Living with people is not easy – it’s as simple as that. There will be moments when you feel like these people are the best friends you will ever have and moments when you hate them completely. While problems can arise at any time, there are some pretty common flash points.
It’s a good idea to try and choose housemates who are on your wavelength when it comes to something like noise. Some people are light sleepers, need total silence to study and don’t appreciate loud music so they will be very unforgiving of noise as a result. For others, they love to have the radio up loud and sing full volume so if you do that too it’s not going to be a problem. Noise flashpoints are normally: music, sex, staying up late chatting, having people over when others are trying to study/sleep.
Money is always a difficult topic, even among friends, but if you’re sharing a house with people then you’ve really got no option but to deal with this one. Household bills that are left unpaid attract fees so make it the responsibility of the person dealing with the bill to pay it on time or they pay the fee. Make sure everyone is allocated a bill so it isn’t down to one person to manage everything. If you’re really organised then have a bills schedule so everyone knows what is due when. Finally, avoid a house phone – working out who made what calls and how to split the pizza delivery orders is just a nightmare.
Personality clashes are pretty common among housemates but can make living together really unpleasant if you can’t sort them out. Remember that sometimes it’s just easier to let things go and resolving arguments is best done with a quiet conversation, rather than a screaming row. You can avoid some of the most common arguments by not stealing each other’s food, keeping the noise down and generally being considerate of each other.
Cleaning rotas normally gather dust in student houses and if one person isn’t doing their share this can lead to real resentments. If you can afford a cleaner this is often an easy way out. Otherwise, use peer pressure to make sure that everyone is pulling their weight.
Other people’s partners
You know how it goes, your housemate’s boyfriend or girlfriend shows up for a day and they’re still there six months later, watching your TV, eating the food and taking up too much space. Avoid arguments about partners by having a general rule that no one stays longer than 2-3 nights – that’s fine for weekends but nothing more. You could get into trouble with the landlord if there’s someone living there who isn’t on the tenancy.
Not paying rent
Your tenancy agreement will most likely make you responsible not just for your share of the rent but also for all your other housemates too. This is common as it gives your landlord another option if one housemate is no longer able to pay the rent. However, it can be very irritating if one housemate doesn’t pay as the landlord may charge late fees and this can be a real source of anger for those who do pay on time. Again, make it clear at the start that whoever triggers a late fee pays it and, as far as you can do, try to ensure the people you live with are solvent – or that they’ve got a guarantor.
Disclaimer: This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our HMO category.
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