Feeling taken advantage of by my roommate (who is also one of my best friends)

I’m currently living with one of my best friends, Aiden. We met in college and got along immediately. We have a lot of similarities, interests, and people even often mistake us for brothers.

Aiden moved to my city a few months after I did because there wasn’t much opportunity where he was currently living. Because he was moving without any full-time job prospects I told him I would understand if he was behind in rent/bills the first month while looking for work.

We both had an understanding that he would look for any, and all, work just so he would have an income to cover financial responsibilities as soon as possible.

It didn’t take him long to find a job at a local restaurant, as a server, for a paycheck while looking for more “career-type” work.

Within about a month from getting the server job he got a job more along the lines of his interests and career; and a significant increase in pay (at least $2000 a month from what I saw on a pay stub he left on the kitchen table one day).

Last month I lost my job so currently the only income I have is a weekly unemployment check.

We have now been living together for 6 months…and he has yet to pay me any money for his part of rent and utilities. He’s had months to start paying me back but when I’ve asked him (monthly) he says either that he doesn’t have the money or he’s still catching up on some other debts.

This is the first I’ve heard of “other debts”. Even if he does have other debts why does he think that I have to shoulder the burden of picking up his slack when trying to pay off those debts?

I’m left wondering where does his money go if he’s mainly spending it on his personal cell phone bill, food and going out with his friends?

I’ve even resorted to leaving an itemized “bill” on a sheet of paper stuck to the fridge. An interesting thing is that the mornings after he’s had friends over (which often carries over late into the night) I’ll find the paper on top of the fridge, like he’s hiding it from his friends…perhaps so they don’t know how unreliable he is.

I’m at the point where I don’t really know what to do. We’re both on the lease so I don’t feel I can really kick him out. And even if I did, after speaking with the leasing agents at my complex they said they wouldn’t have any power to go after him. As long as one of the people on the lease is around they just care about getting their money. So, simply put, he could completely disappear and I’d be stuck with everything as they view it as a roommate agreement and not a breach of their contract since I was still present.

*Edit – I forgot to mention that for the last month (maybe two) it is obvious he is trying to avoid me. Whenever I’m in the common area when he gets home he goes immediately into his room and will not come out until I’ve gone to my room.

I’ve tested this by going to my room at different times every night for the last 3 evenings and each night I hear him come out of his roommate within 10-15 minutes of my leaving.*

8 thoughts on “Feeling taken advantage of by my roommate (who is also one of my best friends)

  1. EricaSwagger says:

    [Being taken advantage of is an understatement. Your friend is treating you like crap, walking all over you, and disrespecting your friendship.

    You need to tell him your financial situation. Explain that he has a job that’s paying him, and you don’t. Simple as that. When HE was the one without a job, you were VERY understanding. Now it’s his turn to man up and get the rent paid. You have other financial burdens besides rent (insurance, phone, etc) I’m sure, so he should be paying rent (since he hasn’t ever) while you pay the minor things until you get working again.

    Next time he pulls the “I have other debts” card, call BS. Tell him too bad, the rent needs to be paid, and you can’t handle it on your own. You need half of it, you’re sorry he’s got financial burdens, but so do you, and your names are both on the lease so you both need to contribute.

    You need to stand up for yourself. If losing that apartment would be the end of the world, you need to fight for the other half of the rent. Be firm, don’t give in, tell your friend he has to pay or get out. If you think finding another place might be better, then tell him the rent isn’t going to get paid unless he pays it. If he does, great. If not, you may lose the apartment, but at least then you could find a studio to live in alone.

    Also: You should NEVER put two names on a lease until both people are actually paying. You should have signed the lease solo if you were the only one paying.

  2. karlos says:

    [If you ever feel the need to really make your point known. Poop on a sheet of clingfilm, flatten it out and post in under his door.

    No message is stronger than one of wafer thing poop.

  3. Solstice says:

    [I think you need to have a really serious talk about how much it’s affecting you since you’re unemployed. If he’s truly a best friend, he’ll make the effort to pay you, at least some of the money if he doesn’t have all of it. I just can’t imagine screwing over my best friend like that. Otherwise if he still doesn’t listen, you might have to take steps to kick him out and find a new, reliable roommate. Nobody deserves to pay for their roommate’s expenses, especially when they’re unemployed.

  4. resullins says:

    [I agree with Erica. He’s taking everything he has for granted, and it’s time you call him out on it. At this point, he’s got to be in the thousands in debt to you, and that’s just shenanigans (sorry, I try not to cuss here).

    You need to sit him down and tell him that you took care of him for months, and now he’s putting you in serious jeopardy. If he doesn’t respond immediately with money, time to cut your losses, on the money and the friendship. How long is your lease? If you signed a 6-monther, I would get out of there now. Tell him you’re moving, and that he’s on his own.

    I also agree that next time, don’t put anyone else on the lease. That was not a smart move, legally, because as you see, you now really have no course of action for getting rid of him.

    This guy doesn’t seem to me like quite as good of a friend as you think he is, which sucks… but he needs to deal with this.

  5. MitziM. says:

    [I’ve definitely had this happen before. Unfortunately, the only way I got the other person to attempt to pay was to threaten to bail. Yes, it would have looked bad on me and put me in debt, but the other person would have been just as effected.

    It’s definitely time to put your foot down. Pull the “I pay all the bills, we live under my rules” card. No friends over, no eating your food, no using your stuff until rent is paid. See how that works out.

  6. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [I went through a similar situation a number of years back with a good friend of mine who also became a roommate of mine; although not as much to the extent of your situation.

    He only got about 1 1/2 months behind in rent before he started making payments to begin to cover his debt and quickly caught up. Thing was his job situation wasn’t too consistent so there was always the cloud hanging overhead about when his next paycheck would be coming in and if he would end up falling behind in bills again.

    At the time I was making very little money, working 2 jobs and 50-80 hour weeks, just to make my own ends meet.

    To save the friendship I asked him to move out. He did and we not only remained friends but he is still one of my best friends.

    I’d say everything was better after that with my roommate situation but a high school friend moved in after that and long story short she ended up treating me worse regarding our living situation.

    My advice for this situation, try to talk to him (by any means since he’s apparently avoiding you); note in the apartment, e-mail, Facebook (or whatnot)…ideally face to face though as it should help drive home the point better and come off less passive-aggressive.

    Once that situation has been “ironed” out; don’t be roommates to anymore best friends. Mixing friends and money is usually a recipe for disaster.

  7. Happy Pants says:

    [You need to tell him point blank that he owes you money, regardless of his other debts. He is majorly taking advantage of you, and it needs to stop. Don’t try to be nice, don’t try to compromise. He needs to pay you, end of story. It’s even more insulting now that he actually HAS the money, and you NEED the money.

    If he doesn’t pay you, threaten to move out (if it were me, I’d actually look for other, cheaper places, then sublet my room, with whatever constraints the landlord puts on that kind of thing). Also, normally I don’t advocate being petty, but this is a situation where you’re going to need to go 90s sitcom old-school on his ass and draw a line down the common living areas and in the cupboards and put your name on everything so he doesn’t get to mooch off of you any more than he already has.

  8. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Hey everyone!

    First, thank you for all the comments, advice and basically “tough love”.

    I wanted to come back here and let you know that my roommate started paying me back about a month after I original posted here. Long story short of a lot of passive-aggressive behavior (on my part and his) he only owes me about $200 more (which is not as much as you would think compared to the original full tab).

    He has become more distant and avoids even being in the same room as me now. I think it’s been close to 3 weeks since we’ve even spoken to the other. When he gives me money it’s usually cash/check on the kitchen counter with my name on it.

    Also, with the lease coming to an end in about 3 months I’ve already told him I’m going to get a place on my own. He’s decided to stay in this apartment; which will be interesting considering 80% of the things in the shared space is mine so he’ll have more than just double the rent to have to consider.

    Thanks again. Sad that I’ve lost a friendship over something as stupid as money but at least I recognized it (with your help) that there was a problem here and not be just being paranoid.

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