3 Tips for Smoothing Out Tenant Roommate Disputes

How is the best way to handle a roommate break-up when one of the tenants wants to stay and the other leaves?

Landlord know their tenants do not always get along.As we’ve pointed out before, tenants and their roommates don’t always get along.

If they are having serious problems, one or both may move out sooner or later.  That’s if you’re lucky.

How is the best way to handle a roommate break-up when one of the tenants wants to stay and the other leaves?

Here are 3 tips for keeping the rent checks arriving on time.

1. Make sure all roommates understand if one moves the other has to make up the entire rent.

Check your local laws and make sure this is legal in your area, but it is in mine.  And yes, we enforce it.

Another way of putting it is the break-up should involve the roommates only and not you the landlord. 

You are not a psychologist, counselor or parent.  It is not your responsibility to go over and resolve their differences.  If they’re over eighteen, they should be adult enough to handle it on their own.

That means the tenant who stays will have to find another roommate or pay the entire rent.  It is up to him to collect anything he thinks the roommate moving out owes him.


2. Have everything in writing and be precise on what your lease says.

Okay, we all know leases really aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, but you can still bluff.

Meet with both tenants together and read over your lease.  Remind them of what they signed when they moved in. 

This should clear up any  problems the two disgruntled tenants may try to hash back on you.

You will be receiving the complete rent amount on time every month no matter what happens.  And you do not have to strain to collect your rent.  Our lease specifies rents come to us.


3. Clear up any deposit differences immediately; not when the lease is up.

(Again, check your local laws).

Who gets the deposit?

The whole point of the deposit is to have the money in reserve to fix anything the tenants may have destroyed or messed up. 

It was never your intention to give the deposit back as each roommate moves out.

If the lease calls for $500 in deposit reserved in your escrow account, you need to have $500 in that account.

It is up to the roommates to work that out also.  Do not get involved in deposit dickering.

If you have to give back some of the deposit to the roommate moving out, then the roommate who remains needs to make that amount up. 

That shouldn’t be a big problem if he goes out and gets another roommate.  Then the new tenant will need to pay the remaining roommate his fair part of the deposit.


Roommate battles can and should be ended quickly.  Be fair, but forceful  and let your tenants know you expect the rent to continue on time without excuse.

As the landlord, all you need to do is collect your rent.  Never get involved in the disputes and roommate problems of your tenants.

Leave a Reply