AdviceHey, Bonita!

My Roommate’s Boyfriend Won’t Leave Our Apartment

Hey Bonita!

So my roommate’s boyfriend has moved in with usunofficially. I have two roommates, and we have been living together for a year in the same apartment now but have known each other for three years. One of my roommates has been dating this guy for basically two-and-a-half years, and while we all like this guy, he has recently been at our apartment a lot. It was fine at first, even despite COVID precautions about having people come over a lot. (He is a server, so he has high exposure to other people.) My other roommate and I genuinely like this guy, but I think it’s starting to drive both of us crazy.

He is here constantly, even when our roommate isn’t here. He stays the night five or six nights a week. Recently, he has been staying here to study and is still here even when my roommate is at class. He has his own place with a couple of roommates, but he only goes there basically to shower and get fresh clothes after his shifts (which we appreciate due the risk of his job). He eats here, sleeps here, uses our kitchen and, for all intents and purposes, lives with us. One of his roommates is immunocompromised, so he’s worried about being around him because of his job, and he has basically decided to set up camp here without really asking.

This has been going on well before COVID, and we have talked to our roommate about how often he is here, but now that we are all home practically all the time in the same small apartment, it’s starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. Our lease is coming up for next year pretty soon, and I really don’t want to move out, but nothing seems to change when I talk to my roommate and her boyfriend about setting some boundaries. I really don’t know if I can spend another year in quarantine with our unexpected new roommate who never leaves, but I don’t really know anyone else I could move in with. I’m not even sure if this is something I should be getting annoyed about, because I do really like both of them as people, but I also really miss the days before we took on a fourth roommate against our will. Any advice?

I’m sure your roomie and her beau are both great, but they sound entitled as hell, and I’m way too direct to recommend anything other than calling their bluff. Inform them that he must start paying rent and bills. Next time y’all do the math, factor him into every single utility, and ask for his share with absolutely no irony or cheek. He wants to be a roommate, so treat him like one. I recommend even asking for a share of the deposit you all paid. If he wants to stay there whenever he’s not at work, then he should have to support the household just like you all do. He’s using your utilities and definitely having an impact on the bills you pay. And he absolutely should not be in your home when his girlfriend isn’t there, no matter how “cool” he is. It’s not his house, and he doesn’t pay bills. He can chill at his actual home, and if he’s having roommate problems of his own, then that sucks, but it’s not your problem.

I’ve never been a fan of roommates’ partners making themselves fixtures in a group home without paying their way, and it takes hard boundaries around this issue to rectify it. I’m having literal flashbacks of being locked out of my bathroom while my old roommate’s girlfriend makes me late for work again and again. In the end, we called a house meeting and informed our roommate that his partner either needed to start paying bills or remove her body wash from our communal bathroom, and they chose the latter. At the end of the day, she was taking up space that we had paid hard-earned money to call our own, and if she truly felt entitled to that level of access to our home, then she had to pay her way, too.

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