Author Topic: To share or not ... that is the question  (Read 40141 times)

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Moray

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #60 on: April 24, 2013, 01:14:36 PM »
How much would a small space heater only used in the mornings add to the electric bill?

Would you charge extra if she used a blow dryer or curling/flat iron in the mornings? What about a computer or an alarm clock?

Was there a discussion about how many things she could have plugged in?

I also feel like you are nitpicking with his lodger. If her being there bothers you, why not just ask her to leave. With notice, of course.

I agree. When I had roommate, I had a space heater in my room because it was over the porch and quite drafty in the winter. I would have been shocked to ask to pay extra.

I think she would be within her rights to have you turn the heat up in the mornings, but instead, she tried not to affect you.

If your lodger was running a fan in the summer months, would you ask her to pay extra for that too?

It seems like you are looking for things to complain about with this lodger.

That's the vibe I get, too.
Utah

TootsNYC

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #61 on: April 24, 2013, 01:36:30 PM »
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Lodger spilt water on the kitchen floor and proceeded to wipe it up with the tea towel.  Gross!

I think that might be a personal issue.  I do the same thing - and then it goes into the washer.  Since I know it's going to be sufficiently clean after I wash it - and my floor isn't that dirty - I've never had a problem with it.

If she'd put it back on the counter to be used, that's a different story.  But you didn't say that happened.

I agree that this might seem a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

However, I *do* think it's completely fair for you to say, "Hey, please don't use the dish towel to mop up the floor. It squicks me out."

But I personally would say, "Please don't....because floor dirt is harder to get out, and when tea towels get stained, then it's hard to tell when they're clean." (But that's mostly because my floor isn't all that clean to begin with, and NYC dirt is particularly greasy and sooty.)

It's your house--you are entitled to tell her to not do the things that bother you. Just say it--straight-forward, matter-of-fact.

Approach every one of these as though they are simply things she didn't know. Like, maybe she doesn't know that the express bus stops running after 7pm--that sort of "didn't know." Just say, "I have a quirk--I'd rather you did that this way." THEN STOP TALKING.  That's what'll keep you from being a nag. Don't justify, argue, defend, explain. Because THAT is what will turn it into a naggy lecture.

One sentence. OK, OK, maybe three. "Oh, would you please not use the tea towels on the floor? It squicks me out. Here's the towels you can use."


(I also have what I call "trash towels"--old tea towels, marked in green Sharpie on every corner--that I use for wipe ups. I store them right next to the dish towels. A mop is hugely cumbersome and annoying when there's only 3 tablespoons or something. Consider that as a way to compromise. And as a way to *redirect* instead of just forbid--redirecting is often much more effective in terms of actually changing behavior.)

DottyG

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #62 on: April 24, 2013, 01:37:35 PM »
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However, I *do* think it's completely fair for you to say, "Hey, please don't use the dish towel to mop up the floor. It squicks me out."

Sure.  That's reasonable.


EMuir

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #63 on: April 24, 2013, 01:45:41 PM »
A heater is something that I'd charge extra for.  And, the amount of wattage drawn by one might be an issue as well.  I bought a heater for one cold bedroom in my house.  We found out the hard way that there was a problem with the wiring along the way to that heater, but in another room (where's that burning smell coming from?).  The wiring was fine for small things, but a space heater draws a LOT more than a curling iron or hair dryer.

saki

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #64 on: April 24, 2013, 01:51:21 PM »
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It's your house--you are entitled to tell her to not do the things that bother you. Just say it--straight-forward, matter-of-fact.

I'm not so sure about this.   I don't think it's reasonable to dictate how your lodger does every single little thing around the house.  In part because if you have 20 things that you tell her not to do every week, a) she's just going to stop listening to you because it will feel to her like there is no way she can win and b) it's going to create a really uncomfortable living atmosphere.

If you really must bring up these sorts of things - I suggest you impose on yourself some kind of limit.  E.g. you can make no more than 2 requests of this sort per week.  Not that you have to stick rigidly to this if she does three really egregious things in one week but it might help you to know when its sensible to stop and just bite your tongue.  And I would second the suggestion from someone else to ask her what she thinks and whether there's anything that you do that bothers her.

If you continue to be this uncomfortable sharing your space, though, you need to find a way not to need a lodger.  (For what it's worth, that's what I did.)
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 02:01:59 PM by saki »

reflection5

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #65 on: April 24, 2013, 03:15:56 PM »
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If you continue to be this uncomfortable sharing your space, though, you need to find a way not to need a lodger.

That's what I'm thinking.  Easier said than done, I know.

btw - regarding the original question about using OP's blanket, in the type of living arrangement described, I wouldn't have done it.  Or, I would have asked permission.  But (for me) using another person's blanket is kind of like using their bathrobe.  I'd just rather not.

I know someone who needed a temporary house-sharing living arrangement for a few months.  She visited several people in advance for a (mutual) “let’s get to know each other’s expectations and lifestyle” meeting.  One woman had a beautiful house, but she also had a long list of requirements and idiosyncrasies which seemed to be a bit much.

camlan

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #66 on: April 24, 2013, 05:38:51 PM »
Space heaters that use electricity are power hogs. They cost much more to run than a fan. Air conditioners also suck up the power. For example, I used to keep my whole house at 60 degrees (15 C). One room was heated to 65 for 4 hours every morning. That added an average of $40 a month to my electric bill. In my case, it was worth it, because doing this saved me a tank of oil a year, or about $450 vs. the $120 for three months of running the space heater 4 hours a day.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


DottyG

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #67 on: April 24, 2013, 05:43:24 PM »
Ok, then we're back to the fact that the lodger asked permission, was told of what would be required if she wanted a heater, decided she'd rather not have one after all and all is fine.

The lodger is still not doing anything wrong there.


Cuddlepie

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question More info #68
« Reply #68 on: April 24, 2013, 11:37:29 PM »
OP again.  Even though my original question has been answered and issue now sorted with Lodger, it would be great if I could l draw out further opinions and perspectives.

There was no need for this further BG in my first post but it is relevant to the additional queries that posters asked, in particular the heater issue.

1.   First meeting before moving in:   
Lodger loved room and the convenient location but said she could not afford what I was asking.  I advertised slighter higher anticipating that a reduced amount would be asked for, but accepted less than I budget for from lodger.

After Lodger assured me that she does not use a lot of electricity and promised that she would be careful about leaving lights on, would not use the oven, did not take long hot showers and did not feel the cold so that heating bills would not increase by much at all, I agreed to an even lesser amount that I really wanted.  I liked her and also I felt sorry for her when she told me about her current horrendous living arrangements.

We discussed the how, whats, wheres and whys of us sharing and seemed like we were on the same page regarding cooking, cleaning, noise levels, internet usage, buying our own food, watching TV, having friends over etc.  I mentioned the complexes parking rules and no pet rule.

2.   Moving in day:     Lodger settled in on Saturday morning and advised me she could not pay rent for 2 more days. She was broke but her government allowance would be paid on the Monday.  Lodger was also too broke to pay a security bond, so I haven’t charged one.
Pointed out her spots in kitchen and laundry, and while we were in laundry the cleaning products, cleaning cloths, bucket and mops etc.

3.   First Weeks:
•Gave lodger 2 headache pills as she was broke and did not have money to buy some.  They are on my shelf in pantry.  Lodger took further pills (about 8 ) without asking, I came home one night with a terrible headache to find there were none left.  I checked that son hadn’t needed them, then confronted lodger who apologised but never replaced them.  (Since then, she accidently let it slip that she has bought some and keeps them in her handbag).

•Lodger finished the last of peanut butter and tomato sauce.  The first time she asked if she could have a little, then kept using without telling me.  Son and I don’t use them every day and therefore did not notice immediately.

I told Lodger that I was now no longer willing to let her share/borrow from our cupboard as it annoyed the heck out of me to want to have something, then find she had used all and on top of that, no even bothering to tell me.

•Mentioned she was going to buy a kitten for her aunt and uncle as a house-warming present.  The only problem was that aunt & uncle hadn’t even purchased their house yet and lodger intended to keep kitten with her until they did.  Lodger was a little miffed that I vetoed having kitten for a few months (even though I love kittens and would have enjoyed having it around) she didn’t consider it a pet because she wasn’t keeping it ... it was a gift. 

4.   At 1 month:    Lodger met male on internet and wanted him to sleep over 3-4 nights each week because it was more convenient for him.  I agreed to one lodger not two and even more important, Lodger had told me all about the types of men she went out with previously and the trouble they caused her!  So until, they have gone out for longer time and I know that he is a decent man, he will not be sleeping over.

5.   The heater issue – this week:  Firstly lodger did not ask permission, she was telling me she was going to buy a heater.  Sorry, I didn’t make that clear in my previous post. 

•Electricity prices have skyrocketed where I live.  Last winter I phoned my utility company regarding  running costs as I was investigating whether or not it was cheaper for me to use such a heater in the room I was using or use the gas ducted heating for the whole house.  Those little things draw a lot of power – not as cheap to run as one would think!

•Lodger has done a 180 on feeling cold and it has baffled me.  I remember her telling me she apparently can go outside in a light dress and thongs (Aussie footwear) and be comfortable while everyone else is rugged up in winter woollies, so as you can image I was rather surprised that lodger told me she was cold in the mornings.  She gets up at 8am or later and it’s been around 15 degrees (or 60 Fahrenheit)  the day usually warms up quickly – it’s not winter yet. 

•If she is cool, it is because she is not wearing a jumper – she comes into the kitchen wearing a strappy dress and her thongs.  Since she wanted to live with me, but asked for reduced board, she can’t have it both ways.  It is either she pays more and I turn up the ducted heating and I remove my coat or she lives with the temp I choose and she wears a coat. 

•In the wintertime.  Heating comes on if the temp dips below 10C overnight, then when I get up in the morning I crank it up to 21-22C (70 Fahrenheit) so the inside air is only cold for 5-10 minutes.  So, if lodger did not feel the cold, like she let me believe, I was prepared to turn down the heating and wearing a 2nd jumper rather than having Lodger feel hot all day, every day.

If I have given the impression that I pick on Lodger in person, I really don’t.  When she leaves her plates in the kitchen – I clean them and put away, I wipe the stove and microwave and fridge spills.  One of the major differences between lodgers & roommates is that lodgers don’t share the housework although they should clean up their mess in the kitchen when they cook for themselves.  If my lodger was paying the amount that I wanted, enough to cover the extra bills without any doubts, then her using or taking things like headache pills, and some food would not bother me one bit.
 
Putting this down in writing has been rather cathartic.....  and I have realised that Lodger has the tendency to say things that I shouldn’t rely on it being so.

Lots of virtual hugs if you have read all this.   My my, it’s sooo long.
I would love your thoughts and feedback.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 12:25:17 AM by Cuddlepie »

delabela

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #69 on: April 25, 2013, 12:12:18 AM »
Well, it sounds to me like you got into a less than ideal situation.  I'm a lot like you - I'll give leeway I maybe shouldn't when I feel bad for someone.  I'm not sure of the length of your arrangement, but if you ever have another lodger, I would strongly suggest you view it as primarily a business relationship and stick to your guns when it comes to the amount of rent and boundaries around use of stuff.

As to what to do now, I think all you can do is keep politely declining to change the rules.  She has shown you if you let her use something once, she will consider it fair game.  So don't allow her to use something you don't intend to keep sharing.  I don't think that someone can tell another adult to go put on a sweater, but if the heat is at a reasonable level, you can certainly decline to turn it up. 

Good luck to you.

TootsNYC

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #70 on: April 25, 2013, 12:21:36 AM »
One thing that I've taken from your story is that the minute I feel sorry for someone with whom I want to enter a business relationship, that's a bad thing.

It's almost a sign that I shouldn't proceed. Because the balance is off.

I wonder what would have happened if you hadn't been able to drop your price and she had moved on. Do you think you'd have found someone else?

snowdragon

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #71 on: April 25, 2013, 12:24:41 AM »
At this point I would be considering kicking her out. She lied to you, took advantage of you,, took things with out so much as letting you know they were gone, refuses to share ( or replace ) what she took and wants to break rules of the complex and add a second person to her arrangement.

  At the point where she got miffed at having to follow the no complex's no pet rule, I would have told her to find other lodgings, ASAP.

 When she had the nerve to broach bringing a roomie into the picture, I would have served her with an eviction notice. She is acting like this is her house, not yours.

Emmy

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #72 on: April 25, 2013, 06:55:01 AM »
It sounds like lodger did the bait and switch, advertised herself to be one way to get a break in rent and then did a 180.  I think you need to give her notice she that it is time to go or renegotiate your contract.  Since your electric bills have increased due to her space heater and she is affected by the cold after all, charging a  fee for electric is fine.  If she wants to borrow something, let her know this is a one time thing and she is not free to continue to help herself.  I would also ask her to replace the peanut butter and other items she used up without your permission.  I also find it strange that she cries she is broke to the point where she can't buy her own medicine, but would have enough money to possibly buy and shelter a cat for several months.  I also find it unreasonable she got miffed at the 'no pet' rule.  Many people are allergic to pets, don't want their dander or hair all over the place, or to deal with possible damage they cause to furniture.  The fact that she would try to get you agree to something like that not in the contract, then be annoyed when you didn't bowl over to her wishes is quite rude.

Big things you might want to set a few house rules, but if it seems every little things drives you crazy (like the tea towels), maybe having a boarder isn't the best thing for you.

saki

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #73 on: April 25, 2013, 07:21:45 AM »

Just quickly on this point:

Quote
She gets up at 8am or later and it’s been around 15 degrees (or 60 Fahrenheit)  the day usually warms up quickly – it’s not winter yet. 


In the UK, 15 degrees C is below the recommended legal temprature for offices (16 degrees) - for me that would be absolutely freezing.  Having the heating set at 10 degrees C overnight in the winter would have me preparing to move out - just way too cold.  So, while you may be used to it, I do think it's worth bearing in mind that others may well find that unbearably cold.

On the other stuff - I can certainly see why you're annoyed by certain things, particularly the using up your stuff.  But I find it really odd that the thing that you complained about in your OP was her using your blanket when, really, she's done stuff that just seems much worse - e.g. not paying her rent on time.  It sort of suggests to me that, while she is not an angelic lodger or anything, you are also not well suited to having lodgers.

Hmmmmm

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Re: To share or not ... that is the question
« Reply #74 on: April 25, 2013, 08:41:47 AM »
Your follow up post indicates Lodger is a user. Is she young? Because it sounds like she wants you to be her mommy. I think as soon as she was able to negotiate you down in price and pull on your heart strings to let her move in two days early and to forgo a security deposit she decided there would be lots of leeway in getting her way. Reminds me of my 18 yr old DD.

In your position, I'd already be making sure Lodger was aware that at the end of your agreed upon contract, you'll be expecting her to leave. Don't clean up her messes anymore. Call her to come do them.