Roommate issues

So now that we've signed a lease on our Brand! New! Apartment! for next year, the 5 of us (who normally get along fabulously) are in the midst of a Big! Angry! Fight! and it is Driving! Me! Crazy!

So: halp? Plz?

Here's the deal. Our apartment is 5 bedrooms. 4 bedrooms are HUGE with big windows and built-in closets. 1 bedroom is TINY with no (zero) windows and no (zero) closets.

We're drawing numbers out of a hat to see who gets which room. Roomie who draws #1 gets first pick of rooms. Roomie who draws #2 gets second pick of rooms. Etc.

Two of us think this way (me included): Person who gets stuck with tiny bedroom with no windows and no closet (and who would have to pay money to BUY some sort of armoire or clothing rack to put in her already tiny room) should have to pay $20/month less than the other girls (which means the other 4 would have to pay $5 more per month).

Two of us think another way: Everybody pays equally whether they have the tiniest bedroom or not.

One roommate is on the fence and won't make a decision.

I'm a naturally stubborn person, and I know in a lot of cases this makes me unreasonable. But I just can't come to terms with making whoever gets stuck with the smallest bedroom pay the same as everyone else.

THEN there's the issue of one of my roommates arguing that $20/month (what the person in the smallest room would be saving) isn't that much money. DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT ARGUMENT.

I don't know. We should have worked this out before we signed the lease, but we didn't. And now we're arguing. Please: opinions? Suggestions? Am I being unreasonable? (If I am, I'll back down. I swear.)

Please help?

Edited to add: I found out that the people who are currently in the apartment allow the person with the tiny room to pay $100 less per month than the others. I'd still be fine with $20. And...the only thing we can agree on is that we're not willing to double up in a room.


Anonymous said...

You're right. When I was in college, in a similar situation, we always decided (as a group) how much the rent would be for each room, keeping in mind the size, closets, windows, etc. When that was settled on, we then drew numbers and people chose rooms accordingly. If you picked #1, first choice was yours. You could pick the least expensive room if you wanted, or the most, or one of the in-between ones.

Can't imagine it being "fair" any other way. Good luck!


Nikki said...

Ditto everything that Nancy said. Minus the fact that I never did the college roommate thing. :)

Melissa Marois said...

I fully support your view on this situation. Anyone stuck in a room without windows - and I have experience - leads a life with a little more sadness than those who have windows... and monetary compensation should OF COURSE be given to that poor soul. $20 a month is a lot and isn't depending on where else your money is going and what you have coming in, so I believe in regards to those opinions, everyone needs to agree to disagree EXCEPT when it comes to agreeing on $20... Yes $50 would be great, or even $75 less... but the person who ends up in the tiny room also has to take into consideration the fact that her? inconvenience will cost someone else cash monies.

My best advice, is to sit down and remember to respect each others opinions, but speak openly on why you feel the way you do and then tell whoever doesn't agree that they can have the small room...

Good luck!

Kara said...

I agree with Nancy as well. The logic of $20 a month not being that much money also applies to the $5 a month not being that much money. That argument doesn't hold water. It is only fair. If a room doesn't have a closet inside, I believe it is not even considered a bedroom in the world of real estate. I'm 100% team Nanny on this one.

Leanne...the walker said...

Oh girl. You are mixing money issues and closet issues - two of the most touchy girl subjects! ;-) My advice (after years of living with girls!) is simple. Whatever you decide (and I'm with you, no windows and no closet definitely means paying less in my book!) make sure that everyone is on board and can at least agree to disagree. To the roommate that says $20 is not much money, help her understand that while it might not be TO HER, it is to some. Perhaps allowing one of the roommates choice of the smaller room/cheaper rent would help...

It's definitely a difficult problem, but in order to make sure that it is a peaceful living situation for the next year, make sure that you are all on the same page. Not that everyone has to agree, but at least agree to disagree. Keep us posted and best of luck!

Kirsten said...

Twenty bucks can be huge!! And I think the person getting the smallest room SHOULD definitely get a deal on the rent, and seriously? $20 is kind of a deal of a savings for the difference in rooms. I'd personally be advocating for a $50 savings. Granted I don't know what the total rent is, but it sounds like there is a great disparity between rooms.

niobe said...

Well, this certainly brings back memories. And not especially good ones.

Have you considered seeing if there's anyone who would be happy to take the smallest room if the rent is reduced by $X? (X might be $20, but, though you didn't want to get into that argument, depending on the total rent, it might be another number).

Also: How about agreeing to switch rooms (doing another random drawing perhaps) in the middle of the year?

Erin O. said...

First, you all need to sit down and talk about this. If you don't then next year will be hell for all of you.

Second, the idea of clearly stating the cost of each room prior to drawing numbers.

Third, $20 is really not that much of a difference. There almost has to be a difference because that person is going to be stuck in a box...really.

Fourth, you could always divide the school year five ways and say that everyone has to switch rooms every few weeks!!! haha...that would make anyone go crazy!

The Nanny said...

Thanks for the thoughts, guys.

1) I emailed the people who currently live there and the person in the smallest bedroom DOES pay less than everyone else. Don't know how much less.

2) I'm fine with taking the smallest bedroom. But if I take it, I want to pay less. If someone else gets it, I'm happy to pay $5 more/month (or whatever) to make it fair.

My 2 roommates who want to split the pay evenly say they'd be fine having the smallest room WITHOUT paying less. But they want all of us to have equal chances of getting the smallest room. Which I don't agree with.

3) I'm insisting on resolving this before we draw numbers. I honestly think we need a mediator.

4) Switching rooms throughout the year is an option...but whoever has a big room and then has to move into a little room wouldn't be able to fit all their stuff into the little room.

Thank you for all your thoughts!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a tough situation, but you know, someone has to have the TINY room and therefore, I think that person gets compensated for that--i.e. paying less.

Someone said $20 may not seem like a lot, but to someone else it is and that is so true. I am sure you all come from different financial situations and I think it is only fair that the person with the smallest room pay less. I mean it just doesn't make sense to me that someone who is in the tiny room with no widows/closets has to fork over the same amount of rent as the others. I just don't get the rationalization that some think everyone should pay equally when clearly that room is at a disadvantage with many facets.

I think that you MUST have all this worked out before numbers are drawn or else there is going to be HUGE fights and such down the road. There will always be disagreements, but if this can't be worked out, then I fear for other issues that will arise in the year to come.

I had some friends in college who faced this situation and they actually switched rooms every semester and based it on GPA. It worked to keep the guys motivated, and no one was constantly "stuck" in the small room which they called a closet, because it was about that big. The next year a group of guys moved into that apartment and they had a couple of people double up in a room and used the "closet" as a study room/office area and the two people who were together in the room paid a little less since they were sharing a space.

I hope it resolves soon! Keep us posted!


Jen said...

I'd be angry if I had a super tiny bedroom with no window and no closet and paid the same rent as everyone else.

Figure out how much each bedroom is worth BEFORE you choose rooms. Once the amounts are set, pick.

I have a sneaking suspicion those who are opposed to the different-rent-for-the-tiny-room thing would change their minds if THEY were in the tiny room.

Good luck! :)

Anonymous said...

how about two people share a room, and they can turn the small room into one huge closet! ;)(or whatever they choose - office, art space)

hope things get worked out.

Jami said...

Oh this takes me back to my college days and living situations! I think you are right that whoever has the smallest room should pay less. It is only fair. At a hotel, I pay more for a suite with a kitchenette than I do for a room with just a bed. It is only logical.

Many, many years ago I lived with 2 other girls in an appt. with 2 bedrooms. We rotated on who would get the room by themself for a period of time and it worked out fine. I don't know how you would do that with 5 girls and it might get a little crazy! Whatever you decide, I hope you get this issue resolved.

Juanita said...

How about 2 share a room- both get a $20 break (which means everyone else gets a $10 raise?) and then those 2 get to use the extra room as an extra closet or rent the space out in the closet to others who need extra closet space? Is it even legal to have a person in that room without 2 fire exits (ie door and window?)
Good luck!

Monica H said...

If all rooms were equal then the rent should be equal but they clearly aren't. The person who says that the rent should be the same no matter what should go live in that room :-)

$20 less is not that much. I'd $20 extra for sunlight!

Nic said...

I had a similar situation when I was in college 15 years ago (!), I chose to take the smaller room, in our case my room was $240/month, two rooomies with equally bigger sized rooms paid $300, and the fourth roomie with a room on her own floor with a bathroom paid $350. I don't remember how we came up with the numbers, but I was the only one paying my own way, so I chose the smaller room... Is there someone who might want to pay less, and what amount less would incent her to take the smallest room? That way no one would feel gypped by the room they got, with the person in the smallest room having chosen it for the lower price - I personally wouldn't do it for $20/month, but probably would for $50. If no one just wants to volunteer to take the smallest room, then if someone will take it for less $ that seems like the best solution to me. Finding the amount is economics :) If no-one wants it no matter what the price then I think the idea of switching at some point is probably most fair.

I would ask the person who doesn't think the rent should be more/less for the size how she will feel if she gets that room.

But I do think an open discussion and consensus, if you can reach one, is the best way to go.

The Nanny said...

@Nic - I'd be happy to take the smallest room & pay less -- the problem is my other roommates don't want to let that happen (because it means they'd have to pay more). The girls currently in that apartment have the smallest room pay $100 less -- I'm only asking for $20 less, and my roommates say that's ridiculous.


Anonymous said...

I was in the same situation with a roommate. I paid $100 less because I was in a tiny bedroom with no closet. Someone said this above also, but where I live, it is "illegal" for a real estate agent to call a room a bedroom (or list it as a bedroom) unless there is both a window AND a closet in the bedroom. Otherwise, it is not considered a bedroom. I fully agree with your views on handling the situation.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and draw for the smaller room now and hope that one of the roomies who is for everyone paying the same amount gets the smaller room. If that happens, problem solved. Or, you could figure out the rent for each room based on the square footage.

AmbreRose said...

This is why I have never had roommates, I would end up killing someone in my sleep. I think that the girl should be paying more like $50-$100 less then everyone else. I am with you on this one hun.