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The 16 Things to Do If Your Roommate Won’t Get a Job

lazy on coucn

The main things to do are:

  • Keep communicating with them so you know what is going on.
  • If you are too judgmental with your roommate, they may get too defensive so you cannot help them.
  • Be a source of emotional support for them.
  • Make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of.
  • Make your landlord aware of everything.

If you’re living with a roommate, odds are you expect that both of you will pull your own weight. What does this mean? Well, splitting everything evenly such as utilities, rent, and chores to help create a more harmonious, balanced living arrangement.

However, if you are stuck living with a roommate who does not abide by these rules, then it can be a little troublesome.

Now before you decide to kick your roommate to the curb, it’s important to try to understand their situation. Is there something personal going on? Is there something you can do to help them? It may not seem like your place, but you can be a beneficial support system for your roommate if they are in need.

If you are struggling with a roommate who won’t get a job, here are things you can do:


1. Keep Communicating With Them so You Know What Is Going On

Talk to your roommate. It’s important to be as open and honest with your roommate as you can be. For the living arrangement to be a success, you both must be open with one another.

Talk to your roommate about the no job situation. Let them know your cares and concerns about the situation.

If your roommate is stuck on the couch and won’t bother to get a job, odds are there is something else going on under the surface.

Sometimes laziness can be the culprit, but 9 times out of 10 there is another issue at play.

Communication is your first ally in finding out what is going on and trying to resolve the situation before it gets too far out of hand.


2. If You Are Too Judgmental With Your Roommate, They May Get Too Defensive, so You Cannot Help Them

argue defensive

Try to understand the issue. It is important to vocalize that you do not place any harsh judgment on them for not having a job. Most people can become defensive when faced with questions about hard situations, such as not having a job.

To keep your roommate from being defensive, let them know that you do not judge them and that you are only concerned for them. It’s important to let them know this first thing so that they will not try to be defensive.

Allow your roommate to be as vocal as they want. It’s best to avoid trying to talk over or micromanage the conversation. Instead, let your roommate express their emotions and feelings in a safe way.

IF they need to vent, let them and just listen as they talk. Sometimes this can be the difference between a good conversation and a conversation turning into an argument.


3. Be a Source of Emotional Support for Them

Let your roommate know that you are there to support them. If your roommate knows that they can lean on you, or turn to you, then odds are they will be more opted to be open about their no job problem.

By offering to be an emotional support system, you’re letting your roommate know that you are an ally.

It could be possible that your roommate feels alienated or estranged from loved ones and friends. They could be feeling lost and confused, as well.

By opening up to them, being honest, and offering to help them, you are extending an olive branch in a very tricky situation.


4. Make Sure You Aren’t Being Taken Advantage Of

taking advantage of

It’s human nature always to want to believe everyone is good. However, if you are living with a roommate who isn’t pulling their fair share of the responsibilities, it can leave you to wonder if you’re being taken advantage of.

Before you step in to help or offer assistance, you’ll need to be sure you aren’t being taken advantage of.

Have an open conversation with your roommate to make sure nothing is going on that you aren’t aware of. Explain the position to your roommate. Be honest and let them know that you are scared of being taken advantage of.

Ask the hard questions like whether or not they have been looking for a job or if they feel they are responsible for their half of the bills.

By opening up this type of conversation, you’ll be able to understand better your roommate and what kind of situation they are in. You will also be able to tell if you are being taken advantage of by the information they give or by the way they act.  


5. Make Your Landlord Aware of the Situation

landlord with keys

After you have spoken to your roommate, it is a good idea to contact your landlord. Whether you are renting or leasing, your landlord needs to be aware of the situation in case it goes wrong.

If you want, you can talk to your landlord with your roommate present. This is an excellent way to present the issue to the landlord and not look like you are going behind your roommate’s back.

However, if you have some private concerns or feel like it would be more beneficial to speak with your landlord alone, then you can do so. Express all of your concerns to the landlord and be honest with them. Your landlord has the right to know precisely what the situation is and if they should be concerned about it.

Your landlord can address the issue as they see fit, but by coming to them openly and presenting the problems, your landlord may be less likely to try to resolve the issue. Instead, they may be more likely to trust you and your roommate to handle the situation on your own. Either way, speaking with your landlord is necessary for a situation such as this. Your landlord has the legal right to know if there is a chance the bills and rent could go unpaid due to the unemployment of your roommate.


6. Brainstorm Solutions Together

Once you have had an open conversation with your roommate, it’s time to brainstorm solutions on how to solve this no job problem. There are several different things you can do to be of help to your roommate.

Some roommates may feel they are not responsible for helping their roommate find a job, but if you are living together, then it is a good idea to take it upon yourself to get involved in the situation and to offer a helping hand.

  • Sit down with them and brainstorm things that they can do to help make their situation better. This could be something as easy as making a list of small goals your roommate can work towards to help them find a new job and get themselves into a better situation both financially and in general.
  • One of the best things you can do for your roommate is to recommend they seek out multiple job fairs. Job fairs are a great place for people who are unemployed or between jobs to go, give out their resumes, talk to potential employers, and get a possible foot in the door.

Research your local area to find job fairs that will be occurring near you. Typically, job fairs happen in the summer months, but this is not always the case. Use the internet and word of mouth to your advantage to find out the best information regarding the time and location of job fairs.

  • If your roommate is without a job, then they are probably struggling financially. Help your roommate go through their things and have a small yard sale to help them get some extra cash.
  • Just a little bit of extra cash can help put them in a new, more positive mind-frame that will give them that boost to get off the couch and go after what they want.


7. Help Them Understand What It Means to Have a Job and Be Stable or Responsible

working as a waiter

Depending on how old your roommate is or the type of family they come from, your roommate may not fully understand what it means to be employed. For some individuals, employment can be something to occupy their time and not something they have to do.

If your roommate is young or fresh out of college, they may not know what it means to be stable or responsible in the workforce.

If this is the situation, let them know that to be taken seriously or ever to accomplish their goals or dreams, they have to be stable and responsible. This stability and sense of responsibility come from being successfully employed for an extended period.

For young people, it can be hard to fully understand life and the workforce when they are first starting out. By explaining this to them and letting them know what you expect of them, your young roommate may be more likely to find a longterm, stable job so that they can be responsible.

If your roommate comes from a wealthy family, they may not understand the importance of a job because they have never had to depend on anything. If this is the situation, then it’s best to let your roommate know that you understand their family situation, but that you rely on them to be reliable and employed.

Once your roommate sees that you depend on them to be employed and pay their half of the bills, then they may see the employment situation in a different light.


8. Spruce up Their Resume

After you have had the initial conversation with your roommate and have worked through the brainstorming phase, you can begin to work towards sprucing up their resume. When your roommate begins going to job fairs or job interviews, they will need to have their resume ready.

  1. Recommend resume workshops. Most libraries or local community projects will host monthly resume workshops. These workshops are free to attend, and an excellent opportunity for your roommate to go and work on their resume.

  2. Browsing the local library for resume books is another way to help your roommate spruce up their resume. Your roommate can take their resume with them, locate the appropriate books needed, and work on it in the library where they can concentrate.

If your roommate needs some extra help with their resume, they can look to hire someone who can help them. There are many  freelance workers who work primarily on beefing up resumes. Your roommate can use their services to help make their resume stand out from the crowd and help them get a new job.


9. Check in With Their Family Members

roommate with their parents

This is where it can get a little tricky for some roommates. While there are some who don’t see this as any of their business, there are others who believe it is a good idea to check in with your unemployed roommate’s family members.

The tricky thing is how to successfully go about it without looking nosy or crossing a line.

If you are really good friends with your roommate then this may be a very simple thing to do. All you will need to do is pick up the phone and call a member of their family to check-in.

You can voice all of your cares and concerns, letting the family member know that you only want the best for your roommate. In this type of situation, the family member is going to be thankful for your honesty and appreciative of you checking in on your roommate by showing your concerns.

If you are not good friends with your roommate then you may need to tip-toe around this resolution. Talk to your roommate and see if you can find out if their family members know that they are unemployed. If you believe that your roommate is hiding this information and you think it is going to be more beneficial for everyone, then it can be a good idea to find contact information and contact their family member.

As always, if you suspect your roommate is struggling with depression or is having any type of serious issues, then you need to contact someone about the situation. It can be the landlord, their family members, or even a help center. It’s better to be proactive and resolve a situation than to ignore it and have something terrible happen as a result of neglect.


10. Recommend They Seek a Form of Therapy


Sometimes the reason for unemployment can be mental or even emotional issues your roommate is struggling with. If this is the case, then you can recommend therapy to your roommate to help them get lined out and back on track.

Everyone will struggle with their mental mindset from time to time. For someone like your roommate who is also unemployed and seemingly down on their luck, they can feel trapped in a negative slope. If this is something your roommate is struggling with, then recommending therapy can be effective.

This recommendation can help your roommate climb out of their toxic traits and work towards bettering themselves so that they can find a new job and start helping contribute to the bills.


11. Lend Your Roommate a Helping Hand

As I previously stated, some roommates will not see helping their roommate as being their responsibility. For those who do think it is and want to help, there are a few things you can do to lend a helping hand while your roommate is unemployed.

  • Loaning your roommate money can be a slippery slope for some. It’s important to have a heightened level of trust between you and your roommate before you decide that loaning them money is a good idea.

  • Once you have decided to loan your roommate money, you may want to add a few stipulations. For example, let your roommate know that this is not a habit and that you will not always be giving them money.

  • Also, let your roommate know that they can pay you back once they are on their feet and employed. If your roommate thinks they don’t have to pay you back, then they may be less likely to get a job. However, if they believe they will have to pay you back for the loan, then this will give them an added boost to get a new job.


12. How to Address the Issue of Your Roommate Being Around All the Time

When your roommate is unemployed they will be in the apartment or house all day long, every day. This realization can be a little bothersome, especially for roommates who like to have some alone time or privacy in their place.

If your roommate is stuck on the couch or indoors, its important to address the issue before it becomes a serious problem. To do this, suggest things your roommate can do daily to get outside of the apartment or home.

You can suggest they go to the library to work on their resume or they go to visit a family member. Encouraging them to get outside is a good thing for you and them.

By going outdoors, your roommate will be more positive and have a better outlook on life. As opposed to the perspective they can have when they stay stuck inside sitting on the couch binge eating or watching Netflix.


13. Get Your Roommate to Pay Their Way by Doing Household Chores


Letting your roommate work off their debt is another way you can lend a helping hand.

For example, if your roommate is unemployed and can’t pay their share of the bills, then offer them the option to work in the house instead.

Your roommate could clean the apartment or home daily and do a variety of different chores to help contribute. By allowing your roommate to do this while they are actively looking for a new job, you’re helping them out in a big way.


14. Break the Lease

breaking lease

If your roommate still refuses to get a job and help pay their part on rent or bills, then there is an option to get out of the lease or rental agreement. Whether you are renting or leasing, your landlord will be able to help you figure out how best to go about breaking the lease.

If you and your roommate signed a separate lease or rental agreement, then you are not liable for their unpaid amounts. However, if you are both on the same lease or agreement, then you are responsible for their unpaid amount. If this is the case, you can opt to break the lease.

Depending on the exact agreement, there can be hefty fees associated with breaking the lease. It’s important to understand that the penalties could be applied depending on the landlord-tenant laws. These laws will vary from state to state. Trulia can help you understand the landlord-tenant laws.

For some contracts, when you break the lease, you have to pay anywhere from 2-3 months’ rent to get out of the legally binding agreement officially. Your specific agreement may be different depending on where you are living.


15. Find out Whether or Not You Can Sublet

If your roommate signed a separate agreement, you could have the option to make them leave the apartment and sublet their spot. Subletting will depend on the exact agreement you signed and what the landlord allows in the building.

To find out more about how to sublet, speak with your landlord to see what your exact options will be. If subletting is allowed, then you will have to give your roommate a notice to move out by a particular day.

You can then begin to look for a new roommate to sublet to. Once your roommate has officially moved out, the new one  can step in and start paying instead of your previous roommate.

To learn how subleases work legally, consult with Rocket Lawyer to learn more about the subletting process.


16. Seek out the Help of a Lawyer


In some cases, depending on the severity of the situation, you may have to seek out legal help. In this case, you will have to get a lawyer and take your roommate to a small claims court.

The specific problem would be considered a civil suit, and you could sue your roommate for the damages to your financial wellbeing as well as any amount you may have lent them or paid for them during their unemployment.

For specifics on this legal matter, it is best to ask your lawyer how to go about the proceedings so that everything has a beneficial outcome for you. You can consult with LegalZoom to find out how best to find the right lawyer for your exact situation.

Writer: Kamie Allen

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