What Should You Do If Your Roommate Won’t Pay Rent

Having a roommate is a great way to reduce the cost of living on your own. You can run into problems quickly, however, if your roommate won’t pay rent and starts to default on their agreement to pay rent and other expenses. If this starts to happen, you need to get control of the situation quickly before you end up holding the bag for all of your living expenses.

Talk to Your Roommate About the Problem

If your roommate misses a payment, it may be an oversight. Talk to them right away and get to the bottom of the problem. This prevents them from getting too far behind if they have no intention of trying to catch up on the past due amount. Address the situation as quickly as possible and let them know it’s not a good idea to get behind.

recourse if roommate won’t pay rent

Talk to Your Landlord

Talk to your landlord about the situation. If your roommate is on the lease, you may need to find out what it will take to have their name removed. Your landlord will help you sort out the situation and may even give you time to come up with the other share of the rent money since this was an unforeseen event. Take care of the situation quickly. They may not be so lenient in the future.


Document Everything

Document everything. Give your roommate a receipt for all of the money they give you towards the rent and other bills. It may also be a good idea to give copies to the landlord for safekeeping. Having everything documented is essential, especially if you end up taking your roommate to court for breaking their part of the lease. Receipts are the best way to track payments.

Look For a New Roommate

If your old roommate is gone, you may choose to find someone to take their place. If you do, have a background check performed. This will go a long way in proving your potential roommate’s credibility. It’s also a good idea to ask for references who will vouch for their past history. It’s not a good idea to just take someone’s word for their credit or rental history. Ask for proof.

When a roommate won’t pay rent or follow through with their end of the lease, you need to act quickly. Be proactive and have a plan in place for this type of problem. It will prevent you from getting behind and will help you stay on top of your own expenses.

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