Article posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 11:27am

Dear Mary Pat,

My roommate and I are leaving for college next week. We’ve been up here all summer working and we live in a pretty modest little cottage. I’m really worried we are going to lose our security deposit. Between the drinks that were spilled on the floor, the screen that is somehow now missing and the general layer of filth about the place, I don’t think our landlord is going to give us our $400 back. I wouldn’t mind cleaning it up if it was my mess, however, it is all my roommate’s mess. I have kept everything really neat and clean in my room whereas my roommate hasn’t. I don’t want to make a big deal about it, but I really can’t afford to lose my portion of the security deposit and I don’t think it’s fair that I should. Any idea how I should talk to her about this?


The Neat One

Ephraim, WI

Dear The Neat One,

I think you need to be direct with your roommate and tell her what you just told me. I would think she would feel this is reasonable. If she refuses to clean, ask her if she wants to use her $200 for a cleaning lady instead. This will hopefully spurn her into action, or, if she doesn’t care about spending the money, your problem is solved and you will hopefully get your portion of the security deposit back. You can also offer to pitch in to help a little, however, if your roommate made the mess, she should really be the one to clean it up.

Good luck,

Mary Pat