All names and numbers have been changed to preserve privacy


I am looking for a place to live. The end of the month is close. I viewed a room in a shared house, and after thinking about it, decided it was good. I emailed the landlord and asked if I could have it. He replied:

Welcome to the house. You can send the deposit and rent to [email protected].

The deposit is $400 and monthly rent is $800.

I'll try and finish moving my things upstairs by tomorrow before my flight. You should be able to start moving in this Friday if you want, at no extra charge.

Sincerely, Eric

I then realized that I did not 1) have Eric's phone number or 2) know his last name. I did not feel safe giving him over $1000 without knowing this information so I sent him another email asking. Eric did not reply, and knowing he was going to be away the next day, I thought I would go over to the house (the landlord lives in the same unit).

I knocked on the door about 7pm. Someone I hadn't met answered the door (call him Liam), and said Eric wasn't home. I introduced myself as the new roommate and asked if he had Eric's phone number. He said he didn't have Eric's but told me his last name and to look him on Facebook. I left, and shortly after got an email from Eric saying:

I don't know what you did but you made my current roommate and his girlfriend super uncomfortable. I'm at work right now and received messages in no uncertain terms that he does not want you to move in. I have to cancel our agreement. I will not be cashing your deposit and rent. Good luck on finding a place to live. Eric

I'm very upset. I don't know what happened. I'd like to emphasize the point that when Liam answered the door, we were all about business and had no conversation about personality or opinions. Moving is a lot of effort and I thought this was a done deal. I sent Eric another email asking for an explanation and he replied

I never said I was going to be home so I don't know why you showed up. I'll get the full story when I get home. Regardless I cannot have you move in. I would have my roommate move out immediately. Good luck.


What could I have possibly done for things to end up like this? What could I have done better? These people are in there 30s and seemed mature. If I really did do something offensive, I would like to know so I can stop it.

I am planning on sending Eric a message. Does the following look good?

Could you do me a favor and let me know how I rubbed Liam the wrong way? I got no sense anything was wrong and would like to know for the future.

  • Sorry to say, but phrasing requests are a bit troublesome here. Especially in combination with the message you already provided, it looks like you're looking for us to write your e-mail for you. A better question might be 'what to keep in mind when writing Eric an e-mail asking for an explanation since he already has shown to not been very willing to explain?'. But since that would change your question very significantly, you'll have to make that decision yourself :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 26, 2018 at 9:42
  • Also, do you have any specific doubts about the message you have posted here? Such concerns might give us some good insight in what you'd like to see remedied in your next e-mail to Eric :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 26, 2018 at 9:43
  • 3
    @Tinkeringbell the answers given to the question you linked to say asking for phrasing is ok to do
    – bluevapor
    Jan 26, 2018 at 9:48
  • 4
    Did Liam act surprised to hear that you were the new roomate? It's possible Eric hadn't told him he was looking for someone yet or checked it was okay with him to look for someone, and it wasn't you in particular, but rather that Liam was just completely unprepared for a new roomate in general.
    – user6818
    Jan 26, 2018 at 9:52
  • @bluevapor, I didn't say they were entirely not okay ;-) just that they're a bit troublesome, and the way the question is written now will likely invite a lot of e-mails that don't explain how ;) Specifically asking for the skills needed might provoke people to think a little further before answering, especially new users that don't know yet.. This one is also an interesting read...
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 26, 2018 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


Eric is a businessman. He receives money from rent and while there is a 'human element' at the heart of this story, he just wants to receive rent. If Liam is his existing tenant and pays his rent on time then Eric is going to have some loyalty to him. If Liam puts pressure on Eric not to let you move in, then the businessman is not going to gamble a sure income of rent against an unknown quantity (you).

From the information you give about your exchange with Liam, it sounds like he had no good reason to feel uncomfortable. But even though you wanted to make this place your home, at the time of your exchange with Liam you saw the visit as necessary to a business deal, whereas Liam sees that place as his home. So while you thought it was perfectly reasonable to call and ask for the landlord, and perhaps to ask for information on how to contact him (as perhaps you would ask a businessman's secretary), Liam clearly perceived it differently. He saw it as an unsolicited call to his private residence by someone asking for information on his landlord. Your worry over the urgency of the situation may have had an impact on your speech and conduct during this exchange and this may also have influenced how Liam felt about it.

What you did wasn't wrong, but Liam's perception of the event was different to yours and unfortunately it seems his view is more important to Eric.

If you had been more patient with Eric, waited for his email, then this may have gone differently. But don't beat yourself up over it. Perhaps next time just wait for the landlord to do things at their pace and their way.

  • 1
    Thanks for that perspective, that may be what happened. It may have helped if I told Liam I was only doing this on account of Eric going on vacation the next day. (as an aside, I personally feel really bad when I misread people, like in this instance I got no sense at all that Liam was uncomfortable)
    – user11955
    Jan 26, 2018 at 12:05
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    Another thing that doesn't add up is Eric said he received messages from Liam AND his girlfriend. I only saw Liam. I guess if Liam is crazy he could have got his girlfriend to do this, but he didn't seem crazy (and he did tell me how to find Eric).
    – user11955
    Jan 28, 2018 at 11:14