Top tips for stress-free shared accommodation
1. Keep the property tidy
Cleanliness is subjective and we all have different ideas of what clean actually means so try to compromise. You should set a few ground rules for communal areas and outline what you particularly dislike to set the tone for a minimum standard or cleanliness. Try using our cleaning rota to ensure everyone does their fair share of the housework.
2. Get the bills and utilities in order
This is a common cause of arguments so agree with your housemates on how bills will be paid and split between everyone. Set up bank transfers to cover the monthly outgoings and keep a record of what everyone’s agreed when it comes to making payments. Alternatively, there are apps that allow all involved to access and track expenses from their phone.
3. Keep your room secure
Keep your belongings in your room and utilise storage so that your personal items do not spill into communal areas. Security can also be an issue in a house share with your housemate's friends (you may not know) coming in and out. Therefore, it’s worth having lockable storage in your room for high-value items.
Have an established method of communication to discuss specific property matters such as a group chat on your phone. However, issues are best raised face-to-face so they can be resolved quickly without any misunderstanding. If you haven’t yet developed a social relationship with your housemates, being polite will establish a comfortable atmosphere for everyone.
5. Respect your housemate's privacy
Being respectful goes a long way towards preventing conflicts. Never go into a housemate's room when they’re not there and always knock if the door is shut.
Keep the noise to a reasonable level if you've invited friends back or be as quiet as you can if you're coming home late. It's good to let your housemates know if you plan to have any visitors over and be respectful, particularly if they have work the next morning. If you're a light sleeper, you could benefit from videos and audio designed for sleeping which will mask other sounds in the property.
7. Share essentials
If kitchen storage and fridge space is limited, it’s a good idea to band together for kitchen basics like pots and pans, condiments, spices and dairy products to save space and everyone over-buying.
8. 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 clash on anything like smoking, tidiness or conflicting work schedules. Be honest about your lifestyle when talking to prospective housemates, it will be a much more enjoyable experience living with people you get on with.
9. Talk to your landlord or letting agent
Inform your landlord or letting agent if a housemate is being a nuisance or has broken any terms of the tenancy agreement. They may contact the tenant in question with a warning or even evict them if the problems are severe. Remember that the rules will be slightly different depending on whether you are on a joint or separate tenancy.
When living in shared accommodation, the type of tenancy you have will affect your responsibilities as a tenant and what happens if someone on the tenancy wants to leave.
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