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This topic is directly related to this: How to sooth relationship between roommate and my sister (who lives with us)?

Tensions between my sister/dependent and our roommate have continued to get worse, and have finally escalated to a point in which I feel we have to move. The problem that I am having now is if I should tell him that I am looking for a place even before a place is secured. He can be very impulsive, and I worry that if he knows I am looking he will take it upon himself to initiate our 30 days notice, or worse, before I am ready. It is also important to note that the roommate/landlord and I were close friends before moving in together, and I feel some modicum of respect is due to him.

So my question for you all is: How do I tell my current roommate/landord that I am looking for another place to live?

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    How is the termination clause worded in your rental agreement? You need to start there to see how you're entitled to proceed. – Snow Jan 9 '18 at 14:16
  • @Snow There is no official rental agreement. We signed an informal roommate agreement that had stuff like quiet hours and conflict aversion tactics (which never worked). It only says that I have to give him a 30 days notice. – danninta Jan 9 '18 at 14:21
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(I'm assuming you've already decided to tell him in advance of the formal notice / finding a new place.)

Given that you are moving out to relieve tensions, I would recommend you frame it as mutually beneficial. Make sure to let him know you're telling him early because of your friendship, to keep the tone as positive as possible. An acknowledgement / expression of regret for the situation may soften the blow as well, just be cautious that you don't come off as blaming him for the move out.

Something like:

Hi Joe, I know our living situation has been tense for a while. I'm really sorry that we've had these troubles. I wanted to tell you that sister and I are starting to look for a new place. We haven't found one yet, and will give you the 30 days notice when we do, but I just wanted to let you know our plans. I still value our friendship, and I think moving out will be best for everyone's stress levels.

Pros:

  • You've communicated respect and positive feelings to him
  • He has extra notice to plan for next steps
  • Don't need to hide your apartment hunting
  • It may be easier to deal with the living situation given that the end is in sight
  • He may even be relieved that you initiated the conversation, and willing to help you look / move

Cons:

  • He could be upset and tell you the lease ends in 30 days, even though you don't have a place lined up yet

That's a pretty big con, but one that you will have to weigh based on your personal needs.

  • This was the tactic that I ended up using, sort of. He took it much better than I anticipated and did not seem upset at all once we were done. Thank you! – danninta Jan 11 '18 at 13:19
  • @danninta That's great!! I'm glad it worked out so well for you, good luck apartment-hunting :) – Em C Jan 11 '18 at 14:12
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Unfortunately,

Tensions [that] have finally escalated to a point in which I feel we have to move.

could make him

initiate our 30 days notice, or worse, before I am ready

regardless, no matter what you say. Well, no matter WHETHER you say anything.

You stated that

He can be very impulsive,

so there's no reason to expect him waiting for you to say anything. Tensions themselves might have already triggered him, or could very soon.

Hurry up looking for an accomodation is my best suggestion.

As per your question: wait. And when you have secured the new location, give the notice and respect it until the last day.

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I once vacated an apartment due to roommate trouble and we had previously been really close friends, so that was tough. In my case I told my roommate that I thought it was a good idea for me to move out and she simply said she agreed it was for the best. We had been on very poor terms, but since resolution was in everyone's best interest it worked out ok to tell her ahead of time.

HOWEVER - my roommate was still someone I could trust to be reasonable with organizing our separation. I have also had a few very unreasonable people in my life. People who are reactionary, self-important and retaliatory cannot be trusted to stay level headed. I wouldn't tell my current employer that I was looking for a new job outside the company. You give your notice once you have the offer. I think the same thing applies here. Lock down a new place to live first.

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