I am a homeowner who rented a spare bedroom to a single male boarder and his two dogs. Currently, I am working like the dickens to get him to move out, with light at the end of the tunnel. This has been an uncomfortable, and occasionally ugly process.
He’s mid-30’s, works full time, with no drug or alcohol issues. When we met, he was living at a campsite. Yes, I know….red flags. He explained he was having trouble finding a rental due to his two larger-sized dogs. I mentioned having a spare room. I was clear that I didn’t need a roommate financially; that I was looking for someone who would be helpful around the house, with the result of increasing my free time on weekends. In return, I’d charge less than market.
It felt like a good fit; and he, and his dogs, moved to my home sans-contract. Despite my words about helping out, he quickly settled into a routine of doing the bare minimum, and then often only after having to nag him about it. For instance, cleaning up after his dogs in the yard. His attitude after moving in changed markedly as well. The enthusiasm and friendliness melted away to gruff indifference, in which “hi” seemed like a challenge for him. Any request to change his MO was met with defensiveness, and a willingness to argue.
I put up with it for about two months. At that point, he had eroded my goodwill. Besides the small rent I was collecting, there were no benefits to having him around. Besides dealing with his poor attitude, the negatives included his taking over the common spaces and television in the home whenever he was not working. Besides sleeping, he spent no time in his room. I began spending all of my time in my bedroom in order to avoid him….almost as though I was the renter.
At the sixty-ish day mark I no longer looked for tactful ways of saying things, and made it clear I would no longer be accepting rent from him. This was met with anger, which (regretfully) I served back in a healthy portions. I believe I mentioned something about his state of poverty as a middle-aged adult bearing a direct relationship to his attitude problem. When I mentioned his laziness around the house, his reply was something to the effect of, “since you own the home, you should be prepared to do the work necessary to maintain it.”
He’s got a few days left in the rental period, at which point I will give him the option of leaving on his own. If not, I will have no other choice than to file trespassing charges. Uggg, not how I hoped this would turn out.
Besides the obvious advice of not finding renters who live at campsites, what could I have done better to ensure my renter knew my expectations, and would not move in without being prepared to meet them? A weekly “chore list” feels like I am treating an adult as a child, but otherwise I am relying on their word and character, which seems like a crap shoot at best. 1027-13
The “two large dogs” would have been the first red flag for me. Regardless of how well behaved they are, they will still create more dirt and possible wear and tear on the house. It’s like you had 2 or 3 roommates, not 1.
It is good to give people a helping hand up but through these experiences we do discover that some people are in their predicaments because of choices they have made and continue to make.
Now you know the value of a rental contract even if it’s for a roommate, particularly for unconventional rental situations where labor is swapped for a room or a reduction in rent. Having a weekly “chore list” would be childish if it was you, the homeowner, laying out a list of mandatory chores to be done each week as if you were the parent commanding a child to obey. But having a conversation prior to the move in date to discuss each person’s expectations of the living arrangements and then codifying them in a written rental contract is a wise way for two adults to reach an amicable agreement with no misunderstanding as to what was expected later on. COmunicate clearly what you expect a renter to contribute to the operation of the house; i.e. prompt cleaning of dirty dishes, bathroom cleaned once a week, if a shared laundry then clothes cleaned and removed from the dryer and laundry area promptly, dog poop cleaned up in the yard weekly (and have some place where this is intended to go…compost pile? special trash bags and can?), a security deposit for any damage the dogs do to the house (scratches on door jambs is common), etc.