Step 1. Talk it through with other housemates
If there are more of you living in the house, find out what their feelings are towards the person who is causing strife. It might be that the problem is obvious and affecting everyone – like really bad personal hygiene, their ever-growing menagerie of stray cats they bring home or throwing impromptu raves in the house without inviting you.
If it’s something minor, sound out the rest of the household to see if it’s just something that annoys you. If the household all feel uncomfortable, move to Step 2.
Step 2. Make at least some attempt to resolve the situation
Some people are just born with an innate irritation gene. They can be thoughtless, selfish and blissfully unaware of the annoyance their actions cause others. Some of these people can be taught to break bad habits simply by someone having the guts to say what is wrong.
If their crime is something simple like leaving their dirty clothes in a pile by the washing machine and expecting the laundry fairy (i.e. you) to do it, then sit them down and explain that you have a busy life to lead, and you are not their mother.
Try and be as upbeat as possible but firm so that the message sinks in. If this fails go to Step 3.
Step 3. Look at your options regarding getting rid of the housemate
Flying in to a rage and declaring that the person must immediately leave the house is a natural reaction, but unless you own the house and they just happen to be kipping on the sofa, with no tenancy agreement in place, this isn’t really an option.
You could ask your landlord to evict the person, but there’s a danger that you could all lose tenancy. If you ask them to leave and they refuse, it’s time to get sneaky. Psyche yourself up and move on to Step 4.
Step 4. Make life difficult, just as they have done for you
Going on strike and refusing to do the dishes or their laundry will only result in the house deteriorating even more. A good tip is to remove all their dirty dishes and laundry from communal areas and pile them back in their room.
This works best if you have your own set of dishes and cutlery. For shared kitchen utensils and crockery see Step 5.
Step 5. Lock away all your possessions
If you find your belongings mysteriously go ‘walkabout’ or turn up in places you wouldn’t expect them, it’s time to regain ownership and hold on to it. The flatmate who keeps ‘borrowing’ your TV/PS3/ Jewellery… will really notice the difference when their access to free stuff disappears.
This counts for the small things as well. It will be a minor irritation to have to fetch loo roll from your room each time, but if it gets rid of this person, then it will be worth it in the long run!
Step 6. Fight Fire with Fire
Do everything you can to be the worst housemate ever:
- Affect a rapid decline into insanity, rambling incoherently whenever they talk.
- Insist on fire drills at 3am on Sunday morning.
- Adopt an imaginary friend who ‘doesn’t like’ said roommate.
- Knock on their door periodically in the night asking if they’re sleeping well
- Leave their window open while they’re out and turn their radiator off.
- Correct everything they do (right down to putting socks on) with ‘the right way’ of doing it. Be as imaginative as possible.
- Start sleepwalking… nude.
Of course some people simply can’t be moved – if they persist and you find you just can’t live with them any more, it might be time to find a new place of your own!
You have to decide – do you hate them more than you love your house…?