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Dealing With Nightmare Housemates

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 13 Dec 2017 | 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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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
In the last month our flatmate has become drunk in the evening and kept me, my partner, and our other flatmate up until the early hours of the morning. The first time we got to sleep between 3-5am on a Weds night, and he was still shouting and singing at 5am. We all had to go to work and all had terrible days. The second time it happened was a Saturday and only our other flatmate was home. He was kept up all night, again. The third time was a Wednesday again. I had to come home from work and lost income because of being unable to function safely at work. The fourth time was last night, a Friday night. He kept us up until 2am, and then kept our other flatmate (whose room is closer) up until 6am. The flatmate nearly crashed on the way to work. We have kept a record of all events and contacted our local EHO to lay an official complaint - but none of it helps us get sleep!Our landlord refuses to help us and says he has to give the drunkard a month's notice. The landlord did not have a contract for us to sign, hasn't filed our deposit with a safeguarding company, and will only accept rent payments in cash. We have been doing research and know that he cannot actually evict anyone as he hasn't filed our deposits legally. We are now concerned doubly; about our lack of sleep and power to do anything about it, and about getting our bond back when we try to leave this terrible flat. We feel trapped, angry and SLEEPY!
Nicky - 1-Jul-17 @ 6:41 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
I've currently just signed a contract to live an extra year in a student house beginning August 2017 till July 2018. However, a few days ago there was physical conflict in the house and I no longer feel safe living there. Would I be able to get out of my contracts on any grounds? Someone help!
Anon - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:44 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
I live in a houseshare. The girl above me is loud and doesn't respect the house rules set by the land lord. We are not allowed people stopping over but yet she has moved her partner in. She keeps me up all night moving her bed room furniture around. My landlord nos the stress and misery this is causeing not only me but the other tenants . What can we do? We all want her out (including landlord) but we can't just boot her!!!!
Miamackay - 27-Sep-16 @ 10:19 PM
Meghna - Your Question:
I am sharing house with 2 housemate. One of them is a guy (student), verbally agreed to contribute 60 pounds monthly for the utilities before signing the contract and leftover money would be divided equally and returned back to each housemate at the end of the year. He has chosen to complain about this arrangement now and the usage of the electric and gas in the house and has made it clear to me that he does not intend on paying the full amount of his share of the utility bills, despite this being the first month that he has lived in the property. I do not feel like this is fair as we do not intentionally use more electric and gas than we need and he has only just raised this issue with us. Furthermore, he does not contribute to the cleaning of the house at all which obviously is unfair as we should all do our bit. When we try to talk have meeting with him to solve the issues, he was reluctant to meet and pretended as he was not in the room. I am seeking for advice, how can I solve this problem. He is currently proving himself to be a difficult character. Need advice? how can I stay with this weird character? How to get money from him?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this - it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone. You don't say whose name the bill is in and/or whether it is in all names. If yours is the only name on the bills, the company will chase you for the money. However, if there are several names on the bill, the company can chase one or more of those named people. If you pay your share of the bills and your housemate doesn't then you may be able to persuade the utility company to chase that person specifically. You can see more in-depth information on how to tackle such issues via the CAB link here. Mediation may also be an option, in which you and all your other housemate could suggest to him.
ComplaintExpert - 20-Jul-16 @ 11:05 AM
I am sharing house with 2 housemate. One of them is a guy (student), verbally agreed to contribute 60 pounds monthly for the utilities before signing the contract andleftover money would be divided equally and returned back to each housemate at the end of the year. He has chosen to complain about this arrangement now and the usage of the electric and gas in the house and has made it clear to me that he does not intend on paying the full amount of his share of the utility bills, despite this being the first month that he has lived in the property. I do not feel like this is fair as we do not intentionally use more electric and gas than we need and he has only just raised this issue with us. Furthermore, he does not contribute to the cleaning of the house at all which obviously is unfair as we should all do our bit. When we try to talk have meeting with him to solve the issues, he was reluctant to meet and pretended as he was not in the room . I am seeking for advice, how can I solve this problem. He is currently proving himself to be a difficult character. Need advice? how can I stay with this weird character? How to get money from him?
Meghna - 19-Jul-16 @ 11:33 AM
I live in a rented flat with a known marijuana smoker. I pay more of the rent due to having the bigger room and as a result we agreed if he smokes marijuana he has to do it outside. However he constantly smokes it indoors and it makes me feel sick. I have asked him repeatedly not to do so but it's ignored constantly. Do you have any tips for me please?
Annoyed Tenant - 1-Jul-16 @ 10:51 PM
Sarouch - Your Question:
Hello, ive been sharing a 6 bedrooms house with 5 other people.One of them is a problem, always fighting, abusing verbally making laws etc a real nightmare!Sometimes 6oclock she will start argueing or late at night.She had a problem with everybody in this house. I work as a private carer in a sheltered accommodation and she is a care agency worker, once we met at work in the building and she starts throwing words of all kind. I went to the landlady who is also aware of all the problems we ve been facing.Since nearly two years no actions have been taken.I leave 10 mns from my work so its the perfect location for me so for most of the other housemate.She then attacked me verbally and grab my arm and start pushing me the other day about something really silly as usual I went in my room she followed me and start banging my door.I then again informed my landlady but this time by a text message and had a conversation on the phone.She promised to talk to her but my other housemate and I have decided to go the CAB. My friend has also videos of the troublemaker shouting in the house.Is it the right thing to do please.?

Our Response:
It depends on what type of tenancy agreement the tenants in your house have. Your landlord may be able to take action against this person, especially if she is breaking the terms of her tenancy agreement i.e causing damage to the property or causing a disturbance. Hopefully your friends will be able to get some good advice from the CAB that will help push this forward.
ComplaintExpert - 18-Jan-16 @ 11:48 AM
Hello, ive been sharing a 6 bedrooms house with 5 other people.One of them is a problem, always fighting, abusing verballymaking laws etc a real nightmare!Sometimes 6oclock she will start argueing or late at night.She had a problem with everybody in this house. I work as a private carer in a sheltered accommodation and she is a care agency worker, once we met at work in the building and she starts throwing words of all kind. I went to the landlady who is also aware of all the problems we ve been facing.Since nearly two years no actions have been taken.I leave 10 mns from my work so its the perfect location for me so for most of the other housemate.She then attacked me verbally and grab my arm and start pushing me the other day about something really silly as usual i went in my room she followed me and start banging my door.I then again informed my landlady but this time by a text message and had a conversation on the phone.She promised to talk to her but my other housemate and i have decided to go the CAB. My friend has also videos of the troublemaker shouting in the house.Is it the right thing to do please.?
Sarouch - 17-Jan-16 @ 2:39 PM
Stressed1 - Your Question:
Can anyone help please.I live in shared accommodation and been here since 2013. The house is a non-smoking place. The landlord moved a tenant in 1 month ago and the tenant refuses to stop smoking as I have told him that the smell is entering my room and I dont want it in my room. I have told him that in future to go outside. I have informed the landlord about this but I feel he is ignoring the situation.What can I do to take further action?

Our Response:
You would have to check the terms of the contract. If the tenant is in breach of a prohibition in the agreement, there is potentially a ground for possession. However, you would have to continue to press your landlord regarding this.
ComplaintExpert - 6-Jan-16 @ 3:03 PM
Can anyone help please........ I live in shared accommodation and been here since 2013. The house is a non-smoking place. The landlord moved a tenant in 1 month ago and the tenant refuses to stop smoking as i have told him that the smell is entering my room and i dont want it in my room. I have told him that in future to go outside. I have informed the landlord about this but i feel he is ignoring the situation. What can i do to take further action?
Stressed1 - 6-Jan-16 @ 5:00 AM
Hello guys i need your help!!!! Me and my friends we are renting the house some of them they move out but im still here so iv got new people whos moved in and i had sooooo many problems... they are noizy all the time drinking, fighting, breaking furniture... nightmire.... please help me!! How i can move them out if they confusing to leave?! They arw saying that nobody can move them out coz they have kids, and they are thinking just to not pay a rent and live there till council gonna move out all the house... all people around us is complaining about shouting in the garden, fights and ect. Even council was here to see whats happening. Please help me what i can do!
Davo - 8-Jul-15 @ 2:04 PM
@che - this sounds like a real nightmare, but when you are sharing with someone else, there isn't really anything you can do except try and get everyone to do their share. It's the same really as living with untidy family or friends. Perhaps you could call a meeting where you can sit down and try and dish out some chores. But whether people will keep them up is another thing. Amy
Amy - 12-Nov-14 @ 2:54 PM
I live in a shared house with 3 other tenants, 2 boys and 2 girls in total. I have been there for 6 months so the contract would be coming to an end soon. I am having issues with peoples cleanliness, namely the boys of the household. Whilst we do have a cleaner fortnight the boys refuse to clean up in-between visits. They will often leave communal areas a mess, namely the shower with shaved pubic hairs and emptying of bins. For example last week i noticed one of the boys stuff the bin to the brim, it was so full that he must have lifted off the lid to place his rubbish in which he bought from his bedroom. I asked him to take this out and he got really angry saying if it was full why not just take it out. Of course I agree with this, if its full take it out but what is annoying me is that he stuffed it full and didn't bother taking it out and constantly waits for someone else to do it so he doesn't have to. After having several words and almost heated arguments I am at a lost to what my rights are. Can anyone please advise? Many thanks
che - 12-Nov-14 @ 12:25 PM
I live in a shared house with 3 other tenants, 2 boys and 2 girls in total. I have been there for 6 months so the contract would be coming to an end soon. I am having issues with peoples cleanliness, namely the boys of the household. Whilst we do have a cleaner fortnight the boys refuse to clean up in-between visits. They will often leave communal areas a mess, namely the shower with shaved pubic hairs and emptying of bins. For example last week i noticed one of the boys stuff the bin to the brim, it was so full that he must have lifted off the lid to place his rubbish in which he bought from his bedroom. I asked him to take this out and he got really angry saying if it was full why not just take it out. Of course I agree with this, if its full take it out but what is annoying me is that he stuffed it full and didn't bother taking it out and constantly waits for someone else to do it so he doesn't have to. After having several words and almost heated arguments I am at a lost to what my rights are. Can anyone please advise? Many thanks
che - 12-Nov-14 @ 12:06 PM
@Rae Earl - If two people are thinking you are noisy then perhaps you might be a little. Or it might be just that the house walls are very thin and people can hear every noise. Even though it is not early in the general scheme of things it doesn't really matter what time it is if someone is trying to sleep it can be very frustrating if they think someone is banging around. Perhaps you could say you will try and be quieter, and without coming across as being offensive, also suggest they buy some ear plugs to help them get a better night's sleep, there are some really good ones on the market. When there are a few people living together under one roof there will always be problems, but if you can it's best to work together to make those problems less.
Aidy - 21-Oct-14 @ 11:58 AM
So I moved into my new house with 7 other people. It is a 5 bedroom house so they are 2 couples per room. I wake up at 7 in the morning to go uni, get ready and cook and eat breakfast at 8:00 and leave at about 8:20. I have been doing this for about 2 weeks now. One of the guys have strted complaimg that I am too loud as it is too early in th3 morning as he works really late at night.He has somehow got another housemate to agree with him. I literwlly go to uni 3 times a week, so the rest of the 4 days im literally in bed. Like how is this evev fair?
Rae Earl - 20-Oct-14 @ 11:50 PM
To whom it may concern I would like to take advice about a housemate living with me at the same house. I can explain the problem further if i can speak to someone. My landlord is not supportive as well, as he is not sorting the problems and asking me to leave the house.. Please contact me to discuss further. Thank you Yaman 07809182340
Yaman - 12-Aug-14 @ 10:57 PM
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