9 Bad Roommate Qualities: Signs and Red Flags to Avoid

bad roommate qualities

Identifying bad roommate qualities before it’s too late can save you from months of stress at home. While roommates can appear peachy keen from the outside, once you sign a lease to live with them, it can take a turn for the worse. Keep your eye out for signs that this person could be a bad fit – AKA terrible to live with. Red flags and gut feelings carry weight because living with roommates for a full 12-month lease is a huge commitment.

Here are 10 bad roommate qualities to avoid that can be taken as signs that you were not meant to live together.

1. Bad Hygiene

avoid these roommate qualities

If you can smell your roommate from a mile away, you may not want to live under the same roof as them. Most humans have some kind of natural smell, or musk, that their body gives off. That’s all fine and dandy.

However, if your roommate has terrible hygiene and does not wash their clothes or body on a regular basis, the smell can be overwhelming. It’s not an easy conversation to navigate telling your roommate they smell bad. Depending on the severity of the bad hygiene, it may be easier to avoid that roommate altogether.

2. Eats Your Food

roommate qualities to avoid

After a long day at work, sometimes all you want is to come back to your apartment, lay on the couch, and eat. Arriving home to an unexpectedly empty fridge is a hangry person’s worst nightmare.

Some roommates don’t mind sharing food. If you grew up with a family in that type of sharing atmosphere, maybe you can adjust. However, not everyone wants to pay for their roommate’s food. If this bad roommate quality is too much for you, avoid living with this type of person.

3. Doesn’t Pay Rent on Time

terrible roommates

Depending on how your lease agreement is set up, late rent payments by your roommate may not affect you much. Certain living situations have roommates on separate leases, or at least have them pay separately. The landlord and property management decide this.

What if your roommate is also your tenant? It’s common for homeowners to rent out empty rooms in their primary residence to offset a portion of their housing expenses. In this instance, a late rent payment is a big deal because it is money owed to you.

This bad roommate quality can cause a ton of drama within your household. Especially when there are friendships established between you and your roommate/tenant, it can be frustrating to continue asking for rent to be paid. Homeowners can grow tired of this situation and want to quickly sell the property altogether.

4. Loud Music

roommate qualities to look for

It’s 2023. There are plenty of earbuds and headphones options for roommates who live together. A bad roommate quality that could be a red flag is when they play loud music regularly.

When roommates blast music every once in a while, that’s ok. However, if loud music becomes a daily habit, it could lead to a terrible living situation. Noise level is an important factor to consider when renting a room in your home.

Dealing with loud neighbors is tough enough. The fact that you can hear when your neighbors blast music means you can definitely hear when your roommate does. Avoid this red flag when considering roommates in your apartment.

5. Invite Weird Friends Over

roommate qualities

Your home is your sanctuary. If there are weird people trouncing through your updated kitchen, it’s easy to feel unsafe or resentful. Unfortunately, this bad roommate quality is hard to determine until fully living with someone. Stand your ground and don’t be afraid to speak up if your roommate brings strange people over to your house consistently.

6. Damage Your Belongings

signs of bad roommate

For the minimalists, you are safe here. A roommate can’t damage your belongings if you don’t have many!

However, for the small number of household items that your roommate has access to, hopefully they do not damage them. Reckless roommates are a red flag that can end up costing you money if they damage expensive items.

Having a good renters insurance policy is vital if your personal items get damaged by your roommate. Avoid this bad roommate quality to keep your property safe.

7. Live with Their Partner Without Telling You

terrible roommate qualities

How many roommates did you want, one or two?

As rental apartments continue to become more expensive in many markets, more couples are implementing this strategy. Sign a lease under one person’s name even though the couple essentially lives together. If you didn’t plan on living with a couple, you wouldn’t be happy.

Although common, this bad roommate quality puts a sour taste in people’s mouths. To rectify this terrible situation, some couples will attempt to negotiate a rent-to-own purchase with the landlord. Couples can leverage the two incomes between them instead of one to eventually buy the house from the owner if they want to sell.

8. Clash

toxic roommate signs

Certain roommates simply do not jive together. If there’s a major lack of chemistry between you and your roommate that leads to altercations, consider changing your living situation. Ideally, roommates get along in a peaceful environment. Consistently clashing could be a sign that you’re living in a toxic roommate situation.

9. Odd Schedule

bad roommate quality

It’s up to you how harsh you want to be when considering this bad roommate quality. Certain people work night-shift jobs, which naturally makes their schedule different from most. Don’t be scared! It is not a ghost in your house, it’s your roommate.

For many millennials that work from home, living with a roommate with an odd schedule can become a major conflict. They could be getting home and being loud while you are on calls for work. Avoid bad roommate qualities that make working from home a challenge.