My housemate’s boyfriend has been living in my house for 6 months, and here’s why he should pay rent
Your biscuit donations don’t make up for the electricity bills, sir
Perhaps you’re a student who’s familiar with living with a couple. Perhaps you’re a student whose partner is around a lot. Perhaps you’re the one who is always at your partner’s house.
Many of us are familiar with the relentless shagging noises, 4am rows and overcrowded kitchen that comes with having coupled housemates, but my question to the student community is this: When does the idle face of a housemate’s dozy boyfriend go from a slight annoyance to a borderline sub-letting issue?
Six months into the new seven-person tenancy and I’m still left wondering if my bank account is going to receive a proportion of my rent back from the man who has been ‘using the facilities’ for far longer than his donation of homemade pizza could possibly vouch for. But, my hand in joint tenancy cannot be won over by a pizza or any other meal for that matter. What was I ever going to do with that pizza? Pop it in the coin slot of the washing machine and hope it converts the gristly contents of Morrisons savers cheese into some twenty-pound notes?
Even if your rent includes bills, there’s no hiding from the fact that a rental tenancy is legally binding. It is completely within a landlord’s right to evict any person who is essentially sub-letting. And what a mockery you feel when every day there’s an ejection of an already insufficient student loan, when other, uninvited, unsigned, and un-paying individuals are living equally as comfortably as you are. When you know you will be indebted to your future self for decades to come while other ‘tenants’ pay only by means of other loud, unseemly services. Several thousand pounds a year or alternatively, a year of living as a rent boy. These are the two options in this house, and the latter, as real as the former, wasn’t mentioned in any university guide to student housing.
Perhaps you’re thinking you’re a pretty chill person. Maybe you’re pretty social and actually, enjoy the company of your housemate’s bonking infestations. But there has to reach a point at which the cohabitation of two young people in love, becomes a real legal problem. Just because it’s slightly cheaper to live with your partner doesn’t authorise you tenants rights. It’d be cheaper for me to live in a bus shelter but I don’t think that’s quite within the law.
One of the greatest annoyances with my lodger was the sly speed at which he moved himself and his ungodly bathroom habits in. It went from on hand kitchen service, a couple of nice, butter up the suspicious housemates with a couple of gourmet Italian meals to, “I’m regularly using your toilet paper and I have a shelf in the fridge”. How did it happen so quickly I wonder … late at night, staring into the ceiling as the post pizza romping commences next door. Really, I think it was when the Jack and Jill bathroom became a three way affair that things got a bit too nasty. There’s something about having someone you haven’t actually invited into your home pooing where you poo that feels a bit … public. The blame game because slightly more vague. “Who the FUCK was that” becomes more of an event, a shouty conspiracy with never any justice served. Please, a public service announcement, learn the science of toilet flushing.
But what’s the solution to the whims and woes of this futile and exhausting social battle? I have lived in a house with almost no verbal communication with my housemate and her sub-letter for almost the entirety of lockdown. Kitchen towels have been swaged and washing up liquid foraged and hidden. And for what? For my own distaste to the knowledge that I am paying for my housemates’ boyfriend to live rent free and suck the resources of this already feebly equipped home?
Countless students are faced every year with the perseverance of a couple who just can’t live unless it’s in some toxic co-existence. After sending countless emails to our housing agents and having received no response, I am less than impressed in the way in which these problems are acknowledged by the wider student community. The solution should not be merely compliance. The letting agent in Leeds should be as happy to rid their properties of sub-letting boyfriends as they are to drop our deposits straight into their pockets.
Compromise of the situation, although difficult considering the romantic den in the basement, is essential to maintaining positive relationships with your housemates. The bottom line is respecting the people you have signed up to live with. There should at the bare minimum, be a rational conversation had and a discussion of what the new living situation should entail and hence what contributions should be made. A stranger using my hobs and shitting in my toilet is gonna need to pay us more than a few custard creams for the trouble.