How to Tell Your Roommate You’re Moving Out


There comes a time in any roommate relationship when you’ll want to say, “I think we should live with other people.” Much like figuring out what to say for the “let’s see other people” talk, it can be difficult to know how to tell your roommate you’re moving out. However, it is possible to avoid an awkward situation and have this important conversation in a productive and compassionate way.

Whether you’re leaving a bad roommate to live with a new roomie or you want to live on your own after sharing an apartment with a friend, there are things you can do and say as the departing roommate that will make the “I’m moving out” conversation a little easier.

To help you find out how to tell your roommate you’re moving out, we have compiled some of our tips for departing roommates. Read on to learn what you need to know before having this big talk.

Why might you want to move out?

Before we dive into how to tell your roommate you’re moving out, let’s discuss why you might want to leave this shared space in the first place.

There are tons of reasons why you might want to switch up your living situation and find a new roommate. Some of these reasons are positive like relocating to a new city for work or moving in with a partner. However, others might have to do with roommate conflict.

Here are some common reasons why people start looking for a new place and new roomie. 

  • A bad roommate situation is one of the biggest reasons why people move out. From not honoring your roommate chore chart or leaving dirty dishes all over the shared space to being famous for unpaid rent, there are lots of things that can make someone a less than desirable roomie.
  • Personality differences can cause the roommate relationship to turn sour. For example, extroverts and introverts can often be friends. However, it can be difficult for such different people to live together.
  • No longer being able to afford the rent due to a job loss or change in circumstances often requires someone to think about moving somewhere else that better fits their new budget.
  • Having to move to another city or state for work, school or any other reason is why someone might have to tell their roomie that they’re moving out. Moving in with a significant other is another reason this might happen.

Any reason you have for seeking a new roommate is a valid one. However, just because your reason is valid, it’s not any easier to know how to tell your roommate you’re moving out. Thankfully, there are tips to help you be a good roommate even as you’re ending the roomie relationship.

Step 1: Pick the right time to have this conversation

There’s a time and a place for everything, including having the “I’m moving out” talk with your roommate. For starters, you should find a quiet, distraction-free time to have this important conversation. Doing so creates an environment that will promote active listening and clear discussion.

To help create the right environment for this talk, you should also try not to have it after you or your roomie have had a difficult day. Not only is it harder to deliver bad news when you’re already stressed, but it’s also hard to receive it.

Finally, part of picking the right time for this discussion involves giving your roommate ample notice. In most cases, this is 30-days’ notice. Not only does this show your roomie that you respect them, but it also gives them enough time to find a replacement roommate.

 Step 2: Have your reasons ready but be kind

It’s true that honesty is always the best policy, but honesty doesn’t have to be brutal or unkind. As you’re wondering how to tell your roommate that you’re moving out, keep in mind that they will want to know why. This is especially true if you’re friends.

Before having the conversation, you can make a list of the reasons why you’re moving out. Maybe it’s one reason that’s completely unrelated to your roomie. Or perhaps it’s a bunch of reasons why you want to get away from your annoying roommate.

Clearly, it’s easier to kindly explain to someone that you’re moving out to relocate for work or start living with a partner. However, you can still be kind even if roommate problems are why you’re leaving. Framing your reasons as I statements and separating the problems from your old roommate’s character can help.

  • For example, maybe your roomie constantly has overnight guests in your apartment. In this case, you could say that you want a living arrangement that offers more privacy and personal space.
  • If your roommate doesn’t clean as often as you like, you could say that you have different cleaning habits and you think it would be better for both of you if you lived with people who better match your respective habits.

Even if you’re frustrated with your roommate for their behavior or for not following your established roommate agreement, it does no good to take it out on them. It might be hard to be the bigger person and not air all your grievances. However, holding your tongue can often salvage a relationship and make the rest of your time living with them more pleasant. 

Step 3: Help them find a potential roommate to replace you

It’s true that you might not be able to find the right roommate to replace you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. After all, when you move out, it will likely make it more difficult for your former roomie to meet the rent obligations under the lease agreement. 

Doing something as simple as making a social media post that your previous roommate is seeking someone to room with is a nice gesture that requires minimal effort. It might even end up being more than just a nice gesture — it could be what helps your former roomie land a new roommate to replace you.

 Step 4: Clean up after yourself before you move out

You might not want to take everything with you when you move. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll find several belongings of yours in the apartment that might be better off at a thrift store or even the dump.

It might seem easier to just leave those items behind when you move on to bigger and better things. However, if you didn’t want that old toaster or beat-up desk chair, your old roommate probably doesn’t want it either. Instead of leaving these items, either throw them out or take them to a donation center.

As you’re packing up, you might come across items that your roommate might want to keep. For example, if you have the only sofa or dining table, your former roomie may not want to see it go. If this is the case, and you don’t mind replacing the item, you can offer to leave the sought-after item as an act of friendship or goodwill.

Turn to Common to enjoy good roommates and beautiful homes

Now that you know how to tell your roommate you’re moving out, you might still be wondering where you should move next. We’re here to help you find a coliving space or a private apartment. 

With Common, you’ll enjoy gorgeous, spacious homes with access to a built-in community, exclusive events, and discounts to local and national brands. 

For those who are living with roommates at Common, we’ve taken steps to avoid roommate disagreements. Each roommate is only responsible for their rent, so you don’t have to figure out how to split rent, and all the utilities are in your monthly payment. Not only that, but we also offer free regularl cleanings and keep you stocked with supplies like toilet paper and soap. Many of our homes also offer beautiful amenity spaces — from rooftop decks to game rooms — where you can host gatherings without disrupting your roommate. It’s how we work to keep everyone happy.



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