This is to serve as a warning anyone who might want to welcome a roommate to share their home.

I recently had one such experience that involved a veteran who came recommended by a friend. This veteran, a man, came and told me that he would pay me for the privilege of sharing my home. He said at the outset that he would pay me $150.00 on the first day of the month and an additional $150.00 on the fifteenth. I thought that would work out well enough and help me pay some of my bills.

So, I agreed to his living with me. He paid the agreed amount on the first of the month, so far so good. Before the fifteenth my roommate had some problem with his vehicle that would render him unable to make his payment on the designated day. Not wanting him to suffer loss of his transportation, I told him I would forgive the $150.00 if he would clear the weeds from my garden. He said he would but I could not tell him when to do it (my mistake, I did not tell him to get it done promptly). I had to hire someone to clear the weeds because they were maturing and going to seed!

The first of the second month arrived and he paid me $200.00, he said, “I hope this helps”! Now we are getting ahead, or so I thought; but nothing for me on the fifteenth...On the third month, he paid me $100.00 saying he wanted to “pay for the electrical power he consumed”.

My roommate moved out to rent a place in a nearby community. I composed a letter chronicling his failure to pay the agreed amount and sent it by certified mail return receipt. His reply was that I was imagining things and that he had simply offered some vague plans to pay me. The upshot of his failure was that he still owed me $450.00, which I will likely never receive.

One of the things I was looking forward to was someone to enjoy conversation with, this since my Bride of 52 years had recently passed on. He was not adequate in any social endeavor; he would ask a question and I would attempt to answer only to see that he had left the room and I was talking to myself.

Found my space was diminished and he showed no concern for keeping things clean (he never cleaned the mud off his shoes and tracked dirt into the house). I have an in home healthcare woman visit 5 days a week who said she was tired of cleaning urine off the outside of the toilet. It took some considerable effort but in about a month we were able to rid my home of his spoor. I really enjoy having my space to myself and everywhere I look it is now clean!

One thing I believe my readers need to do if they consider having someone move in and share the rent: have the prospect give you a proposal in writing so that there can be no misunderstanding of what is expected of him. It is important that he does the writing; you can offer suggestions but get him to do the writing. I took my roommate at his word and learned that he was not a man of his word. The friend that recommended him regretted having sent him to me when she learned of his abuse. You might consider requiring more than one character reference.

Please do not think this can never happen to you. I told my daughter about my disappointing experience and she told me that she had the same thing happen to her.

 Dick Wells

Heads Up, Homeowners!

 Dick Wells
Dick Wells
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