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Dealing With Nightmare Housemates

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 19 Sep 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Hi, one of the rooms in our flat is occupied by a gay couple who promotes chemsex "parties". One of them is very often seen naked in the common areas. This is really annoying even to other gay housemates. All the talking has been tried already. What do you suggest to be a good path to try to kick them out?
Zaca - 3-Apr-18 @ 7:26 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
@Von - if you only have a six month contract, you should be able to leave without having to find someone else (only if you leave before your contract term should you be requested to find your replacement in order to take over paying your rent). Once the contract is up, so are your obligations. But re-read your contract, just to see if there is a clause in it that says you have to find a replacement.
TashB - 15-Mar-18 @ 10:57 AM
Im currently living with 5 of my housemates. With 6month contract. We rented the whole house. I told them i will leave after the end of the contract but they told me i need to find a replacement before I leave.is it really my responsibility to look for one? Just to add. I havent signed any tenancy agreement on the house nor my name is included on council tax and all.
Von - 14-Mar-18 @ 10:58 AM
@HSL - simple - you just give your lodger formal notice to quit. If they have a contract, keep to the contract, if they don't you can give him a week. If there are incidents then it is a good idea to get the police involved as it will help your case if he refuses to go.
Jax - 18-Jan-18 @ 12:29 PM
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
JC - Your Question:
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?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if you are in the middle of a fixed term tenancy agreement, you can only terminate the tenancy early if the landlord agrees, or if there is a break clause in the agreement. If there is no break clause and your landlord refuses to accept the early termination, then you are under a contractual obligation to continue paying rent until the tenancy agreement ends. Some landlords will allow you to leave the agreement, if you can replace the tenant who will effectively will take your place. Therefore, mutual negotiation is key here. Perhaps if you contact your landlord again and say the situation is unsustainable and is there any way around your landlord allowing you to leave the tenancy early. Trying to keep the negotiation amicable will help.
ComplaintExpert - 12-Jan-18 @ 11:08 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
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
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