I moved into a shared home where the landlord is also one of the people living in the suite I share. After moving in she told me she can't take out the garbage or recycling. I don't know why she can't.

I don't mind doing extra once in a while but I think it's unfair if the usual expectation is for me to take out her trash. Someone suggested I ask for $10 or $20 off my rent as compensation.

It's unfortunate the trash can is very far from the house and we have to go down three flights of stairs to get to it. Apparently the city wanted it there because of zoning.

Part of the reason why it's important to figure this out is so I can make an agreement with the other roommate who is able to do the trash (e.g. splits days with him).

How to ask my roommate for a fair compensation?

  • 8
    How old is the landlord? Part of the reason I am asking is if someone is old and unable to take out the trash, then that is fair. But you making this into an economic transaction will not work out the way you expect it to. You all still have to live together and—essentially—asking payment to do something like that seems a bit extreme. Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 0:43
  • 1
    @JakeGould she certainly is older...
    – refbobby
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


This is complicated because the person is both a roommate (expectation of equal division of chores) and the landlady (unbalanced power relationship). Because she's a roommate, maintaining a good relationship is especially important because you interact all the time. Asking for $10 or $20 off the rent risks sounding petty for no significant gain for you; I trust this amount is a very small portion of your rent.

Instead, I would look for something that would normally be your responsibility that you can ask her to do. That way you're trading chores and nobody has to feel taken advantage of. There must be household chores that aren't physically taxing for her -- vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, etc.

I've been the weaker party in shared housing before (though never lived with the landlord directly), and I've had someone share (and pay rent for) a house I owned. I found that prioritizing the "roommate" relationship over the "landlord" relationship when dealing with household stuff was easier for the people on both sides.

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    I like this answer, but something to add - when asking for her to pick up some extra chores keep in mind that she may already be doing this! and you just haven't noticed yet. Because she has verbally asked you this favour, it means she acknowledges that you are doing something extra and it would be quite normal for her to take it upon herself to do something else without you even saying anything. Doesn't really change the answer as you should still ask, just be mindful of how you ask incase this turns out to be true.
    – Jesse
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 2:00

This is a good question of negotiation. I would suggest not asking for a fee upfront, such as the 10 to 20 dollars off your rent that you had in mind, but instead, when the time comes to renew your lease, or if you don't have a lease and the landlord wants to raise your rent, bring up the fact that you've been doing extra work around the shared home, namely taking out the trash, and state that it would be fair to keep the rent the same as before, without increases. If she insists on raising your rent, then start negotiating her down to an increase that could take into consideration that you and your roommate did extra work.

I would bet that your lease / rent will be favorable to you for as long as you wish to live there, because the landlord will have grown used to your helpful ways around the house -- and good roommates are hard to find.


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