House-shares are handy for saving money on rent and bills and providing an opportunity to meet new people in a new city and, with young people increasingly giving up on owning their own home, they are getting more and more popular. But if handled incorrectly, can often also be a minefield of washing up rotas, cleaning disputes and decisions about whether to split your grocery bill. Your housemates possess the ability to become your new best friend, whilst simultaneously being able to drivw you up the wall with their living habits, so it’s always helpful to be aware of your actions and respect others’ boundaries.
Here’s some of the most common problems you’ll encounter when sharing a house, and how to overcome them like a pro:
You often don’t really know a person until you live with them, and the best way to really understand how you both prefer to live is simply to talk it through. It’s important that you know when rent is due, how much bills will equate to and who is responsible for paying these out, and to communicate any housekeeping issues to each other as soon as possible. It can be useful to keep all the receipts from bill payments so it’s clear to all of the tenants who owes what each month. All of these things are made possible through communication. If you don’t have that, you’ll struggle from the very start.
Cleaning the house can often become one of the biggest grievances when sharing, so it’s best to set up a system, if you can, that works for everyone. Unfortunately there’s no way around cleaning the toilet, emptying the rubbish or washing the mountain of dishes that have been waiting in the sink, but if you agree to take it in turns between you to do each, it should break down all the chores that nobody wants to take on pretty fairly. Sometimes all you need is a gentle reminder that it’s a housemate’s turn to scrub the loo to keep things running smoothly.
Driving your way to happiness
If you’ve moved into a new house in a new city with people you’ve never met before, it can be hard to find common ground or get to know each other properly. Tap into the knowledge of your new housemates to learn about the new area and bond over things they can help you with – such as passing your driving test, for example.
Ask peers to share their experiences, and to pass along any tips for taking the theory test and practical. Driving can be something you share out too – with housemates taking it in turns to head to the shops, designating a driver for a night out or even sharing lifts to work if possible. Use something like this to unite, rather than divide, the house.
Sharing household supplies
There will always be something that you’ll need to buy regularly for the house, like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, or if you share the milk - so it’s handy to set up a house kitty to cover these supplies and take it in turn to purchase them. Sharing might have its downsides but it’s a far more harmonious thing to do than make each person buy their own milk, say, any labelling it – that’s the path to division and confrontation, don’t take it.
Share resources and experiences, communicate well and have a robust and fair rota for cleaning and you’ll be able to work through all of the challenges of sharing a house.