7 essential tips for a great house share

  1. Don’t assume your friends will make great housemates!

Living with friends can be a very positive experience but you may find it rather annoying when they’ve eaten your frozen pizza and finished the last of the milk and didn’t replace either! Some people have lived quite ‘pampered’ lifestyles at their parents house and don’t always realise that living with other people requires respect for and recognition of, other people’s belongings and food. Having an open and honest discussion before you look for a house together may prove to be the best meeting you have in your university years. You may find that some of your friends have never cleaned a dish in their lives and wouldn’t know where to find a washing machine, never mind know how to use it! This is probably a good time to set down some ‘ground rules’ and agree them with everyone you want to live with.

  1. Agree a rota for keeping the house in a ‘live-able’ condition

People have differing standards when it comes to cleaning up after themselves. Make sure everyone agrees is to a cleaning rota. It is important to agree how often each job needs to be done, (eg hovering each floor of the house, cleaning the cooker etc) and how often they need to be done and then share the jobs equally between housemates on a weekly basis.

  1. Sharing

Do you want to share food or not? Some housemates may want to take turns doing the cooking. Others will prefer to cook themselves, and just share communal items like milk, tea and cleaning products for the house. It may be useful to agree an amount to be put into a ‘kitty’ for each week/month. Another good idea is for each housemate to set up a ‘direct debit’ from their bank to be paid into a joint account for gas, water and electricity bills. Make sure that everyone’s names are included on the bills because otherwise only the named person will be liable for the costs!

Any cash left over can be used for a ‘house activity’ at the end of the academic year.

  1. Respect

If you want to study, don’t do it in the kitchen or in the living room! It may be better to go the library instead. Social spaces like kitchens and living room’s are for everyone to enjoy, not for you own selfish needs – especially studying. Be sure to check with your other housemates before you invite people around for a drink or to watch the footy. Respect the fact that your house is a space that you agreed to share together, and not always with your mates friends! It’s good to remember that everyone appreciates being asked for approval, even if it’s usually ok.

  1. Democracy rules?

There will be times when the majority of your housemates agree to something that you aren’t happy with. A shared house operates under democratic rules, so you may need to compromise to keep the peace. When you are unhappy about something you should bring it up in person and involve all your housemates in the discussion. Remember that a note sellotaped to someone’s door can easily be misinterpreted and cause even more problems!

  1. Privacy is important

There will be times when people will want time on their own, perhaps to study or just to enjoy ‘quiet time’ or simple solitude. Consider the possibility that some may prefer to keep some things private so don’t go wandering into someone’s room and reading their facebook page on their laptop. Your housemates’ room is their sanctuary. If the door is closed then knock and wait to be invited in.

  1. Have fun!

Rules are important, and studying is very important but so is having fun! Allocate times to relax, after all, your house is your home. Get things into perspective – it’s worth remembering that arguing over which tv programme to watch just isn’t worth it. Respect your housemates and you could make friends that will last a lifetime.