring over and I'll meet? Will any of them be in my classes. It can start getting very complicated, very fast.

She seems to be flaking again so I sent her an email today telling her I'm fed up (see new journal entry for details).

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