Whether you’re an only child used to getting your own way or you’re arriving at university with a childhood of numerous siblings behind you, it can be very difficult learning to live with housemates for the first time. However, it’s not impossible if you follow our handy list of tips.
Choose your housemates carefully
Who you live with will have a huge impact on your experience at university so choose wisely. There are more tips on how to choose the right housemates in the first section of this guide.
Split the bills equally
You can stop so many pointless arguments by keeping it simple with the bills. Regardless of whether someone has had a partner to stay for a week or been away on holiday, just allocate the same amount per month to everyone so that there’s nothing to argue over.
Make the decisions together
So many dispute arise simply because people feel like they have been left out. When it comes to big decisions (especially those that have a financial impact), such as which energy supplier to use, where to get the broadband from, whether to get a cleaner, whether it’s ok for someone’s friend to come and stay etc, if the decision is made as a group then there can be no scapegoating.
Don’t leave notes
Passive aggressive notes left around the house are just plain irritating. If you’re annoyed about something then talk about it face to face instead or you might get stuck into a battle of to and fro on post-its.
The thing about living with people is that the more you like each other, the more you’re willing to forgive. Don’t spend every night in your room glued to Netflix (or studying) but sit and have a glass of wine with your housemates, make them dinner or watch a film together. If you’re in a relationship don’t always have your partner around – you might worship the ground that they walk on but not everyone will feel the same.
Give people space
Being respectful of the people around you and giving them room to live will make you a great housemate. Don’t leave your possessions in communal spaces, contribute to cleaning and don’t insist on having a conversation with someone at 7am when you can see they just want to sit quietly and drink their coffee.
Have some house rules
You don’t need a rigid set of rules that you punish people for not sticking to, but establishing the ground rules before you live with others gives you more chance of avoiding misunderstandings from the start. Overnight guests, cleaning, food sharing, bills, going into each other’s rooms etc are all potential flashpoints where clarification can be useful.
Don’t be too precious about your possessions in a shared house and be a little forgiving if someone pinches some milk for tea or a couple of slices of bread. If there’s something you really don’t want people to use or consume then keep it in your room.
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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