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How to Boot Out a Roommate Who Is Also a Friend

by Maura Banar, studioD

Being friends with someone with whom you share a house or apartment can have advantages, and disadvantages. You walk a fine line between being independent as a roommate but need a hint of diplomacy to weather disagreements. When things get too difficult between you, having a roommate who is also a friend adds a dose of reality and complication. Fortunately, you can take steps to boot out your roommate but retain your friendship. Asking your roommate to leave doesn't have to feel like an attack or make either of you feel so uncomfortable that you risk losing your friendship.

Develop a good understanding of the legalities that cover the eviction of a roommate. Municipalities may differ in what is legally required documentation for forcibly getting a roommate to leave, so it’s important to be sure you have everything legally covered. Contact your local landlord/tenant association, nonprofit legal aid organization or community housing resource for the appropriate documents and how to complete them. Some documents may require the signature of a notary in order to be legal and binding.

Confront your roommate about the behaviors that have led you to decide to boot him out. Take notes for a week or month of the behaviors exhibited by your roommate that are more than you are willing to bear. Schedule a time with your roommate to have a frank discussion about your living arrangement. During the discussion, explain your roommate’s troublesome behaviors, without passing judgment or making assumptions about his motivations. Be specific but keep out the adjectives, such as “I am frustrated because you continually come home late at night, turn on the lights and slam doors.”

Let your roommate know how you feel about her behaviors as your roommate. It’s important to separate your roommate the friend from your roommate, the person who has made poor behavioral choices. You’re going to be booting your roommate out but you also want to let her know that this doesn’t have to also cause the end of your friendship. Remind your roommate that the friendship has endured and might also be strengthened if you aren’t living together anymore. Let her know that you value her friendship and although things may be difficult between you right now, you intend to continue to be her friend and hope she will also be yours.

Make a concrete plan for your roommate to move out. This may be difficult, since you will provide your roommate with a deadline. This can seem harsh, and you may experience resistance, but not having a date can lead to ambiguity. Have the date and specifics of your roommate’s leaving in writing and include consequences if he has not left on the date on which you both agreed. Include stipulations for removal of his furniture, to reduce the chances that you will be left to dispose of things alone.

Consider notifying the providers of television and Internet services of your intention to discontinue your contract in the event that your roommate does not leave on the agreed-upon date. If you are unable to terminate the contract, speak with the television or Internet representative to password-protect the services after the date your roommate has agreed to move out.

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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