The Student Room Group

Navigating Challenges: Dealing With Toxic Housemates

I am writing this post because I believe I am being bullied by my housemates. I apologise for the length of my post but would appreciate some helpful feedback: In late summer 2023, I urgently sought accommodation for the upcoming start of my university in early October, and therefore, I joined student housing groups on Facebook. Subsequently, an individual I will call 'M' contacted me, suggesting the idea of buddying up with them and their friends to secure a newly renovated house they were interested in. After thorough inquiries, I committed to a tenancy agreement.

However, upon moving in, there was minimal effort on their part to include me. Negative discussions about our co-tenant, 'T', quickly unveiled insights about them. Anyway, I knew it was one of their birthdays, whom I will call 'K', as they mentioned it on our Snapchat group chat before we all moved in. Despite not knowing 'K' well, I got them a small birthday present.

However, I was not personally invited to celebrate or offered a slice of their birthday cake, which was hurtful. Due to the unfriendly vibe from them collectively, I experienced social anxiety entering and cooking in the kitchen, especially since they dominate the communal area connected to it, spending nearly 24/7 there.

Fast forward to November 30, 2023, ‘M’ mentioned that someone put the wrong-sized bin bags in the general waste bin outside, claiming the bin people would not take them based on what the landlord said. However, the landlord never mentioned this in our WhatsApp group chat (this is the primary group chat that includes the landlord, the maintenance team, the cleaning team, as well as myself and my co-tenants) and upon checking my city’s official website regarding general waste and recycling bins, it did not state that the size of the bin bags must not be small. It is worth noting that they probably knew these bin bags were mine, as I had offered one to 'M' before this incident, knowing they needed one.

After half-swiping ‘M’s’ complaint on the Snapchat group chat, I did not even want to open it to observe the toxic game they were playing. However, ‘T’ private messaged me and asked me to open the group chat not long after.

When I did, not only did I discover that he complained about someone not properly flushing the toilet three times (‘T’ declared, “the house is filled with adults, not children and if you can't act like one you shouldn't be at university” - I found ‘T’s’ comment childish yet comical. I honestly believe ‘T’ was instigating the developing tense situation.

Also, who is ‘T’ to tell people who should not be attending university over something that is not even that deep? Entitling behaviour if you ask me), but ‘K’ blamed it on me for not opening their toxic group chat sooner. I chose to challenge them, and it appeared they were providing justifications and even excuses for why I was to blame for the toilet situation and why rubbish in the small-sized bin bags should not be in the general waste bin.

‘K’ then included a picture of a crying baby face meme, subtly implying that I was being childish for defending myself and choosing to take screenshots of the cyber bullying I encountered. After this, I decided to leave the Snapchat group chat disclaiming: “Sorry to say guys but I feel uncomfortable with the communication format of this group so in the interest of my sanity, I am leaving this group. Please feel free to knock on my door or post in the WhatsApp group chat regarding any further issues”.

Since that moment, whenever encountering them face-to-face, I noticed a distinct cold energy for a brief period. Furthermore, on December 19, 2023, another housemate, referred to as 'AG’, stood in the hallway and vented about people purportedly leaving feces in the toilet, then proceeded to slam the bathroom door extremely loud twice at 03:00.

On January 14, 2024, I informed everyone in the WhatsApp group chat that, when I left around 18:30, I noticed either 'K’s’ or 'M's' key left in the lock outside the front door. Assuming someone else was about to leave, I did not lock the door. Upon returning a few hours later, I observed the same key still in the lock. I addressed the issue, securing the key inside the house.

Despite this, 'K' or 'M' did not express gratitude, which was disappointing yet unsurprising. It is worth mentioning that, out of kindness, I have gotten out of bed to lock the front door for 'K' when they asked me to, as they consistently misplace their key. On January 24, 2024, I walked into the kitchen to find 'M' and another co-tenant, 'AS’, with the cat jumping from counter to counter, despite their awareness of my discomfort with pets in the house.

Additionally, there is a strict no-pet policy in place. When I confronted 'M' about it, who wore a smirk as 'AS' took the cat outside, they explained that the cat occasionally enters when the door is open. Given my history of cat allergies, addressing this concern became crucial, especially as I have observed the back door left open when co-tenants are engrossed in watching TV or using their phones.

‘M' also seemed to preemptively make excuses, suggesting that if I were to catch the cat inside the house again, they could claim the cat ran in as they opened the door, aiming to avoid blame. This occurred despite my suggestions on ways 'M' and the others could prevent the cat from entering. I have informed the landlord about the situation and will provide updates if I observe the cat inside the house again.

Although on the night of January 25, 2024, I heard meow sounds; unsure if a cat was inside or if someone or somebodies were intentionally provoking me, it prompted me to reflect on the situation. Also, on January 25, for the third time, I discovered that there was no hot water flowing when attempting to take a shower.

I promptly informed my landlord and the maintenance team on the WhatsApp group chat. I genuinely believe my co-tenants switch it off around the time they know I usually shower. Despite this, I put my clothes back on, went downstairs, and discovered that only the 'shower' switch was turned off, as in the previous two occurrences. 'T' reached out to me, suggesting that I "make sure the switch hasn't tripped under the stairs" and to ensure the boiler was on, despite having given me an unpleasant look and avoiding me in person the day before. Shortly after, ‘M’ reached out, stating, "Hey, could you also make sure you unplug the microwave after you".

I was not sure if 'M' wanted to address the shower situation privately, but the comment was unclear, random, and came across as passive-aggressive in my opinion. It also appeared to be a way for ‘M’ to do damage control, hoping I would not bring up the shower situation on the WhatsApp group chat again.

In addition, the suggestion that I unplug the microwave after use to prevent the 'shower' switch from tripping seemed to imply that the issue was somehow my fault as I leave the plug in the socket after using it. I found this questionable, considering 'M' and the others do not unplug the TV, toaster, PlayStation, and other electronic devices in the kitchen and communal area, which draw the most power.

I doubt the microwave being plugged in yet not being used had anything to do with the recurring issue. Ultimately, my co-tenants often ignore my greetings, consistently leave the front and back doors unlocked, create a continual mess in the kitchen and communal area that is unbearable, deterring me from wanting to cook. They leave inappropriate items on the stoves, like plastic containers and clothes, and are loud.

Additionally, they purposely make noise when they know I am likely asleep, have smoked in the communal area, left fire lighters on the rug, disregarded my designated fridge shelf and freezer drawer, and talked about me behind my back. The list goes on. I am fed up with them. Despite consistently being nice, considerate, respectful, and civil from day one, it seems they don't respect me as a human being. Am I overreacting? How would you handle the situation if you were in my shoes?

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