How to be the Perfect Housemate: Top Tips for House sharing

AFS Team·9 July 2018·8 min read
How to be the Perfect Housemate: Top Tips for House sharing
By Elizabeth Whittingham

If you’re moving into a shared student house this coming September and you’re unsure about how the whole venture is going to play out, then try not to worry.

Similar to living with anyone, basic rules and codes of respect, understanding, politeness and kindness all go a long way to ensure that your house sharing experience is stress and hassle free, meaning that you can relax and enjoy your year at university.

So, what are the key traits to remember when house sharing?

Firstly, ensure that you respect your flatmates’ belongings. Your number one aim to maintain a happy household is to ultimately ensure that you do not annoy anybody, and rest assured that taking someone’s food is a definite way to do just that.

So, buy your own food, avoid stealing fresh produce from the fridge and if you would like to use someone’s food, for example, a splash of someone’s milk in your tea, then make sure that you ask them before doing so.

Whilst pinching each other flatmates’ food is definitely a big rule breaker, the main cause of household student disputes is nearly always the issues surrounding cleaning.

According to ,to keep a happy household, it is important to establish everyone’s definition of ‘clean’ at the start of the tenancy, this way, you can agree on a common ground to avoid any arguments.

You could always make a cleaning rota yet these are rarely followed if you make it by yourself, consult with your house to find out what chores they do not mind doing, this way they are more likely to do be done if your fellow students find them easy.

When it comes to maintaining a good house share, it’s really important to respect your housemates’ privacy.

For example, if a door to someone’s bedroom is shut then knock before entering and do not be too offended if you can hear them yet they do not open the door, sometimes people need time to themselves.

If something does arise within the household that does annoy you, according to ,it’s important that you pick your battles and only really raise an issue if it truly has upset you.

There’s no point raising an issue and possibly upsetting the whole household, just to wake up the next morning and not be that fussed anymore

Although stealing food is never acceptable, share when you can and try to involve your housemates in activities, cooking and eating meals together, you could even host cooking competitions and dinner parties as something to do together.

The ultimate faux pas, do not steal alcohol.

Being a pretty precious, sacred and rather expensive commodity to students, the stealing of alcohol is usually a step too far and arguments will definitely ensue.

When it comes to manners, leaving your rubbish and mess around is a rather rude trait and is unfair on your fellow housemates.

Clean up after yourself and encourage others to do so to in order to keep the house relatively tidy and clean.

Linking back to tidying again, passive aggressive notes, although great for getting your opinion across at the time, are pretty frustrating and are actually pretty useless; normally annoying the people they are aimed at more than actually solving the issue. It’s important, if something is really bothering you, to discuss it openly with your house in order to solve the issue and move on.

Be open and kind. It’s always a great idea to prop your door open to encourage your flatmates to come in and have a chat with you, this way you’ll become much more relaxed around them pretty quick.

Try not to simply sit in your room all day, set aside a time slot to complete your university work and then when you are not working, head down to the lounge and kitchen to have a catch up with your housemates. Ask how their day went and put on a film over dinner to do some bonding.

Pass the time it takes to do boring chores by doing them with your friends, for example, if you’re dreading the washing up then put some music on and do it together as a flat to make the whole process a little better.

It’s always a great idea to show an avid interest in your housemates’courses to understand their university experience and to have some pretty interesting topics to discuss over dinner, you can also sit and work together as a group to make studying pass a little quicker.

In terms of picking your housemates, it’s always nice to pick students from a mixture of courses, this way someone will always be in the house.

For example, if you were an arts’ student living with doctors then you would get pretty lonely as the doctors would most likely work completely different hours to you.

If you’re inviting guests to stay or friends from home then make sure that you tell your flat mates before you do so, if you live in a relatively small house then personal space is important and you do not want to invite too many people around to the house.

Likewise with parties, make sure that you respect other people’s working hours. For example, try not to blast music at 6am or be super loud during exam time, understand that people need to sleep, if you respect their timetables and schedules then they should hopefully respect yours.

Make the effort with your housemates, if you’re making a cup of tea, offer to make anyone else one too, small things like this really help to solidify friendships and what can do that more than a cup of tea?

Don’t smoke indoors! Even if, on some very rare occasion, the landlord permits smokers in the house, be mindful that your housemates will probably not appreciate it as some may hate the smell and others may even have asthma and breathing difficulties from it.

Be respectful and smoke outside away from the front door to stop any smoke from going inside.

Ensure that you make a conscience effort to get involved with the house security, when Accommodation for Students surveyed students on their house rules; security was top of the list.

If you’re heading out the house at any time, make sure to lock the door behind you, it is by no means funny if your housemate’s lap top is stolen because you left the door wide open.

One of the most important things to remember when house sharing is that you might not click with everyone- and that is okay.

As long as you are civil, polite and kind to your housemates then no issues should ensue, according to Accommodation for Students, is you just don’t connect with someone, then ‘be friendly without expecting to be best friends’ and it should be just fine.

In addition to staying civil and calm with your flatmates, in order to avoid any tensions over the purchase of basics such as dishwasher tablets and toilet roll, make a money box at the start of the year and encourage your flat to drop a few coins in occasionally to ensure that you have enough for the essentials, this way everyone is chipping in and hopefully tensions will be avoided.

When it comes to the heating, try to find a happy medium, you don’t want anyone sweltering because one person won’t put a jumper on!

Finally, take your sweet time to choose who you actually want to live with! Keep in mind that sometimes living with friends can sour a friendship, whilst other times it can make that bond stronger, so it’s important to keep in mind that you are completely entitled to a little bit of thinking time before taking the house plunge.

Take your time and remember that there is always plenty of accommodation over on so make the right decision and try not to worry too much.