Give Some Advice To Someone With A Violent Roomate

From the Forum Section:

“My roommate and I are currently renting a 2 bedroom apartment in a small building on 16th street. Our lease doesn’t end until February of 2009. My roommate has some drug and alcohol problems and has gotten very violent with me on several occasions. About a month ago I fled the apartment after she threw me to the floor and started strangling me, and I’ve been staying at a friend’s house ever since. I did return once to get some things, when I knew she was out of town, and found my room was completely trashed.

I’ve tried talking to her on the phone and in person (in a public place) about the situation and I’ve gotten nowhere. The last time I tried to meet her in person she drove me out to the middle of nowhere, beat me up, and ran off with my work laptop and my phone. I didn’t press charges or get a restraining order because it would only make her madder. She did return the laptop but she’s been leaving me nasty voicemails and has implied that she bought a gun.

I just want to move out of the apartment because I obviously can’t stay there any longer, but I hate having to break the lease. What would be the best way to broach this subject with the management? I really would prefer to not get the police involved, but am willing to if necessary. I don’t care if I get my security deposit back, but I hope there is a way to do this without ruining my credit. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!”

35 Comment

  • I think this woman is going to have to get the police involved. Or a social service agency. She’s not just a danger to her, but herself and potentially others. She may have drug and alcohol problems, but sounds like she has even worse emotional problems.

    I have had plenty of passive aggressive roommates in the past (like the Loft I lived in where for a party, the entire contents of the Loft were crammed into my bedroom), but this is something seriously scary. And all these things “I don’t want to break the lease” and “I don’t want to get the police involved” are some really horrifying excuses. You are having the response of an abused lover. You need to get out of this situation, and you are going to have to involve someone else in this. Good luck.

  • Credit score be damned, you need to collect your things (if really necessary), tell managment the problem and get out. Your safety is the most important thing right now.

    Having said that, have the police been involved at all, have you made any calls? The managment company, if they are being pissy, may want proof that your roommate has snapped. And don’t ever get in a car with her again. The worst part of a violent crime is almost always carried out a second location.

    Tip of the day – always, always fight like hell to avoid the second location, no matter what, hate to be morbid here, but if you are going to die or be severely injured, it almost always happens at the second location, so you might as well fight like crazy at the first encounter.

  • Good lord press charges and break the lease. You have a completely legitimate reason for doing so, and I can’t imagine you’d feel bad leaving your roommate responsible for the rest of the rent. Tell the management company you have an untenable living situation and you will be breaking the lease, your roommate should then have the opportunity to re-sign a lease of her own or leave as well. I wouldn’t suggest finding another suitable roommate when you leave, because it would be cruel to put anyone in that living situation. It’s also possible that your management company may want to evict your roommate if her violence is causing damage to the apartment or property.

    I’ve had my share of bad roommate experiences (some verbal abuse, intimidation, but never physical abuse) and have moved out early, but never have I seen a more clearcut reason for breaking the lease and getting the hell out of a living situation (I know you don’t want to damage your credit, but this roommate seems to have threatened your life – which is more important to you?). There is simply no way that you can be expected to continue living there through February. Get out!

  • Last time I checked most landlords were human beings, call them and tell them what is going on! Most landlords just want monthly cashflow from a tenant without any drama, trust me they dont want to deal with your crazy roomate either.

    Landlords typically do not report to the credit agencies on a regular basis because it costs money, so your credit would only be affected if they bother taking you to court and there is a judgement against you. If you explain your situation and agree to give up your security deposit then the landlord probably will be satisfied. They might charge you a fee for breaking the lease which would be spelled out in the contract you signed.

    The absolute worst case scenario is that they try to charge you for the whole year in which case they would have to take you to court which is a huge hassle not to mention expensive. A wise landlord would try to minimize the loss, get the bad tenant out as soon as possible and a new one in so that they can make money. Just talk to them, they will want to work something out as much as you do.

  • I’m sorry to say that this story sounds completely made up — she took you out to the middle of no where and beat you up, stole your things and you are still dealing with her. Either this is made up or the relationship between these two goes far beyond roommates. Regardless, get out of there. Any damage to your credit score can be easily restored with good behavior in the future.

  • I can’t believe you would think twice about not pressing charges. The girl obviously needs professional help, and you should be seeking advice found outside this blog.

    I’m no shrink, but if you are looking for advice; get out, and get out now. The leasing office doesn’t need an excuse, and if they persist just say “personal reasons” and leave it at that. Your situation sounds terrible — in line with a domestic violence case. The fact you put up with it till this point says to me that you may have some issues with domestic abuse, and should talk to an expert. Check with your employer to see if they offer professional counseling. Many have programs where your first few sessions are free.

  • PoP, in hindsight, agree with Fonzy, not sure we are the appropriate people to be offering advice. This goes way beyond what a blog should offer. Not sure why you even posted it?

  • This does not sound all the credible but if true, restraining order is the only way to go. That will force her to vacate the premises as she won’t be able to touch you, and if she violates the restraining order, she does not pass go, does not collect 200, but goes right to jail, so that is pretty good incentive for her to keep away from you. The only issue is that some jurisdictions restraining orders are only for people in a dating relationship, I am not sure if D.C. extends to cohabitants who are not in such a relationship/

  • Just to remind the reader…911 is the number you use to get the police! You need to get out of that situation. I would not go back into the apartment with out police supervision. I would think it is justified based on the past assault and vandelism to your property. I would also think that assault and battery complaint and possible civil litigation are options as well. Dont’ mess around with this.

  • yeah, sounds like a made-up story.

  • Well I don’t think we are the best people to give advice, but I think the overwhelming amount of responses that say “Get out of there!” are valid regardless if we are lawyers, shrinks, or otherwise. I mean as a community we give each other support and advice, doesn’t mean the person has to act on it. The person was asking for advice, they posted this question in the forum. Hopefully they know it is just a community blog that can only provide the opinions of the individuals who read it. And if they don’t than they have more problems than their current living situations…

    Was PoP just supposed to ignore this cry for help? And had he just responded, it would only be one person’s opinion which doesn’t have the force like a whole bunch of people saying the same thing. And I think from this came not only the answers that they should get away to safety but also seek professional help. Isn’t that a good thing?

  • And yet again, Kalia, you are the voice of reason…but still, doesn’t this person have friends, family, employer to really help her out? We are just bloggers…this person needs personal help.

  • As a person with some background in counseling victims of domestic violence, the scenario you describe raises real concerns about your future safety. You’ve been assaulted several times and you describe an alarming escalation in violent and threatening behavior. You would benefit from support and legal advisement. House of Ruth is a wonderful resource which provides affordable legal advocacy, outpatient counseling, and support groups. They will also help you safety plan to protect yourself from future harm. This agency typically works with victims of intimate partner violence – if this does not describe your situation, they may still provide some services or be able to refer you to another agency who can help. Their main number is 202-667-7001. You can also contract the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24-hrs a day to obtain support or to find other referrals in this area.

  • My apologies: the National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.

  • A civil protection order (restraining order) is definitely what you need. Don’t be too concerned about making her mad — sounds like she’s already there. At least with the CPO, if she comes back around she’s looking at $1,200 fine and 6 months in jail. You’d be surprised at the calming effect those terms can have on a violent roommate.

  • am i the only one who would invest in a pair of brass knuckles or a baseball bat and beat the hell out of this bitch? sure, get out of there asap, but be sure to break her freaking nose on the way out… maybe an arm too…COME ON! you dont always have to be the good guy on the high road..

  • Breaking the lease shouldn’t impact your credit, as long as you pay any fees on time. I broke a lease a few years ago (didn’t even have a good reason), but because I paid the 1/2 month “cancellation fee” it never even showed up on my credit.

  • @cristobal:
    Yeah, and then the victim gets to be the one put in jail. I am sure the crazy roommate would have no problem calling the police, even though the original poster for some reason does.

    OP — don’t screw around with retaliation or worrying about your credit; just get the hell out of there. You’ve got to be in charge of managing your own safety.

  • when someone strangles you, call 911, period. period.

  • im just tired of seeing the world around me dominated by fear… i stand by my original post.. this person needs their ass kicked hard. plus, im sure it would be easier to move your stuff out if the roomate is knocked out on the floor.

  • sorry, no time to read all the comments above, but the person needs to involve the police and the management of the building company immediately. there is something called extenuating circumstances and this situation fits the bill here. when someone beats you up and otherwise abuse you, you have to take care of yourself first and foremost. you are only hurting the abuser more if you let them get away with it. this person needs some major help. Act immediately!

  • Unbelievable. Literally.

    On the tiny chance that this is legit, I hope the previous 20 replies have convinced this numbskull to call the freaking cops already.

  • i dont believe a word…

  • Protective orders don’t do shit if the person is crazy enough. An example:

  • if you aren’t willing to call the gendarmes, stop complaining. you are just enabling your roommate to act the way she does without fear of having to be responsible. as others have pointed out, it is less than rational to fear “she might get mad” if you involve the authorities. she’s already mad–both angry mad and crazy mad.

  • 1. file an assault charge.
    2. file a charge for the other assault.
    3. file a report for your stolen property.
    4.file a report for you damaged property
    5. file a complaint with your landlord.
    6. tell them the situation, and be honest.
    7. get the fuck out.
    8. if you see her again and she comes toward you, hit her and run.
    9. post her picture around town, all wheatpaste style
    10 start a blog about what a bitch she was.
    11. send a letter to her place of employment.
    12. enroll her in the military. army.
    13. pee on her stuff before you leave.

  • My first thought took me to the same place Cristobel went — meet her at crazy and beat her in the head ’til the white meat show — but cooler posters helped me see that violence ain’t the way.

    I do think at a MINIMUM you call the police and press charges. Then vacate the premises. You can repair your credit, but you don’t know how many more asswhuppin’s you can survive. I mean look at this in a commonsense way: do you want to pay for a place a person who beat you down repeatedly is inhabiting while you flop on couches all over town? Kick bricks and once you get to the Northern Star, seek some counseling to help you work through why you would let someone terrorize you in this way.

  • Thanks for the kind responses, everyone, but most of you didn’t address my question, which was what would be the best way to explain this to management. Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough, but I have absolutely NO intention of staying there!! I do not have a death wish. I already have a place to move to which is far from the city and she will never find it. When my cousin was the victim of a similar crime the cops sided with the abuser, which is why reluctant to go down that road.

    The roommate, by the way, is an ex-girlfriend– I didn’t think that made a difference but from reading your comments it sounds like I can get more help if it is. She has invited me to call the cops and get a restraining order several times (via voicemails and such– I no longer answer the phone when she calls), so I don’t think the possibility of jail time is a deterrant. I’ve discussed the situation with several close friends and they all have differing opinions on what to do. Those who know the girl agree that a restraining order might make things worse. She is bipolar and untreated for it, and basically has nothing to lose.

    Anyway, I just posted here to see if perhaps anyone has been in a similar situation or knew someone who had. I recalled the Washington Post having a live chat about apartments/roommates/etc, but I couldn’t find it so I posted on relevant forums instead. I’m glad to hear that it shouldn’t be an issue with management if I explain what happened. Breaking a lease is such a shitty thing to do, but I really don’t have a choice here.

  • OP – tell the landlord you ex girlfirend is violent and you have to get out. Then go. If you need a restraining order to move out, then get one. How are the cops going to side with the abuser? You need to make out a complaint of assault and battery. You were the one choked correct?

  • OP – yeah, agreed with Steve. You don’t need to go into detail, you just need to be straightforward and say you’re in a violent situation and must leave. If that for some reason isn’t enough, too bad; you’re under no obligation to explain to them your personal life — you gave them notice and that’s all you can do.

    As said above, landlords are People Too, and don’t want to deal with possible criminal actions on their rental property, so he’ll probably be glad to let you go and move on. At worst you’ll pay a small fine. I really wouldn’t worry about your credit. Even on the .01% chance this somehow makes it onto your report, we’re talking about a blip, not a future mortgage voider by any means.

  • OP – What you’re not realizing is that by calling the police and, if not pressing charges, you’re at least creating a report and have, on record, a legitimate reason to break your lease.

  • I do realize that. That’s why I said I’d be willing to do it if necessary. The incident where she beat me up is on record.

  • Did you both sign the lease? I had a roommate who moved out unannounced, but because there were 3 other people who also signed the lease the landlord held us responsible for paying the rent and utilities, including her portion. This was in Seattle though, I don’t know what the rules are in DC.

  • OP — Do not forget to get yourself some help here too. House of Ruth as was mentioned above is a great example. You’re dealing with a lot of stress as the victim here, and you don’t want to be victimized again. HoR will be a great place to find support. They, most likely, can also help you with your landlord and the police.

  • OP, I don’t think there is any special way to explain this to management other than to tell them the truth. The truth should always be a first resort: “I have to break the lease because I fear for my safety.” It’s not a shitty thing to do — breaking a lease for no good reason is shitty. This is an *extremely good* reason.

    Christopher’s advice is also good. You take care of yourself.

Comments are closed.