I live in a shared house and one of the roommates has the lease to the place. With is permission, I put a lock on my bedroom door. He then insisted I give him a key. I had hid a key for him to use, but he clumsy told everyone where it was hidden during a roommate meeting.

How do I clearly tell him that he needs to keep the hiding place a secret but still be polite? My concern is other roommates may enter my room without permission. One time I mentioned in passing the heat wasn't working in my room so another roommate let himself in to look at the heater in my room. I didn't feel he had my explicit permission.

I'm going to be sealing the key in an envelope so I want it to be in a place where I can access to make sure that the envelope hasn't been open. I told the primary roommate I wanted to keep it in an area I could also access in case I lock myself out when he's not home.

I did get the primary roommates permission to put the lock on, but after doing it he's going on about how it's a problem if I don't trust people.

2 Answers 2


I'm going to preface my answer with a gentle warning. It simply may not work. Living with people encroaches on ones personal space and privacy. The more people you live with, the less personal space and privacy you get. That being said, you should be able to carve out some space for yourself, and that is how I would approach it.

This is a request for Personal Space and Privacy. Go into the conversation with Primary Roommate with that in mind. You have your own room. You pay your share for it. You would like to make it your space where you can make it your bubble, which is important to some people (myself included.) It has nothing to do with trust (even if some trust issues are involved omit that for this discussion, it's a red herring and can only be used to disarm your request.) When personal space is invaded it feels violating. Explain it as a request from that perspective.

It will benefit the conversation on both sides if you understand that different people have different needs in this regard. Your roommates are probably not flagrantly disregarding your boundaries; they probably don't see them the way you do. Obviously, Primary Roommate doesn't understand this need. It will be your job in the conversation to bridge that understanding between you and Primary Roommate.

One possible way to engage in this conversation would be as follows:

Hey {Primary Roommates Name}, I've been thinking about our previous conversation about my room key and I'd like to clear some things up. I can see why you feel like it is a lack of trust for me to do this, but I want you to know I don't intend it that way. For me it is about a sense of Privacy and Personal Space, And the only way I know how to do that is with clearly defined boundaries. I feel uncomfortable just knowing that others can enter my room without permission. I don't know any other way to establish these kinds of well defined boundaries. If you have another suggestion I am willing to at least consider it. But moving forward it is important to me that the location to the spare key not be shared knowledge. If everyone knows where the key is then it is not a boundary any more.


Firstly, this isn't an entirely IPS solution but allows a path to one. I expect if your housemate doesn't have enough respect to let you have a private key they probably wont have the respect to not share it with others. As such I would recommend an alternate solution.

Install a burglar alarm in your room. Your roommate cannot reasonably argue this would prevent him from entering in a genuine emergency situation but would make it blatantly obvious he did so. They also have far less an argument to want the password for the alarm, as in an emergency it wouldn't matter if it went off. If they were just snooping it would be very awkward.

You also are then in a far more defensible situation with regards to follow up conversations. You are trusting them to enter in an emergency but also making it obvious and known they did so. I would suggest installing it without asking and then simply deal with a follow up conversation if they come, focusing on being worried about security but still wanting to give them emergency access.


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