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I recently graduated from college, out of state from my hometown, and got a job here. A friend of mine and her husband offered to let me stay with them for very little rent until I could find a place of my own. They recently bought a house and had a lot of unexpected financial struggles this year so the money has been helpful to them as they pay off their debt.

I want to move out as soon as possible.

  • I don't like having roommates at all
  • This friend in particular is very hard to live with (gross habits, controlling, doesn't respect personal space, demands constant attention, walks around undressed -- and I am expected to be okay with all of this because it's her house after all)
  • They fight a lot
  • Most importantly my dog can't stay here so I'm having to pay for him to stay on a farm with another family where he spends most of his time outside in the rising summer heat in a city 45 minutes to an hour away from me.

I recently found an amazing apartment complex to apply for that will accept my dog. They have apartments available at the end of this month, the end of August, the middle of September, and the end of September. My friend and her husband went with me when I picked up my application and took a tour, so they know what move in dates are available and were very vocal about wanting me to wait until the end of September because "we need your money". I told them I needed to move quickly because of my dog but they still insisted I should wait until the end of September.

While I am sympathetic to their financial struggles (I have my own), I can't stand living with them anymore, and I am worried about my dog being so far away from me and outside in this heat. I want to move out at the end of this month.

I am submitting my application tomorrow. Basically I've thought of 3 solutions:

  1. I apply for the apartment available at the end of this month. Assuming I get in, I pay them for August's rent as an apology for not giving them enough notice.

  2. I apply for the apartment available at the end of this month, Assuming I get in, I tell my friend and her husband, [don't pay for August] and apologize for not giving them much notice, but remind them that this was always supposed to be a temporary situation and that I need to consider my dog and my needs first.

  3. I apply for the apartment available at the end of September. I find another temporary home for my dog where he can be inside and just suck it up until it's time to move.

Am I obligated to stay longer because they are entitled to more than a few weeks notice? If not, how do I say I'm moving out without causing a lot of drama? I have not signed any kind of contract or lease.

Update:

I was approved for an apartment and am moving in at the beginning of August. I told my roommates that I will pay the full rent for August even though I'll only be there 4 days and they were satisfied with this arrangement.

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You've left something out of your question, and it's the part that I believe led you here rather than the Legal StackExchange: how much do you care about your friendship with your friend?

If your tenancy with your friends was informal and month-to-month, as the question makes it sound, you may not have a legal responsibility to give notice.

(That's may not-- there are a lot of variations in landlord rights by jurisdiction. This is based mainly on watching Judge Judy, so take that for what it's worth, but even if they have no reasonable chance of winning they can still file a lawsuit and cost you time and money).

As someone who has had a roommate skip out earlier than planned (by all parties) because she was not on the lease and technically could without risking action by the landlord, while my finances were tight, I can tell you that that sucks. A lot. Any amount of notice could have helped me find a new roommate, or rearrange my finances to deal with the higher expenses more easily. Instead I had six months that were much more difficult than they needed to be, and we are no longer friends.

Especially if they have been giving you a good deal on rent compared with what's available elsewhere to suit your convenience when you needed it, you might consider meeting them partway and doing more than the absolute minimum that you could be legally forced to do. They didn't have to charge you low rent, they could have charged you the prevailing local rate for whatever their home offered you. If they didn't charge you a security deposit, or first and last months' rent, that's also a significant savings over another rental. You didn't love living with them? They may not have loved living with you, either. It wasn't charity on either side.

Your reasons for leaving are convincing to me, and I would probably do the same. But if you want to maintain the friendship at all I would recommend moving out and also paying rent (full, half, something) through August, as if a 30-day notice period were in effect. Maybe in installments over time (it's tough to swing the rent for two places at once, even if you'll be saving money on boarding your dog!). But something, somehow, to account for your sudden and (depending on when you all went to the complex you'll be moving into) unanticipated departure.

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    The moving wouldn't be sudden, they would have 2 weeks notice, plus I've been talking about possibly choosing the end of this month for a while. But I like the idea of paying them August's months rent in installments, or maybe just 1/2 of August, it sounds like a good middle ground. – StarSweeper Jul 13 '18 at 13:18
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    @StarSweeper Just a point - 2 weeks notice is sudden. If they're living paycheck to paycheck and their bills are monthly, they've suddenly less than a months notice that they're going to be short for the next round of bills, but with no time to make up for that difference. – Philbo Jul 13 '18 at 14:47
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Before you started living there or since did you promise them you'd stay for some period of time? Because that's the main reason I can think of for why you ought to stay longer than you want to.

It's normal for life situations to change and roommates to move out and be replaced by other people. People get married, get new jobs, or move out for all kinds of reasons. I don't know how long ago you warned them about the possibility of moving, but I'd think a few weeks or a month ought to be plenty of time for them to find another person to take over your portion of things.

Decide what you think is a reasonable amount of notice, give them that much notice, and move out.

  • I never promised I'd stay there for a certain period of time (I actually apologized that I might end up having to stay longer than August while I saved up money and they said don't worry about it). There was a moment where we were watching the office and a character said "I have six roommates, which are better than friends because they have to give you one month's notice before they leave." and my friend turned to me and said that thats true and I need to give at least 1 months notice and I think I nodded or something. – StarSweeper Jul 12 '18 at 20:12
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From your description, it sounds like they're using you. Sure, on one hand it's nice of them to host you and make you pay less than the neighbourhood area; however they are putting a considerable pressure on you by explicitly asking you to postpone your well-being in order to get your money. Not so nice, all in all.

A viable option that allows you to leave as soon as possible and not let them down is finding another roommate for them. I can't think of another reason for them to want one month's notice except for having to look for another tenant. They would be able to raise the rent to a normal rate and have a higher income, and you would be free to move into your new flat. Plus, normally managing the process of looking for flatmates is quite a hassle, so you'd do them a big favour.

If they're okay with it, you can propose them to look for another roommate, and to pay a weekly share for all the time that room will be free.

If it's really just for your money, approaching them by saying "Sorry, I want to leave ASAP because of [my dog, my declining mental health, my poor ears], but I'll find a new roommate, don't worry", or even "here's Steve that could stay here paying a full rent" should be a safe approach.

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