Whether you choose to live with existing friends or take the plunge into a houseshare with people you didn't know before, there will be plenty of opportunities for limitless fun and building lifelong relationships. That said, living with people is very different from hanging out with them occasionally. People have different habits, quirks and standards that you'll need to consider. Getting a houseshare right can be challenging, so it's important you put in the required effort to make sure everyone is comfortable and feels at home. By taking the right approach, you and those you live with can enjoy a smooth and fruitful tenancy with lots of great memories.
Here are some tips on how to manage your houseshare effectively...
When you're a tenant, there are a lot of regular costs you need to think about, from actual rent payments to council tax and utility bills. One of the best ways to manage bills in a houseshare is to make sure the bill responsibilities are split. This means someone takes on the responsibility of collecting everyone’s share of the council tax, someone else look after the rent, another housemate sorts the internet and so on. This reduces the pressure on one individual and means everyone is accountable in their own way.
There are also a number of bill-splitting solutions which can automate the payment and splitting process. These are particularly handy for students and those living in large rental properties with six or more renters. When it comes to bills, make sure you pay on time. If you're not very good at this, you could set up a standing order to the relevant housemate so they don't have to keep chasing you.
Rotation is key
This is one of the most important aspects of living with other people. Your housemates are likely to get annoyed if you don't do your fair share of household tasks. Little things like taking the bins out, changing the tea towels and wiping down the kitchen surfaces can become irritating if you feel like you are the only one doing them. Hopefully, you can settle on a natural rotation where everyone does their bit. However, some housesharers find it easier to create a rota for cleaning and other important tasks.
One of the biggest sticking points in this area is likely to be washing up. It helps to agree a strategy here - do you use a dishwasher or do you wash everything up? If housemates leave washing up in the sink or in their rooms for days, this can breed resentment. Therefore, it's crucial to keep on top of washing up before it leads to disagreements.
Keep each other in the loop
In this day and age, we're more connected than ever before and this trend should extend to your houseshare. It goes without saying that you'll set up a WhatsApp group for the house - but it's how you use this group which is the important thing. As well as keeping up to date with bills and other house-related issues, using a group message to communicate can help you to let people know when you're doing things which could affect them.
On top of this, if you break something or borrow (steal) someone's bread, let them know as a heads up is always better than having to find out for yourself. Also think about the tone of your messages when speaking to your housemates. It’s often easier and more likely to be met with a positive response if you have to discuss something, if you speak in person. It’s well known that messages are far too easy to take the wrong way.
Respect each other’s privacy and space
The golden rule of housesharing is treat others and their property how you'd want to be treated yourself. Although hopefully you'll be spending lots of time with your housemates, there will be occasions when people want their own privacy and space which you'll need to respect.
This extends to not hogging the kitchen or living room for hours on end or playing loud music when you know people are getting up early for work the next morning. What's more, if you're sharing bathrooms, you'll need to respect everyone's routine and work out something that works for everyone.
Other things to consider are not going into other people's bedrooms or borrowing things without permission, as well as knocking on someone's door before entering. Of course, these are all basic rules to follow, but in the hustle and bustle of daily life some of them can be easily forgotten. Having mutual respect between housemates is the first step towards creating a friendly and relaxed living atmosphere.
Sharing is caring
As mentioned above, sharing possessions, food and drinks is a great way of living, providing everyone is aware and on board with it. One effective way of sharing fairly is to all chip in for house essentials such as toilet roll, squash, sugar, teabags, milk etc. This means you don't have one housemate who continually has to pay for things that people use communally.
It also breaks down the barriers between people being possessive over small, everyday items. By organising a regular, split shop which takes care of all these items, you can also reduce the chances of running out of household essentials when you need them most!
Choosing the right home
All of the above tips are hugely important to take into account once your tenancy begins, but a huge part of avoiding any problems is choosing the right home in the first place. If you're opting to live with friends, make sure your relationships are strong enough to take the occasional but additional strain of living together.
Or, if you're moving in with people you don't know, think carefully about whether your lifestyles are compatible and whether you'll be able to live together harmoniously after the initial honeymoon period. Having an interview-style meeting and viewing the home at least once are necessary steps to take. When meeting prospective housemates, ask lots of questions so you can find out what they're really like and how the house dynamic works. It's also important to think about what you really want from your houseshare so that you can make the right decision and people know what to expect when living with you.
Keep all of this advice in mind and there's no reason why living in a houseshare can't represent a more fun and affordable way of renting.