Women in Bedroom

Nine top tips for living in a house share

Shared accommodation is no longer something only students endure for a few years. You may be sharing a house or flat with other professionals, friends or a partner. Follow these tips to keep your house share amicable.

Living in a property with people of different lifestyles can take some getting used to, so follow our advice to keep the experience as stress-free as possible. 

1. Keep the property tidy

Cleanliness is subjective and we all have different ideas of what ‘clean’ means. It’s best to share with housemates that have similar standards to you. If this isn’t possible, try to compromise. You should set a few ground rules in the house or flat at the start of your tenancy agreement, such as keeping communal areas (kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc.) clean and tidy.

Everyone must agree to clear up after themselves, particularly in the kitchen, and dirty pots should never be left to fester. Try using our cleaning rota to ensure everyone does their fair share of the housework, or agree to split the cost of a weekly or fortnightly cleaner.

2. Get your house bills and utilities in order

When you move in, agree with your housemates on how bills will be paid and split between everyone, as this is a common cause of arguments. Set up bank transfers to cover the monthly outgoings that are your responsibility, and keep a record of what’s been agreed with everyone when it comes to making payments.

Alternatively, download an app that allows you all to access and track expenses by logging in from your phone.

3. Keep your room secure

Keep your belongings in your room and be clever with storage, so that your personal items don’t spill into the communal spaces.

Security can be an issue in a house share, with people coming in and out of your home that you don’t know, so it’s worth having some lockable storage in your room for high-value items.

Be vigilant and, as a house, agree to always lock your doors and windows to prevent break-ins. If you’ve got a house alarm, use it!

4. Share the essentials

It’s a good idea to band together with your housemates and put money towards kitchen basics such as pots and pans, condiments, spices, and dairy products to save you all over-buying.

Each month, you can agree on what needs to be replaced and all put money in a pot to make sure that those essentials are restored going forward.

'With sky-high rents, and fewer first-time-buyers entering the market, a large proportion of people now live in shared accommodation for longer than they would have done 15 years ago.

'Whether you are living with best friends or complete strangers, there are plenty of hurdles to face in a house-share so we have outlined the following tips which should help the process to run smoothly.'

Sally Lawson

Sally Lawson

ARLA Propertymark Past-President

5. Respect your housemates

Always respect your housemate’s privacy; don’t go into their rooms when they’re not there and always knock first if the door is shut. Keep the noise down if you are inviting friends back or coming in late at night and try and give some warning if you have any visitors.

Being respectful in shared accommodation goes a long way towards preventing conflicts.

6. Communicate with your housemates

house share

Have an established method of communication to discuss specific house or flat matters, for example, a Facebook or WhatsApp group.

If you have an issue to raise, however, the best thing to do would be to communicate face-to-face, so that it can get resolved quickly.

If you haven’t yet developed a social relationship with your housemates, a simple “please and thank you” and polite conversation can establish a comfortable atmosphere for everyone.

7. Choose your housemates carefully

If you have the luxury of getting to choose your housemates, think carefully before you agree to move in with someone and consider whether you could potentially clash on anything like smoking, obsessive tidiness or having conflicting work schedules.

Be honest about your lifestyle and needs when talking to prospective housemates or flatmates as it will be a much more enjoyable experience living with people you get on with.

8. Read the tenancy agreement

It’s always worth reading back through your tenancy agreement before and after you move into a house share. There will likely be clauses that explain what rights you have to your own room and the communal areas, as well as rules regarding being a nuisance to other tenants and the joint responsibilities of everyone in the shared accommodation.

9. Talk to your landlord or letting agent

If a tenant is being a nuisance or has broken any terms of their tenancy agreement, then you can inform your landlord or letting agent. They may contact the tenant in question with a warning or even evict them if the problems are too severe.

Remember that the rules will be slightly different depending on whether you are on a joint tenancy, or separate tenancies.

Use an ARLA Propertymark Protected agent to find a property or house share that is suitable for you.

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