Student housing horror stories

Uncovering the realities of student living

Students reveal their nightmarish housing experiences.

When the first drops of water hit my bed, I was getting ready to leave for work. The sound of my housemate’s showering upstairs wasn’t the thrum of white noise it usually was. I squinted at my ceiling, and watched a drop of water fall onto my duvet.

“Oh my god,” I said, running upstairs and yelling at her to turn the water off. The bathroom was above my bedroom, and a concerning dip in the floor explained what had happened.

“There’s a leak,” said the plumber, hours later while I was at work.

By the time I’d come home, there was a hole ripped in my ceiling. It took a week for the plumbers to patch it up and for new drywall and paint to be applied.

Four days later, I awoke in a good mood, but the feeling was fleeting. Again, dripping from the freshly patched square of drywall in my ceiling, were several droplets of water. The hole was ripped open, re-examined, and re-patched.

It hasn’t happened again, but I now wake up every morning feeling my sheets frantically, thinking to myself, “Did I piss the bed or is someone in the shower again?” 

—   Sophie DeFreitas, ArtSci ’22

In second year, I lived in a tiny house with my two roommates. One day, I came home from class and saw my roommate’s bag of nuts all over the place, along with a trail leading to the window.

It turns out a squirrel had bitten through the screen in our kitchen, gone through our snacks, and climbed all the way to the top of our shelves. My shelf was at the bottom and was filled with fruit roll ups, so I guess the squirrel didn’t want those. Then it grabbed the bag of nuts and dragged it out the window.

We got the screen replaced but continued to have squirrels like the one in the photo below trying to break back in. 

—   Cristina Foschia, ArtSci’22

I met Kim* in first year. We quickly became best friends and decided to be housemates. In September of my second year, I started dating Matt*. Because our relationship began during the pandemic, we spent a lot of time at each other’s houses and with my housemates.

I struggled with depression and anxiety, and let lots of red flags in our relationship slide. I came to my senses and broke up with Matt early last summer, but we remained amicable until last September.

He told me I shouldn't trust Kim because she sent him inappropriate snaps. When I went to confront her that night, she avoided me for a week until she finally confessed to me over FaceTime.

Kim had been having sex with Matt from two weeks into my relationship with him, all the way until she headed back to her hometown in April. My foundations of trust instantly shattered.

As someone who uses humour to cope, I jokingly said, “Well at least I wasn’t home.”

Her face went pale as she confessed to fooling around in our living room or kitchen while I would take a shower or study in the basement. She later confessed to even doing stuff with him in my room.

I’ve never sought out therapy faster in my entire life.  

—   Vonara Pathirana, ArtSci ’23

Last year, my housemate and I returned to Kingston after winter break and found a live mouse in our green bin. This was the start of a never-ending battle between us and the mice that infested our home.

We released the mouse far away from the house, got traps, and attempted to set them up. Once we figured it out, we added peanut butter to the traps and went to bed—we’d hear the jarring snap of the traps before even falling asleep.

After we caught eight mice, the traps stopped going off, but the peanut butter continued to disappear. Our hypothesis is there are some smart mice still living in our house who avoid setting off the traps.

We’ve decided if they remain unseen and unheard, we can live in harmony.

—   Sarah Brodmann, ArtSci ’23

My first year living off-campus, I had some choice housemates. I made the mistake of living with people I didn’t know, including a 27-year-old military man.

He had some concerning opinions about women. He openly said he was owed sex if he bought a woman a $9 drink. Despite his misogynistic comments, what stands out the most to me are his cooking habits.

His weekly ritual after a “long week” of defending our great nation from the threat of women having agency over their bodies was cooking a steak at midnight. The apartment had no interior windows, so there was zero ventilation. The smell would fester for days. On top of that, the dishes would rot in the sink until the next week.

—   Rachel, ArtSci ’22

*Names changed for anonymity.

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