Moving in with people you may not know is a daunting prospect for anyone - living with people who come from different backgrounds, have different lifestyles and quirks, can take some getting used to. Even if you choose to house share with existing friends, there is a big difference between hanging out occasionally and actually living together. But living with housemates can be a lot of fun and can lead to lifelong friendships. As with all relationships, house sharing takes some work to make sure everyone feels comfortable. So, follow our tips and put in the required effort to house share harmoniously and start creating happy memories that will live with you forever.
Good Clean Fun
Cleanliness is unfortunately subjective. We all have a different idea of what ‘clean’ means, which is why cleaning can quickly become one of the most annoying aspects of living with other people. To avoid unnecessary arguments at the start of the tenancy set some basic ground rules - such as don’t leave too many personal items in communal areas, take the bins out when they are full, don’t leave the washing up overnight, and never leave body hairs in the shower. Hopefully, this will lead to everyone doing their bit to keep the house clean. However, if it doesn’t, create a cleaning rota, which can act as a great tool to ensure that the cleaning is divided equally. If you make sure communal areas are cleaned once a week, nothing should ever get too dirty, meaning it shouldn’t take too long to clean each time. If arguments are still surfacing around cleaning, it might be worth hiring a cleaner. This may seem like a large expense, but between all of you, for a cleaner to come in for a few hours a week, the price shouldn’t be too high. It also means you are much less likely to have any deductions from your deposit at the end of your tenancy, so you’re basically saving money!
Bills, Bills, Bills
When you’re a tenant there are a lot of regular shared costs, such as rent and utility bills, that you need to keep on top of. When you move in, agree with your housemates on how bills will be paid, who is responsible for them and how they will be split as this can become a common cause for arguments. There are a number of bill-related companies and apps that can split and automate payments for you, which are particularly handy for big groups of sharers. When it comes to bills, just make sure you pay on time, and be accountable, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Sharing is Caring
A good way to save money is to band together with your housemates on house essentials such as teabags, toilet roll, washing up liquid, squash, and milk. Each month all put in an agreed amount into a kitty to buy all these items. This means your fridge won’t be overflowing with each individuals milk that’s slowly going out of date, and it reduces the chances of running out of these items when you need them most – we’ve all been in the dreaded ‘no loo roll’ situation .
All I’m Asking, is for a Little Respect
Showing each other a little respect will go a heck of a long way to living in a happy house. The golden rule of house sharing is to treat others and their belongings how you want to be treated yourself.
Regardless of how well you get along with your housemates, there will be times when people want their own space, so read the situation and try not to impose yourself on anyone who seems like they may not want to be imposed upon. This extends to communal areas – be considerate of how much time you spend in the shower, and be aware of if you’re hogging the kitchen, or the TV. When you’re sharing facilities like this, make sure your routine fits in with everyone else’s – there’s nothing more annoying than being late for your lecture because you couldn’t get in the bathroom to brush your teeth. I’m sure you will very quickly find out your housemates bad habits, and whether they make you laugh or make you want to stick your head in the freezer, be aware of your bad habits too, and how they may affect your housemates – it’s really time you learnt to stop biting your toenails in front of the TV anyway.
Be our Guest
Unfortunately, not everyone is as warm and welcoming as Lumière and Mrs. Potts. If you’re inviting a friend’s round, notify your housemates in advance, especially if its going to be at unsociable hours, as not everyone will be as comfortable with having people over as you are. If you’re in the other side of the situation, when you come home after a long day, the last thing you may want is to encounter a load of random people you don’t know and hadn’t expected to be there. But don’t make a big deal out of it, and ask your housemate to next time just give you some forewarning so you can expertly come up with a credible excuse to be anti-social and hide in your room with a nice cup of tea and Netflix.
This also brings up the topic of partners. Most people will not be offended if you, or anyone in your house, has a partner come to stay form time-to-time (as long as you keep the noise down!). But, trouble can start to arise when a partner basically moves in, especially if they’re not contributing to the bills. If this is the case, speak to your housemates and see if you can work something out, even if it means spending a little more time at his/her place.
Communication is Key
It goes without saying that you will most probably set up a WhatsApp group with all your housemates – but its how you use this group which is the important thing. Try to keep it to house-related issues such as bills, having guests round, or anything really that could affect your housemates. This is not the place for passive aggressive messages – do not become a Karen! Everyone will know who those sorts of messages are directed at, and no one wants to feel ganged up on in their own home. It’s so easy to read the tone of a message wrong, so if you need to have a discussion with one of your housemates about a potential issue, it’s always best to do it face-to-face and you are much more likely to be met with a positive response.
If you follow these tips you should be well on your way to having a harmonious house share. Remember though if things do start to breakdown, just try to have some fun! Make sure everyone in the house is included, even if its as simple as a movie and pizza night. Making the effort to socialise from time to time will create a positive environment for everyone and make conversations a lot less frosty when it next comes time to discuss who keeps stealing your last slice of bread!