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Co-Living Advice

Help, My Roommate Is Crazy. What Do I Do?

Roomi is on a mission to arm New Yorkers from crazy roommates – we’ve got the online tools and guides on how to find a roommate! But what if it’s too late? What if you’ve already found yourself sharing a space with someone who seems a little bit – or a whole lot – crazy?! Now, while everyone has different definitions of what a “crazy person” really is, we’ve gathered some stories from other roomis, just so you know you’re not alone in this!

Let’s take a look at some freaky roommate stories and offer our advice for anyone experiencing something similar!

They disrespect your stuff – and everything else around them

“One morning I come home to find this roommate has gone into my room, slashed at various possessions with a hunting knife, smeared paint on my walls, put onions in my bed and left open containers of alcohol everywhere. When I confronted him, he said, “Missebean, you can’t stay out all night and then come home and expect me to NOT have gone into your room and done some stuff.” As I planned and executed my escape, my roommate’s shenanigans continued. Among his offenses:

  • He left every single faucet in the house running full blast, left the front door open and left the apartment unattended
  • He laminated live goldfish to the kitchen table”

Reddit poster missebean might just win the award for “craziest roommate” and, as humorous as this story might seem on the surface, the reality is actually quite serious. If you can relate (and if you can, we feel for you), then action needs to be taken.

Roommates like this one can present a real danger – to themselves, to you and, apparently to goldfish. If they’re going as far as defacing the property, disrespecting your space and harming animals, then you need to alert the landlord (at the very least). If things escalate beyond this, the cops need to know. Not only will you lose your deposit if the apartment has been trashed or graffitied, if your roommate appears mentally unwell then you need to take the responsibility away from yourself and pass it to someone who is better-equipped to handle the situation.

Contact one of their close friends or family members or seek advice from a mental health charity. 

Your roommate acts strangely toward you

“Was sharing a house with a middle-aged woman on a month-to-month lease. Had a friend who was moving out of the country and needed someone to finish out her lease, so I told her I would. Told my roommate that I was giving my 30-day notice, blah blah. She seemed fine.

For a few days, at least, she seemed fine.

Then I came home to a 8-page, front and back, handwritten manifesto nailed to my door. Oddly, nothing about me … not even a “you were loud sometimes, didn’t clean up, etc”. No, it was about how I was tearing a hole in her soul that could never be repaired. Mind you, I’d lived there for three months.”

If, like Reddit poster automator3000, your roommate seems to have misunderstood your relationship, things can get awkward. As soon as you get the impression that they feel more strongly toward you than a standard roomi should, address the problem straight away! You can do this in one of two ways – directly or indirectly:

  1. The direct approach: Tell them (gently) that you feel like they’re acting inappropriately toward you. Let them know that, although you enjoy their company as a roommate, you get the impression that they have stronger feelings for you and you don’t reciprocate them.
  2. The indirect approach: If you feel uncomfortable talking about the situation (or you’re unsure how strongly they feel right now), try creating space. Avoid doing any “date-like” activities with them and even tell them about your colleague/classmate that you have a crush on. Whatever you do, make it clear that you’re not romantically interested in your slightly smitten roomi.

They take “unhygienic” to a whole new level

“I was in my early 20s and I lived with a nice enough girl. She always kept her bedroom door closed and kept her cat in there. After we had lived together for about a year she decided to move out. She packed up a bag and left, saying she’d be back later for her things. But she didn’t come back and I needed to make room for a new roommate, so I started packing her things.

I opened the door to her room…and the smell. Oh god, it was gross. There was poo…All over the floor, the walls, everywhere.

After days of cleaning it’s starting to look and smell better but the carpet is so disgusting it needs to be replaced. I pull it up and…maggots.” baileyquarters on Reddit.

If your roommate has a pet they’re not looking after, or they’re doing something else to stink out your apartment, you shouldn’t have to live in these conditions. Not only is it uncomfortable; it’s also unsafe and unsanitary. When their messiness goes beyond forgetting to take out the trash, it’s probably time to go your separate ways.

Let your landlord or RA know what’s happening, providing photographic evidence of your place. Tell them the place is unlivable and that you want to break the lease, move into a new room or have your roommate evicted. You might have to pay for a professional cleaner, but at least the culprit will be gone and you can enjoy the clean, hygienic apartment you deserve.