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Dealing With Nightmare Housemates

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 13 Dec 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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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
Hello. I have been living in a flatshare for 18 months. A few months ago a girl moved in, a young, outgoing party girl type. When she moved in, I told her that this is a small flat, and noise travels easily, so please don't treat it like a party house or make too much unnecessary noise. She seemed nice, and agreed to be conscious of other flatmates and noise etc. However, almost from day one she has been taking the piss, having mini parties on Friday/Saturday night, inviting loud friends around late at night on weekdays, and not really pulling her weight when it comes to taking out the trash and cleaning etc I have mentioned this to her a few times, and she has apologised and acknowledged her mistakes, then gone quite for a few weeks (all whilst scowling at me whenever our paths cross) but then flaring up again out of the blue, causing lots of stress. We have a separate tenancy agreement - well actually a 'memorandum of understanding' with a Letting Agency. I haven't reached out to them yet, but was wondering would they be able to do anything if I did? I don't want to reach out to them if they're not able to do anything and then she finds out and gets even louder. Also, I have an ex-flatmate who will be able to back up my complaints against her, and I also have WhatsApp messages I have sent her at separate occasions when she has made noises.
Jimbo4891 - 27-Nov-18 @ 10:09 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 have been living in my flat (2 bedrooms appartement) for two years, I used to live with my friend but she moved out in February, I fund another flatmates (a couple), it was my responsibility to find someone else as I got the flat via an agency dealing with full appartements and not just bedrooms. However I now left the place and I am experiencing issue with the couple. I think they are upset because I am leaving pretty suddenly (but my contract with the agency is finished) and also I think they didn't realise the flat came unfurnished so me leaving mean I am taking most of the furniture. On Saturday I told them I was coming to take my table et the two chairs from the terrace, and the mirror from the bathroom, when I got there the stuff was completely broken by the bin, it was all new I still have the receipt. And now that I moved out the agency is telling me that my old flatmate have to pay me the deposit to be able to change the name on the deposit and make a new contract as I am the lead tenant, if the agency don't get my confirmation I will still be eligible to pay the rent. Also the blocked me on whatapp and aren't answering to me. I don't know what to do.
Meeli - 22-Oct-18 @ 5:01 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
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
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