How to Make an Unwelcomed Roommate Move Out

by iROOMit Team
August 19, 2022
5 min read

Roommate living or co-living is a common part of adulthood, and unfortunately, it's also common to have a bad roommate. Whether your roommate is loud, messy, smelly, or doesn't pay the rent, sometimes it just doesn't work out. If you love your apartment but hate your roommate, start by having an honest conversation with them. Tell them what bothers you. If that doesn't work, figure out how to firmly but politely invite them to move out. If necessary, you may have to take legal action to kick out a roommate who doesn't move out or violates a major agreement. If that isn't an option, you may have to move out yourself. You can redirect him or her to the right roommate or rooms platform such as

Figure out your roommate's annoying behaviors

This will help you reference facts and specific incidents and point out a pattern of behavior. Keep a running list with dates and times and what exactly occurred. When you have a conversation with your roommate, you can refer to specific incidents rather than making generalizations.

  • If you think you might take legal action or go to your landlord, it can be useful to take a picture.
  • This is especially important if your roommate isn't paying rent, isn't on the lease, or has given a set of keys to someone who isn't on the lease.
  • Keep in mind that if your roommate pays the rent on time and isn't damaging the apartment, your landlord will likely be unwilling to kick them out.

Choose a time to talk when you are both calm

Have the conversation when you are calm, sober, and have enough mental energy to have an honest conversation. Don't start the conversation if either one of you is in a rush––for example, if you're heading out to work or class. You might also want to avoid bringing this up if either one of you is tired after a long day. A good time might be a weekend morning that you both have off.

  • If your roommate doesn't have a calm personality, pick a time when you are calm

Offer your roommate enough time

Choose the timing of the conversation wisely. If you tell your roommate you want them to move out months before your lease is up, expect high tensions until your roommate can move out. However, don't give them such short notice that they can't find another housing situation. Make sure you give a firm date that you need your roommate moved out by.

  • If you can't live with your roommate through the end of the lease, you may have to consider moving out yourself and finding a subletter. You can't reasonably ask your roommate before the lease is up, unless they aren't paying rent or aren't on the lease.
  • If your roommate isn't on the lease, you can ask them to move out at any time. You don't have to wait until your lease is up. However, give them a reasonable amount of time to find another place to live.

Talk about what’s bothering you

Some people have habits they don't realize are annoying until they live with other people. It's possible that a brief conversation where you mention the behaviors that are bothering you will help your roommate fix the problem and not need to move out at all.

  • For example, say something like, "You like to listen to music really loudly at 2am. That makes it hard for me to get enough sleep and get up for work in the morning. Can you try wearing headphones or turning down the music?"
  • Be clear about what exactly is bothering you. Giving reasonable alternatives can help smooth over the conversation.

Speak directly your roommate

The direct approach is the healthiest approach. Tell your roommate exactly why you don't think you'll be able to continue living with them. Remember that asking someone to move out is a big deal and be respectful when answering questions your roommate will probably have.

  • Say something like, "I tried to make this situation work, but I don't think we work as roommates. Your schedule staying up all night every night and my work schedule just aren't working out. I think it's best if I find a roommate whose habits line up better with mine." clear language to avoid misunderstandings. No matter if you use a direct or indirect approach to the conversation initially, make it clear that you want your roommate to move out. Give firm dates or timelines.
  • For example, you can say something like, "I think it's best if you move out. Our lease is up in 2 months. Can you find a new place to live by then?"
  • If you want to give your roommate a bit more of a nudge, you can offer to help them look for new places or even offer to help them move. The more help you can give, the more likely your roommate is to make the move. help pay for a move if you can. If your roommate just moved in, it may not be financially feasible for them to move out again right away. If you are asking them to move out, you may want to ease the transition by offering to pay application fees or move-in fees, or waiving rent for their last month in the apartment.
  • Only offer what you can afford to pay.
  • This can be a good option if your roommate is a friend and you want to make a peace offering.

Need a new roommate? Why not search for roommates near you!