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What Would You Do? Roommate Disagreements

I enjoyed the responses from Monday’s post, so I decided to do a follow up and give a story of ‘Lisa,’ who just so happens to be Tina’s sister. Maybe controversy runs in the family?

Lisa is having roommate troubles. Her roommate, ‘Tiffany’ is cheap. Not frugal, cheap. And there are plenty of examples to back it up. Here are a few:

Example #1: Tiffany borrowed Lisa’s car and while out, got a $55 parking ticket. As she should have, Tiffany offered to pay for it. Lisa accepted, so Tiffany whipped out her wallet and handed over a $50 bill.

Really?! This isn’t a rounding game! You got the ticket, so pay it! This one makes me mad because if you mess up and admit to your mistake, you should take FULL responsibility, not just 91% responsibility.

Example #2: When they got to the apartment, Tiffany decided that the one bottle of tilex would be the only cleaning product they needed for the year. She didn’t want to “splurge” on anything else. So when some nail polish removed spilled on the carpet and tilex was the only cleaner available, it developed into a huge red stain.

I think every apartment should have a few bottles of cleaners. Don’t make your roommate buy it herself and then mooch off of them. A few dollars now will save a lot of resentment later.

Readers, how do you think Lisa should deal with Tiffany’s ridiculousness? Obviously they won’t be rooming together next year, but with 10 months to go, what should she say/not say?



  1. I deal with stuff of this nature almost daily from different people. I’ve tried number of ideas, things and tricks and they didn’t do any better. Grown people don’t change. The only thing that sometimes work is “tit for tat” – she screws you – you retaliate, she does something good – you do good.

  2. You know, I had a room mate who never, ever bought what I’d call “community products”. Toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, garbage bags. He was generally neat, but never cleaned the bathroom,vacuumed or mopped the floor either.

    He is actually a very good friend of mine, so I never really said anything, nor did it really bug me. I figured I would be buying + doing these things anyway even without a room mate, so having him pay 1/2 the rent or utilities was a bonus.

    Anyway, he moved away and ended up living with a bunch of climbing bums. We started talking one day and he said “Sandy, I want to apologize for what a horrible roommate I was.” The things he was doing to me were now being done to him.

    You see, moving in with me was sort of like living at home. You don’t ever think to buy toilet paper, but it always seems to be there when you need it. The bathroom was never moldy or stinky. It was like magic. It seriously never even occurred to him to go down that aisle in the grocery store. Once he got mooching roomies of his own, a light went on and he felt horribly bad.

    It may just be that Tiffany isn’t aware of her share of responsibilities when it comes to running a household. She sounds young and maybe she just needs to be told what’s expected of her…list out all the items and split the cost.

  3. Regarding the ticket – I’d tell her to keep the cash, that I’d rather have her call in (or go online) and completely handle payment of the ticket herself. It’s really not fair that SHE got the ticket – yet expects her roommate (even as the car owner) to handle sending the payment in. Time is money, so really Lisa is losing more than $5 here.

    As for the cleaning supplies – have Lisa suggest that a joint account be set up for communal roommate needs – not only cleaning supplies, but things like paper towels, toilet paper, possibly utilities if they aren’t included in the rent, etc. Both roommates put equal amounts in. But really, Lisa can’t be passive about telling Tina that one bottle of Tilex is NOT going to cut it for a whole apartment for a year.

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