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Dealing With Nightmare Housemates

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 4 Dec 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Housemate Tenancy Agreement Landlord

Sharing a property demands effort, responsibility, and understanding, and if one person is letting the side down it can ruin home life for everyone. But what can you do about a difficult housemate?

What Can You About a Difficult Housemate?

If a housemate is making home life miserable because they are noisy, don’t pay their rent, don’t do their chores, for example, then it is everyone’s best interest to take action. But as a tenant they have rights, so you can’t simply kick them out – but what can you do?

First Step: Discussion

The first step towards resolving any problem with a housemate is to talk through the situation with them. You may be able to reach a compromise before the issue escalates into something more serious and complicated.

The source of household strife is often trivial issues like excessive noise or the neglecting of washing-up duties. If these issues are not adequately dealt with then the ill-feeling often deepens and spreads into other areas. An open discussion where each housemate outlines their complaints and what they want done about it, with the aim of reaching satisfactory compromise, is the best way of cutting out housemate conflict at its root.

It may help to invite an impartial third-party to the discussion to help mediate and negotiate a compromise.

Dramatic Action

However there are some problems that run deeper and will prove resistant to discussion - there may be a personality clash between housemates, for instance, or one person may stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the problem lies with them and refuse to change. In these instances you either have to put up with the situation or somebody has to move out.

Whether you signed a separate tenancy, a joint tenancy or a tenancy in only one person’s name will have a significant impact on your rights when action needs to be taken over housemate conflict.

Separate Tenancy Rights

House members with their own tenancy agreement will have the most rights. These are normally the case when house members moved in at different times or were found by the landlord individually.

This means that you are only responsible for own behaviour and paying your own rent. If one of the other tenants is causing problems then the landlord can evict them and it won’t affect your tenancy. Equally, you can decide to leave and give notice without it affecting the tenancies of the other housemates. This is therefore ideal when irresolvable housemate difficulties occur.

Joint Tenancy Rights

Joint tenancies, however, would create a greater headache. These agreements are common for students, who typically move into a property at the same time and leave at the same time.

These mean that all tenants have exactly the same rights – they are all equally responsible for paying the rent and adhering to the terms of the tenancy contract. What this means is that if one person doesn’t pay their share of the rent, or damages the property, then everyone is liable for the costs.

In the instance of housemate conflict, one tenant couldn’t end their tenancy without ending it for everyone else. Similarly, the landlord can't evict one tenant without kicking out everyone. If you have a joint tenancy agreement but want to remove one member then it is complicated situation and it is best to seek advice on what to do.

One solution would be if the landlord was willing to negotiate a new contract with the tenants that wish stay in the property. However, this is only likely in extreme cases and the only realistic option is to grin and bear the strife until the contract runs out, or for everyone give notice and find alternative accommodation.

What if the Tenancy is in Somebody Else’s Name?

If you live in accommodation with someone who has a tenancy agreement with the landlord but you don’t, then you have the least rights of all. The tenancy holder is effectively your landlord, and you the subtenant.

However, although in times of conflict they can evict with very little notice, you can also choose to leave without giving much notice. This will of course depend on the terms of the agreement between yourself and the tenancy-holder.

Extreme Cases

In very extreme cases, such as when another tenant has threatened violence, or been racially or sexually abusive, then you may be able to seek help from the council or the police.

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My girlfriend is staying in a shared accommodation with four other people. One of the other tenants is incredibly noisy and because of this they are now all facing a £300 fine. My girlfriend is not the one making any of this noise and I don’t see why she should be held responsible for it. Is there anything that we can do so she doesn’t have to pay the fine?
Ross - 4-Dec-19 @ 2:43 PM
Hi, i found out from the letting agency today that my friend has not paid any rent at all for the past 7 months. Every 4 weeks i give him by bank transfer £500, believing that was for my room, today the letting agency also told me that the rent is £600 for both rooms, so not only has he not been paying my rent, but I've also been covering most of his. I didn't sign no paperwork, and have no idea if he did as basically everything he says is a lie. I still can't believe the agency waited 7 months before telling me as they know I was giving him money every month (though maybe not how much).
Dave - 22-Sep-19 @ 3:49 AM
I have a flatmate who is belligerent and 1 month behind in rent. We initially agreed by WhatApp written messages that it would last 2 months. We are in her 3rd month.My name is the only one on the lease. The lease is with an agency. Can I have the locks changed?
GG972 - 15-Jun-19 @ 10:49 AM
I live in a flat with another person shared tenancy. She has stopped paying the rent in full. She has broken the cooker door. She has friends to stay who are noisy, this has been complained about by the landlord. What can I do, the flat does not have a finish date?
Lou - 8-Apr-19 @ 10:28 PM
My housemate is planning on having a very large party but it is just the two of us. She hasn’t asked my permission/opinion on the matter and just assumes getting locks put on the doors will help. I’m not sure what my rights are or what the best procedure would be to get this shut down? I’m really busy that weekend and can’t be locked in my room while hundreds of people roam around my house with music blasting till 7am. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
Fi - 25-Mar-19 @ 8:04 PM
Hi Thomas, Myself and my partner moved into downstairs room in a 5 bed terraced house in mid October with two other couples living upstairs. At the start of December we were told by our agency that a new tenant was moving into the other room downstairs. This tenant turned out to be a family of 3 - mother, father and a child no older than 4 years old. He screams and cries for hours most evenings. I’ve heard him up until 1am on some nights. We thought he was just getting used to living in a new house etc but it’s been over 2 weeks now and we’re starting to lose our minds listening to it! Can you recommend anything we can do about this? We’re not sure if we have the right to complain. Any help would be SOOOO appreciated! Thanks in advance, Shannon
Shan - 17-Dec-18 @ 8:57 PM
Hi I rent a house to three house mates one of the house mates came home last night, and attacked his dad who is one of his house mates, the other house mates tried to intervene and also got physically attacked.The police where called and he was removed these tenants where frightened for there safety.I tald this tenant he needed to leave as the others didn’t feel safe.He did leave and I have changed the locks I reported to the police what I have done.I feel I have done the rite thing I have had problematic tenants before but not violent ones, I usually start with a warning system and then if it doesn’t stop I serve 28 days notice.However on this accession felt I had no choice for safety reasons.
Andy - 13-Dec-18 @ 10:25 PM
Tenants Partner Above Whom is not a Tenant Come to my Home Threatened me With I'd be Stabbed and attacked When I left my Home He Kicked also spat and Thrashed His Fists on My Glass Pain over Reports over Noise complaints he also Verbally Abused The housing officer my Housing Have stated because he's claimed as homeless he's Right to Remain although not a Tenant They Severed a seeking possesion notice which I knew of already as was going ahead And Told to keep away what are my Rights I feel scared to leave and Return home knowing this man is allowed to be above I am not happy with the outcome
Rebecca - 24-Nov-18 @ 5:23 PM
Hello, Currently am living in a shared house in East Londonfor 3 years. The house was fine but the landlord moved one guy very dirty and loud I came to him and I asked him plz do a favour for me plz clean the toilet and the kitchen after use but no common sense. I complained to the landlordbut he didn't improve and ha had a hate against me. He became rude and aggressive when he see me in the house he starts threatening me in a knifeand says you fuc** gay go to the he'll. I called the police but the police didn't make anything just took our details and told look for another property. Unfortunately,am not finding somewhere better and cheap coz am on a low income and I can't afford to live with 6 people am tired from that.
Rayan - 28-Oct-18 @ 7:12 PM
Hello i pay for 1 week150£ per 7 dayswith transfer at Bank card. But now my flatemates BLAME me a stel him key for the door at the flat and tell me to leave on Friday, 2 day'sbefore (43£) . He give me 5 day's only to leavethe flat , ashame rly .... I working every day and i never stel something at him . What i must to do now ? 2 night's i didn't sleep cus they Blame me Best Regards Nikolay Pugev
Pugev - 19-Sep-18 @ 11:37 PM
Nicky - Your Question:
Hi help please my son was sharing a flat with 4 other people each having seperate tenancy he moved out the other day 2 months early before tenancy ends he was being bullied threatened made to stay in his room not eating and terrified as the lad said he would batter him if he came out of his room we asked the landlord for help he also had his phone and ipad stolen landlord won't do anything just threatening him with court what are his rights please help

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If the other person was abusing your son, then you should contact the police and report the person. However, your son is still responsible for paying his rent the end of the allotted term as he signed the tenancy agreement.
ComplaintExpert - 4-Jun-18 @ 3:01 PM
Hi help please my son was sharing a flat with 4 other people each having seperate tenancy he moved out the other day 2 months early before tenancy ends he was being bullied threatened made to stay in his room not eating and terrified as the lad said he would batter him if he came out of his room we asked the landlord for help he also had his phone and ipad stolen landlord won't do anything just threatening him with court what are his rights please help
Nicky - 3-Jun-18 @ 10:00 PM
my flat mate has moved his girlfriend in- i mean literallymoved her in from another country. she's been living here for a few months and I've asked him to have her pay some rent. not a full amount but a bit so that the rest of us get to pay a little less. he says that because they are sharing a room she shouldn't have to pay but i disagree. He also never asked any of us how we felt about it and she came to visit and never left. My question is what can I do legally about this, beyond talking to him about it? he and I and our other flatmate are all on the lease but his girlfriend is not, so do I have any rights to have her removed from the flat if necessary? and if so how do I go about finding out what they are? Our agency has not been very helpful and i thought they'd say she has to be added to the lease but they don't seem bothered so i don't know what to do now
j - 24-May-18 @ 6:31 PM
Hi, One of our housemates has damaged a lot of our belongings to the point where we'll have to replace them for them to be useful again. They also still owe us for cleaning charges done months ago due to mess they created (they agreed to pay for this but are hardly in the house so getting money off them is hard and we've sent them one of our bank account details for a transfer but we're still waiting for the money!) Is there a way the landlord would be able to use their deposit to reimburse the other 4 of us? We all have evidence that would prove beyond reasonable doubt that the damage was cause by the 5th housemate
MattY - 9-May-18 @ 5:30 PM
@Zaca - the landlord may want to know this information - it may help get him out.
Robbi - 5-Apr-18 @ 12:37 PM
My housemate moved out 5 Months ago and now wants possessions back that have been disposed of - where do we stand?
Indigogoat - 2-Apr-18 @ 9:48 AM
nikie - Your Question:
Hi im in an apartment building withmy daughter and 3 brothers my credit score went down because of them we are sharing in the apartment but the thing is if ever theres some payment missing my older brother ask extra money 2 of them are jobless and are the influence of drugs a lot of people are staying in our house that we dont know im afraid my daighter would grow up seeing a situation like that what should I do im a single mom and the fact is they are getting my daugther and I our groceries I spend 35 dollars a day for only groceries but the fact the 35 worth of grocery is good for me and my daughter for 1 week what should I do im struggeling with depts because of them

Our Response:
If you are living in the UK, you can access more information via the link here. Obviously, your situation is unsustainable and is likely to go from bad to worse if drugs are involved. Family Lives may also be able to help with advice here .
ComplaintExpert - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:40 AM
hi im in an apartment building withmy daughter and 3 brothers my credit score went down because of them we are sharing in the apartment but the thing is if ever theres some payment missing my older brother ask extra money 2 of them are jobless and are the influence of drugs a lot of people are staying in our house that we dont know im afraid my daighter would grow up seeing a situation like that what should i do im a single mom and the fact is they are getting my daugther and i our groceries i spend 35 dollars a day for only groceries but the fact the 35 worth of grocery is good for me and my daughter for 1 week what should i do im struggeling with depts because of them
nikie - 26-Mar-18 @ 7:26 AM
Hi, I previously rented a property with someone else and I was lead tenant. The housing situation got complicated as we fell out and bills were racking up debt. Me and my housemate tried speaking about this several times, once agreeing and after not so much. The bills have been left chasing just me as I initially set them up however were in both names, I have struggled to get most payments off of her throughout, one time leaving me overdrawn. My housemate decided she didnt want to pay either much of an electric bill or nothing at all, since then I have received the deposit back and took it upon myself to pay the debt off in the amount we first agreed on. This was never in writing. I have agreed to pay her the left over money from the deposit but since the electric company have only been chasing me and upped my direct debit and affecting my credit score I thought only fair. The tenancy agreement stated that if the bills were left unpaid, the deposit would be witheld to pay this off, however this did not happen. She has been messaging me non stop about the deposit yet would ignore my Messages from before or bully and harrass to try and get it her way, I have been more than fair in paying more than her. She is now threatening legal action if I do not return the full amount, even though this has now been spent on the bill to close the account, where do I stand in this?
Amiieee - 17-Mar-18 @ 11:27 AM
Hi, I am the landlord and owner of the house. My Scottish lodger gets drunk regularly and stays up until 3/4 am and a couple of times up until 6.30am. He sings, talks to himself and makes lots of noise. He also leaves the house a mess (which we have to clean up) and has poured wine on the walls, spilt it on the ceiling, leaves the front door open all night so anyone can walk in as well as leaving the lights and cooker on all night almost causing a fire. When we try to bring it up, he feels no remorse and is angry that we bring it up and brush it under the carpet. His usual response is that it’s in the past now so forget about it. He will then bring up petty things to point the finger straight at us. He also invites friends over drinking after his night out and will wake us up from 5am onwards and refuses to go to sleep. He works in a bar so doesn’t have to wake up early like us. He is very aggressive when drunk and I don’t feel safe with him in the house. He has threatened me before. Should I call the police?
HSL - 17-Jan-18 @ 6:39 AM
I live in shared accommodation whereby one tenant is constant cause of arguments with her selfish behaviour especially noise. She has been an issue long before I moved in and it seems the landlord is biased to believe everything she says over several other tenants in the house and portrays herself as the victim. After an argument that she again started the other night, she approached me and screamed in my face and then shoved me. I have a witness. I reported to my landlord her behaviour and was told that SHE may have felt ‘under attack’. I wish to end my tenancy early to escape this situation but my landlord says she will take me to court. What are my rights here?
JC - 11-Jan-18 @ 12:16 PM
Dan - Your Question:
Just out of interest, I live with 7 guys in a fairly large house near london, and we've had a few noise complaints, and received a letter from the council and the uni asking us to keep the noise down. I have made sure that we have kept the noise down to a minimum when I have been at the house. The other day a few of my house mates threw a party and invited loads of people making loads of noise, I had no involvement what so ever, wasn't even in the house. We have now received a letter saying we could be taken to court or fined. Where do I stand in this case, yes I live in the house but I didn't cause any further noise, am I still liable for my housemates actions ?

Our Response:
If all the names are on tenancy agreement, then you will be held jointly responsible if the matter is taken to court, unless you can prove you are not responsible. Alternatively, you may wish to look at extracting yourself from the agreement and find somewhere else to live - if you think the situation could get further out of hand.
ComplaintExpert - 8-Jan-18 @ 3:36 PM
Just out of interest, I live with 7 guys in a fairly large house near london, and we've had a few noise complaints, and received a letter from the council and the uni asking us to keep the noise down. I have made sure that we have kept the noise down to a minimum when i have been at the house. The other day a few of my house mates threw a party and invited loads of people making loads of noise, I had no involvement what so ever, wasn't even in the house. We have now receiveda letter saying we could be taken to court or fined. Where do I stand in this case, yes I live in the house but I didn't cause any further noise, am i still liable for my housemates actions ?
Dan - 5-Jan-18 @ 11:28 PM
@daneluta1 - it's you or her and if you cannot stand her actions, it sounds like it would have to be you that chooses to move out if she won't. If you all get together as a house and make a complaint against her, then you might have a chance to request your landlord evicts her. But if your other housemates don't have a massive problem with her - then there is not much you can do. This is the problem with house shares. If you don't like someone's ways - you have to suck it up or move on :(
AshJ - 22-Dec-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hello, My housemate talks on the phone non-stop, from the moment she arrives from work until after midnight every day. When she had a boyfriend, they stayed awake until 2am almost every weekend. I lost my sleep countless times; I'm not a heavy sleeper and also wake up naturally early. When she broke up with her boyfriend, she brought a man in her room and talked very loudly until 3am, then the same the following week. the week after they returned at 3am slaming doors, trooping down the stairs without any care and talked until 5am on a weekday ignoring my text messages. None in the house slept that night and I went to work very tired and angry in addition to all the other times she kept talking on the phone. I talked to her, explained how it affects me a few times, texted her too, knocked at her door, because she said she prefers to talk face to face, but she doesn't open the door to talk. Also, she doesn't take the rubbish out because she "doesn't really uses it", which is not true. She leaves her take-away packages on the floor in the kitchen next to the recycling bin as well as her big amazon packages, which i pick them up because i can't live like that. It's been more than half a year living like this and she's very rude, lacks empathy or consideration, also lies about cleaning and other things. Unfortunately, the other flatmates have their rooms further from her and they are not bothered that much by her phone verbosity. I can't count on them. Trully, I can't stand her behaviour and how it affects me. I talked nicely with her and a couple of times I rose my voice as she wouldn't open the door to talk about it. When we do talk, she more or less agrees to compromise, but keeps her word for maybe a week or less. She is entitled an arrogant too. I don't want to move because I've been here the longest, it's convenient and i like the house. I also deal with any issue that might arise or need to organise in the house such as, a cleaner or if the heater is not working or the fridge; I contact the landlord and he strives to solve it immediately or I find a professional to fix it and the landlord pays. In any case, I don't seem to be able to reach a compromise with her. We all have individual tenancy agreements and I haven't yet talked with the landlord, but it looks like I have to, though the girl's mother is very assertive and confident; she will take a worthy step against me. I'm not sure if the landlord is strong enough for her. Is there any legal step I can take against the tenant or even to persuade the landlord to evict her?
daneluta1 - 13-Dec-17 @ 9:22 PM
@Anon You would have to read the terms of your rental agreement. You may be able to get out of it if your housemates agree, but it may be on the terms that you have to find a replacement lodger and you may lose your deposit.
CJHi - 26-Jun-17 @ 4:03 PM
@Dozza - when you hear one of these fights, it's simple call the police! Surely, you can't sit back and listen to this :(
Roz - 17-May-17 @ 2:02 PM
Hi I am living in a student house with 2 other female students. One of the girls has a boyfriend who abuses her physically and emotionally. We often hear arguing,screaming and banging coming from her room at all hours of the day and night, she often has bruises and injuries from his assaults. We have spoken to her and tried to help her but she has no intention of ending the relationship even though she is extremely unhappy about it as she says he'll never let her go. We have shown her compassion and encouraged her to get professional help but she won't. We are now beginning to feel threatened having this man in the house as their rows have intensified and are becoming more frequent. We feel very sorry for her but this is now starting to have a massive impact on us too. What can we do?
Dozza - 13-May-17 @ 12:47 AM
I am currently sharing a house with 3 other students. Three of us have been living together for almost two years, but last year a new girl moved in and she doesn't respect any of our rules, she is driving us insane and we have tried to talk to her but she won't listen or understand and just thinks we are being 'rude'. She's loud, she bangs doors and she watches the most annoying, dumb shows at a ridiculously high volume. The worst part of all of this is the trail of dirt she leaves behind as she moves. We have 2 bathrooms in the house, but the three of us are now only able to use one, as she leaves the other in absolutely appalling conditions (including leaving her menstruation on the seats) so they are actually worse than public bathrooms. Recently she has decided it is a good idea to be sick in the toilet we all share, but she doesn't use, which means we have to clean up her sick afterwards as she doesn't clean it. What can we do? We are honestly out of options and she is ruining the house. We have two months left of living with her but exam season is approaching and we need her to be quiet or leave so we can actually sleep. Oh and she also doesn't understand that she can't leave raw meet uncovered in the fridge. She's taken over majority of the freezer and fridge, and we've had to defrost the freezer twice in the past few months despite only having to do it once all of last year because she doesn't shut the door properly or leaves it open while she's doing stuff in the kitchen. She hardly showers too. Nor does she wash her hands after using the rest room. It's really unhygienic and we're also worried for our health as well as being extremely stressed and tried on her dirt and inconsideration. HELP!!??
MADRobot - 22-Apr-17 @ 1:15 PM
I have rented a flat with another person in September 2016. The tenancy agreement is one but with both of our names in it and with the rent amount for each to pay being showed, specified and divided by two. The last month her boyfriend has moved in our flat without my approval. He is also using our flat's address for his mail - since October at least (when I fount out about this accidentally) when he was even living abroad at that time. He is not working in UK and not sure if he has a NIN. What process should I follow to stop him from using our address and have him out of the flat? I have discussed this with my flatmate and she is ostentatiously ignoring my complaints. Thank you!
Mary - 29-Dec-16 @ 12:56 AM
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