A lot of consideration generally goes into the choice of a housemate. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly; you are going to be sharing your home with this person so it’s important that they’re a good fit. Sometimes though that ‘good fit’ can suddenly become the ‘housemate from hell’.
Unfortunately it’s not unusual to hear stories of how a previously ideal housemate turned out to be a nightmare - leaving their mess throughout the house, refusing to clean up after themselves, being loud or disruptive, hosting parties at all hours of the night, going through, using or taking their housemates things without permission, causing frequent disagreements, always pay their rent late, or not at all, or never contributing to the household expenses. But if you’re the one who has found that your Dr Jekyll housemate has become ‘Mr (or Miss) Hyde’ the question on your lips is going to be “How do I deal with this situation?”.
Here are some tips on dealing with the ‘Housemate from Hell’:
This one is one to have in place before Hyde makes an appearance - It is important to set expectations and boundaries from the outset with everyone living in the home. Once the house rules are set, all housemates should acknowledge them by signing the rules. This isn’t a legal signature, but is a solid start to having a set of clear guidelines on what is considered acceptable behaviour for everyone.
Keep clear lines of communication open with your housemates and discuss issues as they arise. If situations are left unattended they can often get out of hand, and an early, non-confrontational discussion can shut the issue down before it became a significant problem. If you see the potential for discussions to become confrontational, request an impartial third party to be part of the conversation to mediate or assist with any condition negotiations or compromises.
If things are becoming a significant concern and you’ve tried to discuss the situation with your housemate, you may need to consider reporting them to your agent or landlord. If your name is listed on the lease, you could potentially be held liable for any damage or issues arising from your housemates behaviour, so keeping your agent or landlord in “the loop” could save you a headache in the future.
Know Your Tenancy Rights And Responsibilities
Different types of tenants mean different types of rights and responsibilities under the lease. You may be the head-tenant, or a co-tenant, with your name listed on the lease. You could also be a sub-tenant with a written agreement or a sub-tenant without a written agreement.
If your ‘nightmare’ housemate has their name on the lease, asking them to leave is not going to be a simple request as they have the right to remain in the premises much the same as you do.
If you feel that the issues with your housemate are sufficient grounds for them to be evicted, you can apply to your state Tribunal for an order to terminate their tenancy, but there is no guarantee that your request will be granted.
If all else fails you may be left with no other option than moving out. If this is where you find yourself, you must be sure to give notice in accordance with the lease and if required find a suitable replacement.