Peace and comfort at home is one of the key components of a happy and productive life, so it’s completely understandable that you want relationships with your roommate be as smooth as possible. Money issues are among the most sensitive subjects in the world and sometimes a few bucks really don’t worth the drama, but some situations require your action even if you don’t feel like getting into a conflict. As a matter of fact there are some particular money situations when you not only should but also must ask your roommate to pay:
Roommate is getting out of the lease on a short notice.
So your roommate just let you know that he’s not paying his share of the rent next time because he is moving out. While you are happy for him making the next step in his life, next month’s rent is his responsibility as much as it is yours. And he, surely, knows it, deep down inside. So feel free to ask what he’s thinking to do about the next month’s rent. Because even if this month has just started and you theoretically have plenty of time to find someone, it’s not your problem.
How to do it
Even if you are boiling with rage inside starting your argument with tantrum and accusations won’t help the situation. In fact this might be exactly what your roommate is preparing for. Instead, try to keep it easy with something like: “Oh, man, I’m so happy for you, I know you always wanted to live in Hawaii congrats on finally making it happen. So what are we going to do about the rent next month?”
Your roommate is going away for an extended period of time
Your roommate has just told you that she’s going to spend two months in France studying Arts and she didn’t say a word about paying the rent. Even if she’s playing it cool and pretends that rent is not her problem you owe it to yourself to remind her about the rent and make her acknowledge the fact that she still has to pay rent even if she’s not going to be living in the apartment all this time. Be nice but firm about it: her part of rent is not your responsibility.
How to do it
“Oh wow, I’m so excited for you! I always dreamt of visiting France! So, are you planning to sublet your room for the time you are not here or will you just pay the rent yourself?” If she is paying the rent herself then make sure she pays you before she leaves and if she’s subletting the room to someone else, it’s important for you to feel comfortable with the person taking over the room.
Something in the apartment breaks and you fix it
When you pay for any repairs in the apartment your roommate has to share the cost with you. Period. After all, both of you (or all of you) live in this apartment, and both of you need the apartment functioning properly. You shouldn’t even be embarrassed about it. Just let your roommate know what happened, what was done and how much it cost.
How to do it
When something breaks it’s best to wait for your roommate to discuss the situation and make a decision but if you absolutely cannot wait, then make sure to take pictures of the broken object and keep all the repair receipts.
When you are buying groceries
Of course it doesn’t look good to ask your roommates pay if each one of you buys his or her own groceries, but if you share your food expenses and you just went out and got yourself a fool bag of yummies asking suggesting your roommates to share it with you is not also fair but also very nice of you. Especially if you suspect that your roommates are stealing your food. By doing so you indirectly let your roommates know that you notice them stealing your food and you are not ok with it.
How to do it
Surprise your favorite roomies with the news that you have bought a whole bag of delicious foods for all of you to enjoy and then mention that the receipt from grocery store is on the fridge door.
When your roommates guests damage your or destroy your property.
So let’s say your roommate had his Birthday Party on your living room last night and one of your fancy wine glasses got broken. Not a big deal but still. If your roommate didn’t offer you to pay the damage it’s totally ok for you to ask him to do this. Otherwise something as insignificant as a broken glass can become a cause of a big fight one day.
How to do it
Replacing the broken thing yourself and then just letting your roommate know that you’ve done it will be a perfectly clear hint. Be nice about it as well, after all it’s not about the money, it’s about you letting your roommate know how you feel about the situation.
I know that even when you feel that you are right asking your roommates for money can be nerve wracking especially if you are the person who doesn’t like confrontations. But, trust me, you will feel good about yourself if you do this. Much better than if you just let it slide because you didn’t want to start a conflict. The key for the whole thing to succeed is to convey the right message to your roommate with your body language and the tone of your voice. Remember you are not asking your roommate to pay because you want to start a conflict. And you are not doing it because you can’t afford paying yourself, you are doing it because you care about yourself and stand up for yourself when you feel that you are being mistreated. Protecting yourself will not only help you solve the current situation but also will contribute to creating a healthy and respectful relationships with your roommate.