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Dealing With Nightmare Housemates

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 8 Feb 2024 | 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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I moved in with a friend to house share had my own bedroom , brought my furniture as there was none in the living room & a lot of kitchen white goods . After me being approached many times for sex ,emotional abuse, gas lighting ,controlling behaviour&me finding him in my bed at night , intimidating threatening behaviour towards me it came to a head & I had to leave for my safety . I've spent 4 months in a hotel & all my possesions are still in that house , but as to bail conditions he has I can't go there to get my belongings . Noone is helping me, thepolice seem to not care & come with me to get my things, I've had a solicitor involved & what she has done so far is what I've been doing for the last 4 months ! How or what can I do to get my clothes , pictures, documents ,furniture ...my mental health has suffered & I feel as no one cares or wants to help. This man is laughing at me as he has it all & I have nothing....can I get some some advice please .
Megan - 8-Feb-24 @ 3:00 PM
I'm living in a house share with 3 others 2 are nice but the one downstairs is constantly smoking weed,having others stay with him,at the moment there's him a woman and her 20 something year old son and his girlfriend living in one room. The son and his girlfriend was in the only bathroom having sex for over an hour the other night.there treating the house like a doss house. Bringing stolen push bikes and even had a stolen motorbike in the living room one night banging and drilling to get the petrol cap off, one spark and the whole place would of been on fire. We've all complained but nothing is getting done wat should we do to get him evicted
Stan - 19-May-22 @ 2:19 PM
I have been living in a shared house (we all have separate tenancies) about a year ago my landlord moved her teenage daughter and boyfriend in rent free. They are noisy, do not clear up after themselves, do not help with looking after the house, they leave their clothes laying all over the house and constantly leave the washing machine with their clothes in it for days on end. They also leave food all over the kitchen and keep throwing food unwrapped in the bin which results in various types of wildlife ripping the bags open. I have received complaints from neighbours about them. I have complained numerous times to my landlord who just keeps making excuses and has even said that if anyone will move out it will be me.
Gfjjgcx - 6-Oct-21 @ 11:50 AM
Hi. I live in a shared house with 4 others. One of them recently started to complain to the landlord that he is really bothered with me exercising in my room. My room is downstairs, his is upstairs the other side of the house. So my landlord text me to ask the other 3 girls if the are OK with me doing some workout, which I did, and all had the same answer that they can't hear any noise coming out of my room. I sent the screenshot to the landlord, but this week he text me again, that he had another complain from the same tenant, and he asked him to come and listen to me how i exercise. I got to the point when I start feel harassed by this man, because I think he have a personal problem with me, it got nothing to do with my exercise, and I won't feel comfortable if someone will listen to me how I exercise. Just want to know what can I do to solve this issue. Thanks
jenny - 18-May-21 @ 7:59 PM
I’ve been in a house share for 3 weeks now and I moved in here with my dog who is very anxious around new people. I have written consent to have the dog here and everyone is okay with her except for the youngest guy here who is 19. He has no respect I caught him and his mates pretending to throw punches at my dog and threatening to kick her. He has friends over all the time and they’re all very noisy. He got in my dogs face and started shouting at her for no reason scaring her. I’m due back at work soon and I am very worried about leaving her here when I’m not around. He also came into my room whilst I was on a family call and jumped on me then dragged me off my bed so I’m having to spend money that I don’t have on locks for my door. He was also throwing knives in the garden when my dog was in the garden leaving blades stuck up in the grass ready for her to cut herself and I would then have to pay out for vet bills. I took her away for the night to my student property but cannot keep her there so had to come back home. If it was just me I wouldn’t complain because I would just stay in my room but I have a dog who wonders the house and I’m concerned that she will get hurt at some point or she’ll get fed up with him shouting at her and she’ll snap back to defend herself which I don’t want because she is very lovely and very gentle and friendly and I don’t want that to change. What can I do? It’s hard enough to find a property where I can have a dog and the one I found isn’t a great place for her at all.
Cloudgirl - 9-May-21 @ 4:45 PM
Hello, I am really in a troubled state right now my flatmates are very noisy even after talking to them about this they are the same , I am not able to sleep it is affecting my health they don't clean the house either it's only two of us who always have to clean no matter what, they have made our life stressful, it's becoming living hell I already have stress and anxiety issues on top of this these people are only adding to it. Please guide me what to do
Avantika - 30-Dec-20 @ 8:11 AM
My daughter has been living in a shared accomadation for a year and it has become very unpleasant. The girl has touched and thrown her food away made up lies about my daughter cause trouble with the neighbours. Also brought strangers back to the flat. She been away to another country never self isolate my daughter caught Covid she self isolate for 10 days she works for the NHS knew what she was doing. When she was allowed out etc threatened her saying she should of taken two test. Well my daughter has worked on the Covid ward she get tested weekly for Covid. This girl has has her boyfriend staying for Christmas from Scotland and lied. Made out my daughter is the animal and is the caused. When she is touching my daughters things. And moving them.
Sassy71 - 29-Dec-20 @ 9:41 PM
What can I do if I signed a shirt tenancy agreement of 6 months. I am almost 2 months in December. However my flatmates are too noisy and I started to have panic attacks. My room is next to the kitchen so from the washing machine to smashing pans and spoons are driving me insane.My landlord told me he will take me to court if I leave the property before the tenancy agreement ends. Please advice.
GS1 - 22-Nov-20 @ 6:08 PM
My housemate is lieing about not eating my food he is gaslighting me and even leaving messages to offend me like egg shells in my empty plate after he eats it in the fridge he's taking up a lot more space in thehouse than i doand recently started following me around the house looking for comfruntation calling me names throwing an empty container at me and even getting his mum to insult me over the phone as well,I've asked for a meeting with our landlord because I've had enough and i hope he will be told to leave me alone or pack his bags, I've also got proof he has antisemitic and radical political views and has been harrasing a local buisness owner i am conflicted because if he doesn't change his behaviour and leave me alone our arguments will only get worse and although I'll be moving out in the next 6 months i don't want my last few months to be miserable because of his childish behaviour
ArtBeyondBorders - 22-Nov-20 @ 4:23 PM
Since coronavirus we have a new tenant who is absolutely disgusting.Now he is being kicked out but we suspect that he would conduct some behaviours that we all agreed we didn't want - inviting guests.This is a strictly no guest house since corona and we have very good reasons to believe that he would invite guests for late night party, and will not be wary of the virus or clean up afterwards either - plus will be noisy. Can we call the police or evict him earlier than the notice, or, not give him his share of deposit back? it's a joint lease.
cups - 28-Oct-20 @ 9:32 AM
I advertised for someone to flat share with me, with myself listed as the lead tenant on a joint tenancy. I recently caught them taking drugs in the property, and have said that they either need to not do it again or consider finding an alternative place to live. I am worried he will refuse to leave. If it gets to this stage and I decide to inform the estate agent that he has breached the tenancy agreement, am I likely to be kicked out too?
Jane - 21-Oct-20 @ 4:33 PM
What can I do if my housemates claim that they are respectful, however, their actions are contrary?When politely asking if they could keep the noise levels down on a second occasion, they respond with very combative comments of “we’re not loud”, “it’s not our fault the walls are thin”, “we’re sick of your complaining”. Other than the disrespect that I also live here and this too is my home, my main issue is that we are in a pandemic and the restrictions are tightening again; however, they insist on bringing students into the flat when we shouldn’t be visiting other people in their homes. If I were to bring this up, I would get shut down with comments such as “you’re being paranoid” and “we all work”.
FruitLoops - 16-Oct-20 @ 4:30 AM
I've just moved into a 3bed flatshare, since being here, I've noticed 1 of the tenants never seem to clean up after themselves. They use the toilet and don't wipe off their pubic hairs, same with the shower. If this person cooks anything in the kitchen, they leave it in a mess, the cooker full of grease, spillages not wiped up. They throw food in the bin without wrapping in newspaper, the bin has no lid so flies start gathering there. This is a grown man in his 20's but he's very loud, talking loudly on the phone and laughing hysterically every 5 minutes. His room is right next to mine so Ihear everything. Even with my headphones in, I still hear him. I just want to go, can I terminate my tenancy early? I don't enjoy listening to noise.
MoneyPennie40 - 22-Jun-20 @ 3:51 PM
where I can complain about the inappropriate behavior of a roommate., but we don't know what to do and we are afraid to complain because we live in an apartment. because he is constantly aggressive and has encroached on our other roommates! the roommate hit me and spat on my face
Yanka - 22-Jun-20 @ 6:34 AM
Hello I was wondering if anyone could help with any knowledge or advice. My 58 year old mother was attacked by a 20 something year old boy who lives in the same building (separate flats). The police arrested him as he had punched her in the face and she had several cuts around her eye that she needed glued up. The police said it would he put as gba but they put it all together and sps would not take it any further and said it wasn't a police matter and she can appeal it as he has tried to say my 58 year old mother attacked him first and she never and he has no Mark's anywhere. Shes now too scared to go home shes been currently stopping at my sisters and will be coming to mine next. Landlord is useless and doesn't look after the building or help in anyway. Any help would be amazing. Many thanks
Jellybean23 - 6-Apr-20 @ 6:38 AM
For 5 years I have been sharing a 2 bed flat with a (good) friend who is twice my age, whom i like to think I know pretty well. I know there’s plenty that he doesn’t let on about. I know he’s never stopped grieving for his partner who passed away more than 10 years ago and that he has a list of health concerns that unless he makes some changes will see the end of him. I’m pretty much out of energy at this point trying to help him and get through to him. When I first moved in, he was very proud and kept a nice home. Since he got back from a holiday last year the change in him has been significantly more noticeable. He is either at work or when not there sat on his backside glued to the tv eating all the food, of which there is very little most of the time. He just sits there glued to the tv, getting fatter, not caring that our home is becoming a health problem in itself because, despite having recently had to leave work and try to deal with my own baggage every day, I am the only one now that gives a &”@* about the 10 inch layer of dust everywhere or the mountain of laundry and black floors etc. All I get from him is “it’s my day off” or 20 questions every time I leave the living room and it’s not his fault that I don’t eat the food I pay for ... well I do, given a chance BUT he gets there first. I’m at my wits end and don’t know what to do. I’m out of work, depressed, anxious, bankrupt and trying to grab what 2 mins of me time that rarely presents itself with dealing with everyone else bar myself on a daily basis. Please help :-(
Phoenix James - 3-Feb-20 @ 10:04 PM
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
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