How To Politely Decline A Roommate Request

Living with someone is a huge decision. The wrong roommate can take your daily life and turn it upside down. You may be great friends with someone, but living with them could destroy that relationship.

How To Politely Decline A Roommate Request

If your schedules and habits are quite different, it can be like mixing oil and water. You don’t have to say yes when your gut tells you no to a roommate request.

When it comes to politely declining a roommate request, disclose as much as you feel comfortable. You don’t owe anyone a lengthy explanation and you don’t have to apologize for your decision. They should respect your boundaries and not try to force it on you.

While they may be disappointed, it shouldn’t change the relationship you have with them. If it does, you may have dodged a bullet all the way around!

There are several ways you can politely decline. It depends on the reason you don’t wish to live with them. Here are the most common reasons and some sample phrases you can use.

Too Soon

When you meet someone new, you may hit it off and hang out often. If they invite you to live with them, tell them it is too soon. Your relationship hasn’t developed enough for you to decide if it is a good idea or not.

You can tell them no for right now but leave the door open for it to be a possibility later on.

What to Say

I am flattered by your invite, but I feel it is too soon. Let’s give our relationship some more time to grow and see where it leads.


The location of the place may be inconvenient for you. The size of it may not fit your needs. Where will you put all of your stuff? You may not feel safe in that neighborhood due to crime or other factors. There may be thin ways or just one bathroom. Perhaps there are lots of stairs and the elevator is always packed full.

What to Say

“The location of your place makes my commute longer/difficult. I don’t want to lose more of my free time to compensate for that.”

“I don’t feel comfortable living in that part of town. They seem to have higher crime rates than others.”

“I need lots of room for my personal belongings, and unfortunately, the place doesn’t have enough room for them.”

“The walls at your place seem to be too thin, I worry we would invade each other’s privacy.”

“I can’t live in a place with only one bathroom! It gives me anxiety because I frequently need to be in there. I don’t want to wait while someone else is in there.”


The cost of living with someone may be out of your budget. Don’t stress yourself out by going beyond your means. Don’t spend all you have on living expenses or you will be in a bind if an emergency comes up. It also makes it difficult to buy anything extra or to have fun because you lack the funds.

What to Say

“Thank you but I have crunched the numbers. I need to find a place to live that doesn’t cost so much so it fits my budget.”

I appreciate the offer but I can’t afford to live there. I don’t want to live beyond my means and I can’t commit to paying that much each month.”

“It is a great place and if I could afford it I would agree but it isn’t feasible right now.”

Hours and Schedule

When your hours and schedule differ from someone else, it is too hard to live together. You don’t want to tiptoe around all day because they work at night for example. If you go to bed early and they stay up late that is hard to balance when you live in the same space. If you don’t like company and they often host parties, it is a disaster waiting to explode!

What to Say

“Our hours and schedule are too different for us to reasonably live together without creating conflicts.”

“I don’t think it is a good idea due to our differences in schedule and social personalities.”


Different habits won’t sit well when you live with someone. Are you a clean freak and they are a slob? Do you listen to music loud and they don’t? Perhaps you like to eat in the living room and thrive on takeout. They may have strict rules about no food outside of the kitchen. When habits don’t mesh living together can be a nightmare for all involved!

Other habits such as drinking or smoking can play a role in your decision not to live with someone. If you don’t smoke and they do, or the other way around, that is can too much contrast. The same with drinking habits.

What to Say

“I enjoy your company but we have different habits when it comes to cleaning and spending our time. I like hanging out with you but living together isn’t something I recommend.”

“Our differences make us good friends and balance us out! But they aren’t going to be good for us if we lived in the same place so I must decline.”

“I respect your decision to smoke but for my health, I don’t want to live in that environment.”

“I am looking for a roommate where they also smoke. Then I won’t feel like I have to change my routine.”

“I don’t drink or keep alcohol in my home so I prefer to live where that is also the situation.”


When someone has pets, that can be a deal-breaker for you about living with them. How do you tell them you aren’t fond of their dog or cat? Perhaps the place stinks due to their pets. You may have pets and you don’t think they would all get along or it would just be too much in one space.

What to Say

“I have allergies that act up if I am around pets too much. I know your pets are a big part of your life, but I won’t be able to reside with them.”

“I am not much of a pet person and prefer to live in a pet-free home.”

“Since we both have pets, I don’t want to live together. My pets don’t do well with others as they see them as a threat. I have my hands full with them and don’t think it is a good option to live where there are additional pets around.”

You like to be Alone

If you don’t want to have a roommate at all, speak up about it. You may enjoy your alone time after a long day at work. You may love the ability to eat when you want, watch what you want on TV, not deal with people after hours at work or do your laundry in the middle of the night. If you are in school you may spend all your free time studying and you don’t want distractions. Being able to live alone and pay your bills can be the freedom you aren’t ready to give up.

What to Say

“I am enjoying living on my own and taking care of my bills without help. I want to continue that lifestyle for now.”

“I work with people all day and like to have quiet time alone. I like my space to do what I want when I want. I prefer not to have a roommate.”

You have Another Plan in Place

You may be looking for a roommate, and that person is aware of it. They extend the invite but you don’t want to live with them. If that is the case, tell them you have some other plans in place at the moment you are evaluating. This may be true or you may have your options open but they don’t need to know any other details.

What to Say

“I appreciate the offer but a have a few other plans I am considering at this point.”

“I have another offer I think I will take but thank you for asking me.”

“I am not ready to make a decision yet; I am taking my time to find the best fit.”

Lease Agreement

The lease agreement may be a deal-breaker for you when it comes to a roommate offer. You may not be ready to agree to a 1- or 2-year lease. Your plans may be up in the air or you plan to move on soon. For example, if you are in college now you need to have flexibility when it comes to job offers. It can be difficult to get out of a lease agreement!

The terms and conditions of the lease agreement may be upsetting to you. There may be clauses in there about no pets or no overnight guests. There may be requirements you aren’t willing to agree to. This should be a definite no when such an offer to live together is extended.

What to Say

I don’t feel this lease is a good fit for me. It doesn’t give me the flexibility I need.

“I don’t agree with the terms in the lease offer and don’t have a desire to agree to them.”