How to be a good housemate

More and more people are turning to flatsharing these days and it makes good sense – you meet more people and it’s significantly cheaper than living on your own. But, living with other people (especially if they are strangers) isn’t always easy – you each have your own habits, lifestyles etc and it can be easy for the small things to grind on you and cause friction in the house. Check out our top tips below for being a good housemate and increase the harmony in your household:

  • Be honest upfront about what type of housemate you are – whilst you want to give a good impression of yourself, if you’ve said you’re obsessed about cleanliness and then when you move in you then proceed to never clean/tidy anything, it’s only going to lead to arguments. Equally, if you say you are a quiet person who keeps to yourself and then proceeds to have big parties at the house every night, it’s going to annoy your housemates. Find people with common interests and similar habits to you!
  • Once you’ve moved in, have a housemates meeting where you all agree on how and when bills are to be paid, if food will be shared or if you will each buy your own, what the cleaning schedule will look like etc. It’s better to have a discussion at the start about these things so that you are all on the same page and people don’t start complaining about others not pulling their weight later on.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff! When you are living with people, there are going to things that you and they do to annoy each other but it’s how you handle these things that will determine house harmony! If there is something that is consistently bothering you then approach it with the housemate in question – but try to be lighthearted about it – chances are that they may not realise it’s something that bothers you!
  • Be respectful – in the same way that you would want people to be respectful, remember to be the same in return. If you know your housemate has had a really busy week at work, they may not want to have a lot of your friends over for drinks. Or if you don’t have work tomorrow but your housemate does, try to keep the noise level down.
  • Apologise if you need to – living with people is intense and it’s impossible to get along with someone all the time. If you do something wrong or that was inconsiderate, apologise for it! Maybe offer to cook your housemate dinner to apologise or do something considerate like extra cleaning/tidying or if you know they’re running out of something add it to your grocery list when you go shopping. A small gesture can go a long way!
  • Remember it’s a temporary arrangement – ultimately all good things must come to an end – even if you get on really well with your housemates and could imagine living with them forever, people’s circumstances change and there will come a time when you or they decide it’s time to move on. Try to keep an open and honest dialogue as much as you can about your plans and encourage them to do the same so that hopefully you won’t be blind-sided. When the living arrangement does come to an end, try not to take it personally. Again, having a house meeting in this situation is a good idea to discuss next steps – is the lease ending? Will someone else be moving in? How will the final bills be handled and the cleaning? Make a list of the key things to discuss and sending an email to confirm what has been discussed is a good idea so there are no nasty surprises later.