What to do When a Housemate Becomes Hostile

Angry friends or roommates sitting on a sofa in the living room at home, hostile roommate

In today’s housing market, it makes sense for up and coming adults to have a roommate. They help pay the bills, share in household chores, and can offer a wonderful friendship for years to come. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. 

Individuals around the country find their ideal living situation tainted by a hostile housemate. While arguments can happen when people live together, these conflicts can degrade into a ball of stress so large that they begin to affect your daily life. Here’s what to do when your roommate becomes hostile. 

Attempt to Work it Out

While it isn’t always possible, you should attempt to resolve the issues with your housemate. This strategy won’t work unless all parties involved are willing to work together and compromise, however. Regardless, it’s still worth giving it a shot. 

Have a calm discussion with every roommate in the house, airing any grievances and seeking to remedy issues within your shared home. Do your best to speak in a calm tone during this discussion. If you raise your voice, even if someone else does first, the talk is bound to end in another fight. 

Eviction

In some scenarios, it’s just easier to get rid of a hostile roommate. However, this is a lot easier said than done. Before deciding on this route, it’s vital that you know your state’s laws. Forcing your roommate to leave violates California tenant laws, for instance. 

If this is your desired approach, then it helps to speak with someone familiar about the legality of the situation. A lawyer, attorney, or even your landlord can help you. In some cases, informing your landlord of hostility can help move things along. 

De-Escalation 

In most cases, the best thing to do is de-escalate the situation. What initially caused the fighting? Do you or another roommate have a part to play? Even when you’re in the right, it helps to see the other person’s side. Try to apologize, listen to what your hostile housemate has to say, and work ion changing your behavior if their request is reasonable.

This isn’t always the answer, though. There have been several cases where a roommate is hostile towards another’s religious beliefs or practices. Other times, the housemate might become violent and cause you to fear for your safety. These extreme scenarios are difficult to de-escalate. 

Escape

If all else fails, then you do have the option of removing yourself from the situation. It isn’t a defeat to move out. You’re just protecting your wellbeing. Talking with your landlord about the hostility can sometimes help you break your lease early without too much of a hassle, as well. 

While this isn’t the ideal solution, it does put you in full control of the outcome. You can leave your hostile environment behind and place yourself in a calm, stable home with better roommates. In some cases, you might find that you and your current housemate are better off as friends that live separately.