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How can I motivate my roommate to pay rent?

Washington, DC |

I rent an apt in Washington, DC. I have a roommate listed a registered occupant. I pay rent on time in full, and she pays me back when her parents give her money. We recently graduated, and she got a job in another city, but initially said she would stay in our apt and commute. We had an email conversation where she agreed to give 30 days notice before she moved out because last time I lived with her she gave me 20 min notice and left all of her stuff. Now, she is refusing to pay next month's rent because she might move out at some point during the month, (she hasn't actually given a date). Also, I bought the furniture and she paid me back 1/3 the cost. Another roommate from last time she left gave me another 1/3. If I can't make her pay rent, can I make her leave the furniture?

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Attorney answers 2


I understand your frustration, but if you are the tenant and she is an occupant, you are responsible for the rent and if it isn't paid, you are risking eviction or at least damage to your rental record. If you purchased the furniture together you will have to resolve who takes what, but you don't want to try to hold onto things that are legitimately hers in an effort to get the rent. You can likely sue her for her portion of the rent if she fails to pay, but try to resolve the issue with her first. Also discuss the issue of replacing her on your lease with your landlord before you get a new roommate, or you could end up with an illegal sublease and both the roommate and your landlord coming after you.



I have no intention of not paying rent. The reason she is not a tenant on the lease is so that I could protect my credit score by paying the full amount regardless of her rebellious teenager mentality. Last time she moved out and left all her stuff, I couldn't throw it out because she could sue me for taking her stuff. I bought the furniture on my own, and she paid me back for part of it. Does that constitute ownership or just an extra fee for providing her with a furnished living space? I have no intention of keeping things she brought into the apt, only things that I bought. Is this really an agreement I have with my roommate if her parents pay all of her expenses, and her mom and I are the ones who discussed her rent? I feel more like my roommate's caretaker while she's away from her parents than her roommate, and I didn't agree to that.


You could sue your roommate for the back rent owed to you but essentially you will be responsible for any unpaid rent to the landlord since you are technically the tenant and she is not.

Answers to this question are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship or constitute legal advice

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