From the Forum – Roommate up to sketchy things?

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Roommate up to sketchy things?

“So I’ve been living in my current apartment (2bd/1ba) for a few months now. It’s a great location near Dupont, and definitely below market rate for the area. Walk to work, everywhere, decent size, etc. All in all, I’m getting a pretty good deal.

My question regards my roommate. I got the apartment through Craigslist, and my lease is a month-to-month sublet agreement is with the current roommate only, not the landlord, who’s a local guy who owns the whole building.

My roommate has been fine mostly, but I’m occasionally concerned about what he does for a living. He told me when I was moving in that he was a “freelance” graphic designer or something, but I doubt that. I suspect that he may be into possibly selling drugs or being a male escort to support himself. If he is into those, I don’t think he brings it back to our place–I don’t see any random characters at our place, at least not while I’m there. I’m just sorta concerned that some s***t could go down and potentially affect me, personally or legally.

Does anyone have experience with a similar situation? Do I have any potential risks from this situation? I’m torn between wanting to get the h**l out of Dodge and minding my own business with it. He’s been a fine roommate so far, and as an entry-level 20-something with a salary to match, I don’t want to have to search for another apartment.”

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65 Comment

  • What exactly makes you suspect he’s selling drugs or is a male escort?

  • “I suspect that he may be into possibly selling drugs or being a male escort to support himself.” Why? Nothing from your post would suggest either of those scenarios. Maybe it is just a case of your roommate keeping his private life to himself. Just because he doesn’t go into detail about his occupation, doesn’t make him a hooker or drug dealer. And from your paranoid post, I can see why he wouldn’t want to share more with you.

  • I had a roommate like you once, OP. Let me guess: Fed job, decent salary, young lawyer?

    In all seriousness though, mind you own business. If your roommate’s whereabouts bother you that much, just move out and let him be himself. Just because he isn’t working a 9-5 doesn’t mean he’s up to no good.

    • Right lol

      i mean what CAN you do?

      Ask what he does. and he either tells you the truth and says he is doing dirt( you move out i guess) or says that he is a graphic designer (then things will be at least a little bit weird between you im guessing)
      Or he lies and says graphic desingner(see comment above)

      I mean there sint much you can do here if you feel that strongly about it other than moving out

  • I suggest you call the police at once! Surely the proper authorities must hear of your baseless suspicions! I, too, immediately think “male escort” or “drug dealer” whenever some scoundrel tells me of his job in “graphic design” (is that even a thing?). I have no doubt your compelling testimony at his inevitable prosecution shall put this hoodlum away for life (which is exactly what all “graphic designers” deserve)!

  • Ask them to have a movie night, then show “Risky Business.” At the end, turn to them and say, “Does this look familiar?”

    In all seriousness, while I think it would be pretty much impossible to tactfully ask someone if they are a prostitute, I’m sure you could find ways to bring up work stuff in a way that my clarify some things. Even when I haven’t been close to my roommates (especially when I’m not), we do the “how’s work?” thing.

    • Yeah, I think if you do the “how’s work” thing enough a drug dealer/escort would get paranoid and move out.
      If you’re quite certain of your suspicions you could also say something like “Hey, I have a friend who’s trying to get a job in graphic design and would love to talk to you” and see what his reaction is.
      Have you tried to find him on LinkedIn?

  • Dear Popville, I have this great apartment near Dupont, but I think my roommate may be paranoid. I found him on Craig’s list, and he seemed ok at first. Now he keeps making weird references to drugs and my love life. He’s kind of creeping me out, but he pays the rent, so I’m torn. Should I kick him out?

  • Until you come back and give details about WHY you think he’s tricking or dealing, it’s just going to be post after post making fun of you for your suspicion. And the posters here are very good at coming up with baseless accusations, so if you don’t update, I hope you quit reading or have a very, very thick skin.

    • There must be more to the story. Maybe he doesn’t want to share the additional details in case the roommate sees this and recognizes himself.

  • So you essentially have no evidence or rationale to support your suspicions, but you should somehow be concerned for your own well being? I’m not certain it’s you we should be worried about, maybe it’s your poor roommate. Shame on you.

  • justinbc

    So, you suspect something, but fail to provide any points or evidence as to why you suspect it? Given that small level of detail provided it just sounds like paranoia.

  • Post his picture so I can see if I recognize him.

  • I hope your room mate reads POP, it sounds like HE has the room mate problem lol. Best of luck to him in solving it, sounds like you don’t give two toots about dragging someone down in public.

  • Run, don’t walk away from the situation. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. Trust your gut. Find another place.

    • If he is keeping drugs in the house and the police find them you could go to jail even if you knew nothing about it. It’s up to you to determine how likely that situation is and whether staying there is worth the risk.

      • Not true! Most of the cases I see where the drug-dealing roommate is charged and the other roommate truly didn’t know what was going on gets off free and clear. Now, if the roommate is stashing the drugs in your room, then you may have a problem when the police execute a search and find 50 g’s of sweet Mexican black tar heroin in a shoebox in your closet. Juss sayin’

        • My roommate and I were burglarized once and the police thought we had drugs in the house. One of them told me if they find any we’d both be charged even if one of us confessed that they were theirs and the roommate knew nothing about it. Not that police necessarily know what the law is!

  • Why is “freelance” in scare quotes? Do people honestly think this is code for ‘sex worker’ or something?
    Here, you live in DC: do you know what a “contractor” is? Yes. A freelancer is like that, except our work is almost exclusively job-to-job, rather than ongoing. It’s kinda awful compared to being in-house or contract, but it’s where the design market is going recently and it’s really not at all unusual. He probably works in coffee shops a lot to get out of the house, maybe on-site for various clients occasionally. He might get stuck working until 4am or later on nights when a client decides at the last minute to have wholly unrealistic expectations about deadlines. Unless you have something more concrete I wouldn’t go making assumptions.

    • Yeah, I thought most graphic designers were freelance these days.

      • Pretty much. :\ Some folks are lucky, especially if some government branch is hiring, but most of us try to cobble together enough relatively reliable clients to pay rent and keep something socked away for the lean months.

  • Try saying this to him:
    hey, dude, not sure how you feel about drug use, but I was thinking about getting some drugs. any chance you might know a dealer? also, I’m feeling like I need to get laid, by another dude. I don’t really know anyone, so I was thinking about trying an escort. You have any idea on how to find one?

  • By writing into a blog such as this, you have given us evidence that you are most likely much stranger than your roommate. And normally I’d make fun of the OP for being hopelessly naive and afraid to make decisions for himself. But really the blame for this falls squarely on the operator of this site for entertaining such nonsense. May god have mercy on your soul, “Prince” of Petworth. You are a pretender to the crown!

  • I am going to lean on the indulgent side and suppose that this is your first big city, first roommate, first job, whatever…. you’re getting raked over the coals pretty good right now so I wont launch into the whole MYOB spiel, apt though it is. Here’s the thing, if your suspicion is that this guy makes money doing unsavory things and it bothers you, move. Your gut could be right. Everyone shook their heads and wrung their hands about the Boston bombers and HOW could people not know, especially those living with them. So there’s that. Maybe you have very specific evidence and just didnt feel like throwing it out there. Maybe you’ve got nothing and are just squeamish. In short, if you are uncomfortable move. Do NOT under any circumstances accuse your roommate of anything and do NOT go searching for proof.

    • Good advice! I’ve made the mistake of not wanting to leave a good apartment as justification for staying in a bad roommate situation, and it ended badly.

  • He or she didn’t say why he suspected anything, so everyone here saying he has no evidence, is doing the same thing they are accusing the OP of…

  • I suspect OP is from a flat state with lots of 90-degree corners. I’ve lived with both male escorts and drug dealers (and, in one particularly memorable case, someone who was both) and generally speaking, it’s quite palatable as long as the business stays outside the front door. Johns have sticky fingers for more than one reason …

  • I think you need to contact DCRA

  • If your roommate is any good at either of those things he doesn’t need a lame-o roommate like you to pay the rent.

    If he’s bad at it you would probably already know.

    Sounds like you thought you were progressive enough to live with a gay roommate but it turns out you aren’t progressive enough to not think that roommate sells his ass. Kudos to you for trying I guess.

  • This is all beginning to make me realize that my roommate is an alien spy as I’ve always expected….

  • Uh oh. Someone’s living in a sketchpad!

  • is it just me, or is this an unusually nasty thread? OP doesn’t deserve all the grief he’s getting here. (and no, I’m not the OP) Just because he didn’t explain why he has these suspicions doesn’t mean he’s totally paranoid. And I don’t sense he’s judgmental or negative toward the roommate, he’s just asking about legal liability.

    • It’s just you. Either the OP is completely delusional or he/she isn’t providing the information necessary for anyone to give constructive, legitimate advice (on potential legal liability, the etiquette of accusing one’s roommate of criminal malfeasance, or anything else)–in other words, the post was a complete waste of everyone’s time (though the comments are worthwhile indeed!)

    • I think if the guy is clever enough to determine his roommate is doing something illegal, he’d be savvy enough to know how to deal with it.

  • Wait Wait Wait. Selling drugs OOOOOOORRRRR a male escort? Just give him a good sniff when he gets home and you’ll have some answers. For real, though, you shouldn’t accuse people of breaking the law just because you don’t know where they are.

  • If you are only occasionally concerned about what he does, then focus on the majority of the time when you aren’t and just keep calm and carry on.

  • Notwithstanding whether the OP is overly paranoid or not (maybe he left out details supporting his suspicions; we don’t know), I’m actually kind of interested in the original question about risk and liability. I’d be curious what any commenters who are lawyers or in law enforcement think. Not being in either of those professions, my guess is that there’s not much risk to the OP if his roommate is a prostitute doing outcalls; if the guy gets busted with a john in a hotel room, the OP wouldn’t get swept up in that. The drug thing might be more risky, if the roommate is storing drugs in the apartment. It seems possible that both occupants of the apartment could get arrested, while ownership of the drugs and involvement in the drug-dealing was being sorted out by the police and the prosecutors. I think sometimes people are inclined to think “that would never hold up in court”–forgetting that even if you’d get acquitted or the charges would be dropped ultimately, that likely comes *after* you’ve been arrested, maybe held overnight in jail and arraigned, hired a lawyer, and gone through a pre-trial hearing or two. In other words, things work out ok *but* only after a significant amount of discomfort, expense, and hassle.

    • I’m also kind of curious and would like people who know these things to weigh in. After learning (I think here) that you can be held responsible for what other people are downloading on a shared internet connection, I’ve wondered about other situations where guilt by association might hold.

      • +1 for about three years I did not password protect my WiFi because I’d misplaced the manufacturer’s password. I’m sure other people used it, not sure if the ISP can tell who actually did the downloading.

        To the OP. If you’re uncomfortable, move out. When I was in college, roommate during my summer internship decided to grow marihuana, he was the lease holder so I moved into with this female friend who, as I later found out, happened to be an outcall escort that summer. No big deal, nothing bad happened, but she did have some very attractive friends and I did get invited to some really crazy parties.

  • He’s living off a trust fund or an inheritance. I have a few friends in this situation – they never seem to work, are always traveling, randomly get odd freelance jobs, spend their days pursuing leisure activities and “passions” – yet don’t seem to suffer financially. They also don’t live a life of luxury and have an otherwise “normal” life and spending habits.
    It’s just not polite to talk about these things and/or he’s embarrassed.

  • Probably went to Landon…

  • How amusing that the peanut gallery which usually spends about 60% of its time referring to all DC youth as “feral,” and anything east of 11th street as “still pretty sketch” would now come together to universally DENOUNCE the accusation of wrong doing without evidence. Please remember how absurd you found this post next time someone writes in about the young men who hang out on the corner of their new house’s block who just HAVE to be “up to no good.”

  • OP here. Thanks for the tips, those that gave them, and for the people questioning evidence and that, i’m not just speculating. i’m not sure, but there are a few things–word of mouth and others. nothing for sure at all though. i was mostly interested if anyone had experience with legal ramifications of similar situations as my parents aren’t from the US originally and they sometimes make me freak the f*** out about police and things like that, given the experience where they grew up. thanks for assuming i’m a rat though

    • Your parents are right to worry about the police. Even in this country innocent people get arrested accused and sometimes even executed on a regular basis, so you are right to be concerned!

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