Buying a home is the biggest purchase you'll ever make — but who says you have to make it? Welcome to New Lease, a series that examines our long-held beliefs about home ownership and renting in Canada.
But I’m an adult now. And while there are so many good parts about living someone else, from the Dawson’s Creek marathons to the post-bar Kraft Dinner, it’s also true that sometimes roommates are the absolute worst. Just ask the over half a million Canadians currently sharing space with others. I asked Refinery29 readers about their worst roomies current, past, and COVID — and here’s what they said.
“The first roommate I had after I graduated university was… strange. We had our own washrooms, and I started noticing that things in mine were not where I put them. At first I thought I was misplacing items like my makeup or hair straightener. But after a week of this odd feeling, I decided to make a conscious effort to really be aware of where I was putting everything. I came home from work to realize that she had been wearing my makeup — including eyeliner and mascara — all the things you don’t share! She tried to deny it and then after finally admitting to it she also told me she had also been wearing my clothes. She moved out two months later.” — Melissa
“Not long after lockdown, my roommate got into the habit of inviting over friends every day. I initially let it slide thinking maybe this was her way of coping with her anxiety. I went away for several months to be with my partner and whenever I came to visit there was always someone over. My patience ended when I came back to do my final exams and she told me she had had friends over for five days straight! I approached her about it and everything seemed understood. A week later she was back to her old habits. I had another talk with her. Another week later, on rent day, she refused to pay rent, and said she was moving out. When I returned home on what I thought was her moving day she had already left, taken much of my kitchenware, and left me with a huge mess.” — Erika
“My roommate and I got into a fight about her smoking in the apartment and she told me I wasn't allowed to sit on or use the furniture that her dad paid for.” — Nicole
“My nightmare roommate situation was during an exchange semester in Copenhagen. I’d moved into this tiny, super-expensive student apartment with three roommates. Two out of the three were pretty normal but there was one that made me crazy. The first night I moved in, she wanted to throw a party to celebrate the new semester. It was great until she threw a chair off the balcony and then threatened to break the hand of anyone who told the school she did it. Throughout the next six months, I had to endure her singing heavy-metal karaoke while she cooked and her taking my things and my food without asking. I finally got transferred to another apartment, but before I left, she threw razor blades into my laundry and cut up all my clothes.” — Debbie
“My roommate has quoted myself to me, using bits from personal phone conversations I’ve had in my room when my door is closed.” — Chantelle
“When I moved from Toronto to New York, I found a roommate on Craigslist. She used to eat all her meals in her room and then leave unfinished plates of food under her bed. She was particularly fond of Trader Joe’s sausage and cheese — just imagine the terrible scent of that left out for days.” — Ashley
“I moved in with a friend the summer after first year. Shortly after we moved in, she started acting like a completely different person. She was mean, obnoxious, and spoiled. She was drinking at all times and made fun of me if I wouldn’t join. She would cheat on her boyfriend. She would scream at me for the craziest things, like not buying dish soap. When it came to basic things like taking out the garbage, doing dishes, vacuuming, it wasn’t happening. If I asked her about it she’d freak out. She also would tell our mutual friends it was me who was dirty! I basically hid in my room until the lease was up. Looking back I realize there were probably deep-rooted issues coming out. I really do hope she’s doing better.” — Rachel
“One of my roommates would regularly have extremely loud sex. On her birthday she decided to have an orgy with random people from Tinder. We lived in a three-bedroom so my other roommate and I came home from a night out to porn on full blast and a fully naked girl, who we ended up taking care of, throwing up in a bathroom. ” — Priya
“I once had a roommate who would go into my closet and wear things without my permission. I was working three jobs at the time, so I was barely ever home. She would hang the worn pieces back on a hanger. One day, I decided to wear this long-sleeve top to work and as soon as I started my shift I realized I smelled like BO. I was self-conscious but also slightly suspicious. I put the pieces of the puzzle together and confronted her. It was such an awkward conversation because I not only had to accuse her for wearing my clothes but also explain how I knew she wore them.” — Hannah
“My university roommate had a serious boyfriend who lived across the country as a semi-pro hockey player and she made a game of bringing home someone new from the bar every night. The other three of us heard not only all the crazy sexcapades, but also the screaming matches over Skype when her boyfriend would accuse her of cheating. It was a disaster. TMI, but I also had to go to the doc with her when she got the clap multiple times.” — Elyse
“I once had a roomie who had a boyfriend with zero boundaries. He would eat everyone else's food, be here when she wasn’t (even though he lived two minutes away), and take over our TV to watch sports. But the worst was, once he was hanging out all day while she was gone, and I went to ask him to move his car and I walked in on him taking care of his own business. So, so gross.” — Michelle
“Once when I got back from a two-week vacation, the apartment was all boxed up because my roommate hadn’t renewed the lease. ” — Sarah
“I had a roommate who was insanely messy. Every inch of her room was completely covered in stuff. She slept on a sliver of her bed. One time I was in the shower and reached down to grab the shampoo bottle, and saw something on the edge of the bathtub. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I reached down to see what it was. Turned out to be her used, bloody tampon that she had placed on the side of the bathtub for no reason instead of flushing or throwing into the trash (which was right next to the bathtub). Needless to say, I marinated my hands in rubbing alcohol and sent her a very angry text.” — Grace