Why Room Mates Fight-

Why Room Mates Fight?

I've been lucky in a sense I never had roommates as in the original sense of the word, I did, however, live in a building where while we all had our own bedsits we had a shared communal area. This, of course, meant bills and rent weren't shared. However, we did all live in close quarters, which could end up in some testy moments.

I remember the guy who lived below me was banging on my floor one night, I went down thinking perhaps something was wrong and was met by a torrent of abuse. Apparently, I had my music on to loudly, when I tried to explain it wasn't me but next door and I had been quietly watching Eastenders I was told I was a liar and if I didn't turn it down he would kill me.

Thankfully others heard and quickly came to my rescue and until he moved out a few weeks later I stayed out of his way.

Of course, there are many reasons why house mates may fall out and the people over at Rent Cafe have been looking into some of the main culpritsΒ behind fighting fellows.


While the above is just a snapshot of their findings, it is unsurprising to see that not paying rent, and mean or insulting behaviour can be the main issues when it comes down to a breakdown in relationships with fellow roommates.

Have you ever had any issues with roommates, or when you lived in close quarters with others?

*This is a collaborative post.
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This article has 112 comments

  1. Alli Smith

    Not paying rent is a sure way to start a fight among roommates. It’s been years since I’ve had a roommate (besides my husband – lol) and thankfully, we got along just fine.

  2. candy

    Finally gave up on roommates, not paying their share of the bills. Even some good friends so I thought didn’t pay up. Live and learn.

  3. Anneka Avery

    I’ve never fought with a room mate lol

  4. lisa

    The only roommate I ever had was my brother. We worked opposite shifts so it worked out perfectly! I know I was lucky in that respect.

  5. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    I’ve never had to experience having a roommate at all. Thankfully. I’m not even keen on the idea, because I like to have my own stuff/things, and not share it. I also get too stressed out about little things, since I’m OCD.

  6. five little doves

    Oh me and my room mates at uni always used to fight, mainly over who drank the last of the milk or who didn’t clean up after themselves!

  7. Patrick

    I have lived in spaces like that when I was much younger. I once got into a fistfight with a fellow lodger after he kicked another person’s cat. He was evicted three days later. Roomies can be sketchy….

  8. Liz Mays

    I’ve definitely run into some of these problems with roommates. My kids have too. The passive-aggressiveness can become intense if you’re not on the same page.

  9. Pam Wattenbarger

    I never lived with a roommate other than my husband. I knew a lot of people who had roommate issues though.

  10. Denay DeGuzman

    When my daughters were in college some of the worst roommate offenses they told me about were leaving dirty dishes in the sink, not doing the chores listed on the chore chart, borrowing clothes and personal items without asking, and not cleaning up after throwing a party.

  11. Cheryl

    I had a college friend as a roommate when we graduated and only had one fight. It was over a christmas tree. She wanted to keep it after the new year and I wanted to toss it out. She kept it until April and never watered it! It was such a fire hazard that one day I came home and dragged it to the street!

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      Oh no what a nightmare, I have to admit we still have last Christmas tree, it was a live potted one so it lives in the garden and so far it is growing well!

  12. Anne Yedlin

    My husband and I have rented rooms in our home for about 5 years now. We have been very fortunate in who has stayed with us. We have only had 2 renters who didn’t pay rent and only one of them we had to take to court to remove. It’s a nightmare when that happens.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I’m glad that on the whole you have had good experience, I can’t imagine not paying your rent unless you were in a desperate situation but then you would talk to someone about it at least.

  13. Mimi Green

    I’m so thankful that I’ve never had any room mates. I’ve heard all kind of stories about terrible room mate situations.

  14. Heather Johnson

    I have never had a roommate because I am not a people person. My hubby and I sometimes disagree because I am much neater than he is.

  15. Eloise

    Did you sleep with a baseball bat that night? I would have if a guy told me that (after I gave him a piece of my mind though!) some people are just crazy scary… I had pretty good roommates growing up during the early college years, so I guess I’m pretty lucky for that!

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I went and stayed at my parents and didn’t go back till he had gone, I went over to go to the Christmas Party and the others wouldn’t leave me alone incase he came near, I was pretty well off in that sense, I was the youngest by a long way and the others looked out for me, while I mothered them a little I would go out and pick up shopping haha!

  16. Kita Bryant

    Thankfully, I’ve never had roommates either. They were never my cup of tea.

  17. Danielle Leigh Elen

    I’m sorry you had such an intense and uncomfortable encounter with the guy downstairs. Sounds like a good thing he moved out! All of the points outlined here seem like strong contenders as to why roommates would fall out. I couldn’t imagine having a roommate – apart from my husband and children, of course! πŸ˜‰

  18. Sandy N Vyjay

    If everyone followed basic decency rules and etiquette of community living then these issues would not arise. However it is sad that not everyone realizes their duties

  19. melissa major

    These don’t sound like ideal situations at all, I haven’t had roommates before

  20. Gareth Torrance

    I’ve been in the situation where a roommate didn’t pay their share of the rent… It’s really aggravating.

  21. Helen Costello

    I’ve been very lucky and unlucky with some of the roommates I had at uni – All part of the experience though! One roommate used to spend 2-3 hours on the communal phone to his mum every night! Showing my age as it was pre mobiles of course!

  22. Tami

    I would also add disagreeable boundaries, too. For example, one thinks it’s okay to use another person’s something or other when it’s not okay.

  23. David Elliott

    Being roommates, even with good friends can be difficult. Everyone comes in with their own expectations. And when things don’t go their way, even with friends it can be hard.

  24. Ashleigh Allan

    I have never had one. Not sure it would work for me as I’m very particular about tidyness

  25. Gideon

    Just like you i haven’t had a roommate too but you are quite right with the causes and i would also like to add misunderstanding to it cause if there is understanding there won’t be any need for a fall out.

  26. Muna Kenny

    Well, I guess if two live together will fight at least one time it is human nature, but room mates should have rules and respect it especially when it comes to financial commitments!

  27. Sally Akins

    I’ve never had a room-mate – I lived on my own before I moved in with Mark. Looking at that list, I’m kind of glad…;-)

  28. Claudia Krusch

    It can always be hard to live with a roommate. At some point you usually end up in a fight. I would have to make sure the person was a neat freak like me.

  29. Margaret gallagher

    Very common at university there was always one that wanted a free ride

  30. Lindsey

    In college, I had four other roommates. It was one of the the best and craziest times of my life. 5 women living in a tiny space…total craziness.

  31. Wanderlust Vegans

    Living together either makes or breaks a relationship. We lived with another couple for 1.5 years, we moved out and haven’t spoke with them since. We didn’t ever fight though, which may have been our problem. The other roommate we had was for 6 months and it worked fantastic. Gave us a stronger bond than we had before.

  32. Christiana

    Living with roommates is definitely a tough job, fights burst out over the slightest things. Fortunately I have only shared space with my family, even that is not easy lol.

  33. eliza

    Yeah, as much as we do not want to fight or an argument to anyone.. sometimes differences really come out too much, the way we perceived being responsible and others are not.. but of course, at the end of the day – its always best to settle things in diplomatic way LOL!

  34. Lily Ashley

    I never had a roommate for my entire life. I dont want to encounter people that has a bad attitude and you cant do anything with it but to fight.

  35. Joanna

    I was lucky to live in a shared house for only 4 months when I moved to the UK and then rent my own flat. We were 3 living in the same house, each of us having their own bedroom but share the facilities. I used to hate when I would go to into the kitchen and find a mountain of dishes in the sink or lumps of hair in the bathtub. We didn’t really get into fights but I didn’t feel comfortable at all either.

  36. Amy Deverson

    Not paying rent can be a pretty common reason! Luckily all throughout my house share days in Uni I lived with friends who always paid on time and we all got on really really well.

  37. Agnes

    This reminds me of my college days but luckily I had great roommates back then. Now my roommate is my fiancΓ©, lol!


    No thankfully I have never had one unless you count the hubby and kids. I’m quite a private person so I’m not sure how well I would cope. I’d hate to be stuck with someone that didn’t pay rent or took drugs of any kind.

  39. adriana

    Having a roommate of any kind can be difficult at times, but they can be such a blessing too! It’s important to have someone you’re super close to!

  40. Stephanie Pass

    My daughter moved into her dorm today with her new roommate. I need to show her this.

  41. Sarah

    I’ve had three seperate room mates, before I moved in with my OH. It can be SO difficult to keep things happy & friendly. I’ve come to the conclusion I just cannot live in a confined space with a girl! I lived with a good friend, and we fell out. I lived with a family member, and we fell out, so I tried living with a complete stranger, and that was the worst of all!

  42. Becca Talbot

    The people I lived with in a shared house in London actually stole from me! It was the first time I’d lived away from Reading, and I moved in with 3 (+1 who often stayed) complete strangers. It was fine for the first 3 months or so, then I came back from work one evening in October to discover my laptop had been taken from my bed, half my DVD collection was gone and a load of jewelry. I called the police who came around and did finger prints and took a statement etc, but without any sign of a break-in from the front door or back door, and with only my stuff missing, they classed it as an “inside job”. My dad drove across from Reading to London the very next day, and while they were all out somewhere (not sure where, as I was the only one working full time), he fitted a lock to my bedroom door. They weren’t happy about that, but what could they do… I was the only one working so the only one bringing in money to pay bills and rent. I stayed there a few more months, and then in March moved out to live with a friend instead. I will never again live with strangers! x

  43. Jacinta

    I’ve never had a roommate. I’m too fussy to share I think.

  44. Ophelia Tang

    Your post is very informative and in dept. I love the way you use the chart to simplify your message. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Catvills

    Honestly, I have never tried living with a room mate in my entire life. I don’t think it would ever work out for me anyway. I don’t like clutter and even if the room mate I would get would also be a cleanliness nut, it still won’t work because I value my privacy.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I think for a lot of people it just isn’t something they could do, I know I wouldn’t be able to I would feel very claustrophobic as well, only having the one room as my own.

  46. Blair villanueva

    I’ve been to room mate drama before, and what makes me fed off is a stealing room mate. I decided to move out and now happily and peacefully living in my own apartment.

  47. Stephanie Merry

    During Uni I lived in a house with five other girls and we fell out within a month of starting the course. I’ve never lived with anyone else since! x

  48. Emily Leary

    I guess it’s like most things – do what you said you would do, respect the other person and try to compromise when you can!

  49. Carol Cassara

    I think a missed rent is understandable but if it’s consistent, what’s the use of having a roommate, right? Also, the substance abuse is a red flag and I definitely don’t want to live with a person like that.

  50. Nichola - Globalmouse

    How scary for you to have such a horrible neighbour. When I was at uni we shared and there were always issues over people eating other people’s food or finishing the milk and not replacing it etc. It can be so stressful if you have to live like that, I’m glad those days are over!

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I can imagine that was a nightmare, I guess the good part of the bedsit was you had your own kitchen and bathroom so no one could just use up your things.

  51. Farrah Less G.

    It took me a long time to decide f I want a room mate or not. its because I like my own space and I hate messy room. Its always nice to share your room to someone who respect your space and responsible to pay their bills.

  52. Tori

    It’s so shocking how some people think it’s acceptable to behave in a shared house!

  53. easyblogthemes

    To have a room mate is difficult at first for some, but to others it could be a totally wrong idea. Everyone is different as basis, so anyone should expect indifferences between each other. And should work it out together share a room in harmony.

  54. nicol

    I’m actually glad and lucky that ive never had any issues with flatmates. i have heard stories from friends and a lot of the reasons are listed here

  55. Anosa

    I must say I am very fortunate with the roommates I got way back in college. I have heard from other friends what they went through with their room mates. They argue and fight most of the time about attitude and cleaning/chores to be done.

  56. Miranda - A July Dreamer

    Sometimes growing and living with room mates entails a lot of adjustment. They say that you will really know the people unless you live with them in the same roof. I am glad I had the most amazing room mates way back in college.

  57. Dani

    I managed to live with 6 girls for the three years of uni and luckily we never really argued.
    There was a few heated discussions when it came to bills though πŸ™‚

    Dani x

  58. Rhian Westbury

    I’ve lived with a friend for two years but thankfully never had traditional roommates either although the music from my neighbour can be crazy sometimes. I can’t believe your downstairs neighbour said that to you, glad you’re not there now x

  59. Stephanie Usher

    This is really interesting! I’m really lucky that I’ve never experienced stuff like this! xx

  60. Lubka Henry

    When I moved to London for the first year I lived in two places with flatmates. I remember quite a few situations and people I wasn’t getting on with.

  61. Hayley Warren

    I’ve had an awful time with housemates at uni and I’m going back in September to live with more strangers!

  62. Mommy Peachy

    I didn’t experience havinga roommate but I could imagine the reasons why room mates fight. Insulting or mean behavior is surely one of them.

  63. Rachel Craig

    I shared flat many years ago. When at college initially shared with classmates. As we all moved in at the same time (for starting our college course) :- We took the opportunity to get to know each other, as well as got some opportunities to interact, etc. Was initially ok, as we would discuss and come to an agreement. I think the fact we all had siblings and had grown up interacting with those siblings at home, had provided some communication skills and experience/s. We accepted we were individuals sharing an enviroment.

    Change came when one flatmate moved out. New flat mate did her own thing. We did not see much of her due to her shift work, and going home on days off. Luckily rent was paid direct from our salaries. We had our own bedroom, which had a locked door. Cleaner came daily. Yet this new flat mate would go home for days off having left dirty dishes in the sink. Leaving the rest of us having to clean dishes in order to be able to use the crockery and cutlery to eat a meal. As we shared kitchen and bathroom. She was older than us, so we were surprised at her inconsiderate behaviour. Luckily she moved out within a few months.

    Sharing, is an experience. Nowadays I think many are not so exposed to sharing, as smaller family units, individualism, self preservation, self promotion, etc. Though I must say I am extremely pleased that I never had to experience flatmates not paying their share. As rent paid directly from salaries ( rent included bills i.e. electricity,etc). Also never had to endure flatmate using or dealing with drugs ( drug misuse. My flat sharing was some decades ago).

    Flat sharing could be an opportunity for some to learn how to manage :- Household, Cleaning, Shopping, Bills, Etc. I wonder if those who have been cared for ( in care, children’s home, etc) could be exposed to a scheme which is organised via Social Care and Health Care to enable individuals to build up skills in self care, home management, etc

  64. Claire Santiago

    Yes, it’s true that most roommates end up fighting because they can’t settle their differences. But it did not happen to me. I have had awesome room mates who would always understand and respect each others views and behavior.

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