Social Question

bongo's avatar

How can I make my housemate pay his share of the bills?

Asked by bongo (4292 points ) November 15th, 2011

Ok so I moved into a new house in September and it is only me and one other guy living together, we both go to uni together and only met through a house hunting event held by the university to help people find housemates when they don’t know anyone.
We talked about bills and as we both receive funding we have a joint account we both pay into every month to pay bills. I sorted out the internet, phone, tv licence and he was supposed to sort out gas and electric and water however I have had to sort that out now as he didn’t bother. We are only in November and he is already behind on the bills, he hasn’t even fully paid the first month’s bills and so I am having to cough up the cash so that we don’t get fined or cut off etc. I have been going without to make sure we pay everything ok however now he has been spending about £40/week on cannabis. It’s not him smoking that bothers me at all and I definitely wouldn’t want to get police or anything involved but how on earth is this more important than bills? I have asked him many times to pay the money and he keeps telling me ‘next time his money comes in’ i.e. his maintenance grant, but I know this will mean that he will just be short for the months afterwards… There is no way that I can move out or anything and I really don’t want to cause an argument over this right now as we both have a lot of work on and I know we are both stressed out. I just feel that I’m being taken for granted here as we are in the same position financially.

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16 Answers

Judi's avatar

You need to start now to get him out and find another roommate. You can’t force someone to be responsin=ble. The longer you wait the worse it will be.

bongo's avatar

@Judi I cant force him out of the house, it is a multiple occupancy house and we both have equal rights to be here.

wundayatta's avatar

Does he pay rent directly to the landlord, or does it go through a fund like the other bills? You could take his money and apply it to the bills, and then if the landlord complains, tell him it is your roommates problem. Then, if your landlord has a problem, he can kick out the other guy.

But if you do not have a primary lessee, then whose name goes on the utility bills? This doesn’t sound very kosher to me.

bongo's avatar

Its both of our names on the bills (apart from the internet as i get a discount through my mobile phone network)
We pay rent separately. I am not responsible for his rent and vice versa, it just comes out of our individual accounts and I know he has money for rent.

john65pennington's avatar

Judi is correct. On your next housemate, do not take their word, make them sign a contract with you that will be binding in court.

Judi's avatar

@bongo , I don’t know the laws in the UK, but if he is somehow in breach of your contract you should have some sort of recourse. Can you take him to a local court like we have small claims in the US? Who owns the house? Is he paying his share of the rent? Whose name are the utilities in?
If you have no other recourse, YOU might have to move.

bongo's avatar

@Judi I have no idea about stuff like that. The landlord owns the house though, we both pay rent separately and yes he is paying his rent on time, directly to him and have our own contracts. The bills are under both of our names apart from the internet which is just under my name. We each have a guarantor for the rent but bills are not mentioned. In our contract it just says we cannot allow for the gas/water/electric/phone to become cut off to require a re-connection charge and if we do we are liable for the charge, but that’s it.

Coloma's avatar

We teach people how to treat us. If you keep letting this person skate on their obligations they have zero incentive to take responsibility.

You need to have a serious discussion with this person about what you expect and set a boundary with consequences. Let them know that YOU will move out if they do not comply with the agreement. Then do it!

Tell them that you will not have this discussion again and so they should not be surprised when you simply vacate the situation.

We learn from experience, don’t waste your time with this person if they cannot keep an agreement like a big boy or girl.

Sometimes the best course of action is to cut your losses and move on.

Make sure you consult your landlord, pay any currently due rent and any utilities, then have your name removed and let this person sink their own ship.

marinelife's avatar

Do not let him continue to get away with it. Tell him that he has to take care of his share of the bill’s right now (the back portion and the current), and he cannot fall behind again.

Tell him that you can’t carry him.

Blueroses's avatar

People who prioritize cannabis in their budgets are the absolute worst housemates. I had one of those in college too… all into short-term self gratification and secure in the knowledge that someone else will take care of the “musts”. Ugh.

I actually resorted to taking my roommate’s smoking paraphernalia and stash and ransoming it back to him for cash with the promise that the next time he was late, I would take out my stress by dropping his bong from the roof. We were never friends but that resolved the issue until I could get into a different living situation.

nikipedia's avatar

You can talk to him all you want but it doesn’t sound like this guy is listening. If you can’t make him go, you may need to move yourself out.

bongo's avatar

Ok cheers guys, looks like I’m going to have to give him an ultimatum, I really don’t want to move out, I love this house, It really suits me…But if he doesn’t settle all finances by the time his next grant comes in ill be gone by the time January exams are over and leave him with it to sort out on his own. See how he deals with it then.

Judi's avatar

Just remember that since the utilities are in your name you might want to make sure you are able to pay them until then. Also, can you lock him out of the intranet until he pays?

bongo's avatar

I have money to pay the bills, I’m not the one spending £40 – £60 a week on cannabis, I have more than enough money to live as a student (not much meat and cheap wine on the weekend). He doesn’t use the internet much anyway as he works at uni and I work at home, wouldn’t really deter him. I may go have a chat with the uni finance department too, see what they say about the situation, they may acutally be able to help me out. From what I have heard from other students they are very helpful in that kind of situation.

Judi's avatar

@bongo , That’s great. I was hoping that theer were resourses available to you like that. Although I know a lot about property management, I have no idea what laws might be in place in your country to assist you in this. I hope the school finance department can be helpful.

Coloma's avatar

@bongo

Good plan! Yep, financing a pot head room mate is not your job.
It’s one thing to indulge now and then and entirely another to make it your number one priority.

Good luck!

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