When Roommates Don’t Pay Their Share of the Rent


Having a roommate who does not pay their share of the rent is a terrible problem to deal with. It’s by far the worst type of roommate problem to have because their actions have a huge impact on you both.

This could turn into a major problem if the rent is short on the day it’s due. You’re both placed in a bind that could leave you on the street.

The best thing to do in this situation is to exercise some patience and understanding. Keep in mind that they most likely can’t pay for their share of the utility bills too.

Let’s look at some options, shall we?

Option #1: Suggestions for Getting Money

Try to help your roommate brainstorm some ways to get some quick cash. Selling drugs will not work, don’t even think about it!

Here are some suggestions to offer your roommate

  • Ask a family member for assistance. Mom, Dad, or a Sibling would be best.
  • Sell some books or video games for extra cash. Or any other personal items that have value.
  • Get a payday advance from work (I highly discourage this, but do what you gotta do).

You might think about picking up the entire rent and collecting it from them at a later time. Especially if you’re both sharing a lease and you don’t want to ruin your credit.

BE WARNED! You’ll have to collect it in court if they don’t pay you back! Or just kiss it off as a loss.

With enough brainstorming, you’ll work out this problem together.

Try not to get the landlord (unless the landlord is your roommate) involved if you don’t have too, all they really care about is getting the rent, not why you can’t get it.

Depending on how the rental or lease agreement is set up, you’re most likely each responsible for the entire rent as co-tenants.

You can each be sued independently for the entire rent amount so be careful! If one of you pays the whole amount, that person can then go after the other roommate for their share. Going to court sucks, so avoid it if you can.

Option #2: Bring In a New Roommate

If late or unpaid rent is a recurring theme from your roommate, you may need to give them a thirty-day notice and ask them to leave. If you set up a month to month agreement with them and you’re the head roommate, this will be easy!

If not, then make other arrangements with the landlord and work out the best solution for your situation.

You could even bring other people in to look at the room. It’s an excellent way to let your roommate (who is not paying) know you’re serious about the importance of on-time rent payments.

If you hit it off with this new person, maybe a deal with the landlord could be worked out. You could have them move in and get the old roommate off the lease. Just an idea for a peaceful solution for resolving a lousy situation.

Option #3: Give Your Existing Roommate More Time

If you are not excited about option two and getting a new roommate. Then you’ll need to keep working with your current roommate and give them more time.

Just don’t fall into a deeper hole with money or postponing a living arrangement that is about to go from bad to worse. The longer it goes on, the more at jeopardy you put yourself and the risk of being evicted for nonpayment of rent. The risk of utilities being turned off increases too.

Final Thoughts

Money and roommates can cause a lot of stress. Especially, when it relates to your well being and keeping a roof over your head. If you follow the ideas in this article, you’ll be on your way to resolve the issue very quickly and professionally.

Be sure to check out my other Roommate Advice articles for more helpful tips.