Like marriage, tenant-landlord relationships could get very complicated. Respect could get worn over time, and both parties would rather to part ways when bitterness reaches the highest level.
Yet, albeit both relations are bound by contracts, with marriage often being deemed as sacred, it’s the tenant-landlord relationship that tends to more closely abide by the terms and conditions of its agreement.
But, apparently, this landlady did not see herself as a landlord but more as a roommate; that’s why she committed a blunder that ended up with her being disrespected by her tenant and accused of being a leech.
The Original Poster, the house owner, with the username u/Miserable-Hat-6390 published about her dilemma on Reddit’s r/AmItheA-hole forum, starting with the following details: “I used to work a really stressful job with hard hours and terrible coworkers. I was also supplementing my income by renting out the third bedroom in my house. The other spare was a guest room/storage. She paid/pays me 700 every month, and we used to split the utilities in half. Things got really bad at work, and I wanted to leave. I decided to clean out the guest room and rent it out. I told my roommate, and she was unhappy, because she didn’t want to share a bathroom. I pointed out her share of the utilities would go down, but she didn’t really care about that. Anyway, I rented out the room. Not long after, I quit my job.”
According to OP, her mortgage is 1500 a month, so she’s been paying about $100 a month aside from the rental payments from the two other girls. She’s been using her savings for her needs while she’s looking for another job that pays fair and has a less stressful environment.
However, her first tenant noticed that she no longer goes to work. And when she answered her question about her joblessness, the tenant replied sarcastically, “so now you’re a professional homeowner, basically?” And when she disagreed with her, she accused her of leeching off both her and the other female tenant because she doesn’t want to work.
OP explained to the AITA community, “I do want to work. It’s just that I need to find a new job, and since people need cheap places to stay, renting out these rooms allows me to keep paying my mortgage while I look. My roommate says I’m taking advantage of her, but she chose to move in here. I don’t consider myself to be a leech, but she thinks I’m a selfish a–hole. Am I?”
Well, first of all, OP should realize that she’s not a mere roommate but the landlord/landlady. The two girls who are renting two separate rooms in her house are called tenants.
The responses from AITA members brought this matter up to OP, hoping OP would realize that a landlord/landlady and a tenant have legal responsibilities and that, in order to avoid complications or conflicts as much as possible, a lease agreement should be executed.
According to bhartman36_2020, “NTA. A ‘professional homeowner’ is called a landlord. If you can get people to live in your house and pay your mortgage while you get another job, there’s no shame in that. They’re living in your house that you bought.”
ProfessionalMoose547 also advised OP on another legal thing to do: “Then the response is easy. ‘Oh, I’m sorry that this arrangement no longer works for you. So when exactly are you planning on moving so I can have another tenant set up for the vacancy?’ And really, that’s just a nice reminder that she is in fact a tenant, NOT a roommate. Please make sure you have a solid lease in place so she can’t just leave you high and dry.”
Unhappy_Animator_869 also wanted to remind OP of fairness regarding tenancy: “You may have answered this elsewhere, but, did you decrease her rent to reflect the changing living conditions? She has gone from her own bathroom and shared spares with just one other person to a shared bathroom and two other people; her rent should reflect that change. You changed the living conditions she signed up for. If you didn’t reflect that in the rent you charge, YTA. I reread the post and see you’re charging them both the same. I’m going to go YTA. It’s not her business that you’re not working and looking for a better fit, but I can see how it would sting to be paying the same for less. Have a mature conversation about her leaving if that’s what you want, but jacking up her rent as some people are suggesting would be a hella d-ck move. (I think you said you don’t want to, so fair play).”