Rhys Owen, Senior Property Advisor, delivers part one in this two-part article about things housemates should do to make living together simple, affordable and enjoyable...
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes.
People find themselves in a house share for a variety of different reasons. Some are in a student house or flat as they work their way through another academic year, some prefer the idea of renting and living with other people for the social aspect, some see it as an opportunity to save money as living in a house share can be far more cost effective than living alone.
You could find yourself in a house share with friends you’re already familiar with, or you could take the plunge and move into a property with people you’ve never met before.
Either way, living in a house share presents an opportunity to live a fun, social life and build new friendships or strengthen those that already existed.
However, it can also take some getting used to!
Living with people day after day, week after week, is very different to meeting up with them to catch up every now and then. There are different habits, lifestyles, and standards from one person to the next.
Therefore, it’s important that the house share has a blend of people and personalities that can get on as well as possible, and that means plenty of consideration for other people and - more often than not - some form of compromise.
If everyone puts in a little effort to consider other people, there’s a much better chance of every housemate feeling comfortable, content and at home - all while making memories and enjoying each other’s company.
So, we’ve put together this two-part piece that outlines a few tips we think you should consider so that things can remain as harmonious as possible between housemates in a house share.
Read the first three key tips below:
One thing that certainly has the potential to create a rift between housemates is the splitting of bills. If you’re lucky, your house share may already include some or all basic bills such as energy, water rates, council tax, broadband etc. but if it doesn’t, or if only some of the bills are included, all house mates will have to put a plan in place immediately to arrange the fair splitting of the bills.
This could mean one housemate taking control by collecting everyone’s share of the bills and ensuring they are settled, different house mates being designated responsibility of collecting and paying a certain bill, or all housemates collectively getting together or communicating regularly to each keep on top of the bills and paying a fair share.
Each set of housemates are different so certain arrangements will be better suited compared to others, so it really is a case of all sitting down and having a conversation to see how you want to proceed with organising bill payments and keeping on top of amounts owed - remember, most bills are always prone to rising at some point!
There are also many mobile apps and automatic bill payment solutions available that can keep everyone in the loop and ensure everyone is paying what they owe and on time. This can be particularly useful for students living in properties with many people sharing.
When there are 4, 5, 6 people all sharing one home it’s easy to see how keeping on top of fair bill payments can become tough! Especially if different housemates are regularly moving in and out every few months.
If each house mate knows who’s cleaning what and when it can help keep the peace. It’s important for everyone to feel as though they have a fair share, rather than one or two housemates feeling as though they are doing the vast majority of household chores while the rest don’t pull their weight.
Chores like taking the bins out, mowing the garden lawn, cleaning the bathroom, or hoovering the shared spaces can become irritating if it’s the same housemate having to take care of it over and over.
Putting a rota in place so that everyone takes their turn at different chores can keep things fair and peaceful. You can then all make additional agreements, such as each promising to clean down kitchen surfaces and utensils after you’ve used them.
If you can settle into a natural rotation that ensures all important tasks are carried out by everyone over a length of time it keeps the household clean and the housemates happy with their environment and living arrangement.
Communication is key for any partnership, and that most certainly goes for housemates. There is no excuse for not being able to effectively communicate with each other through one platform or another.
One great way to achieve this is through a WhatsApp group that all housemates can join - but it’s how you use it that counts!
As well as general camaraderie it can be used to keep each other up to date with bills or other house-related issues.
It’s a useful tool for a housemate to let others know about something that may affect them.
If someone breaks or borrows something, or if there’s a maintenance issue, all housemates can find out through the communication platform regardless of where they currently are. Or if one housemate couldn’t resist eating one of the yoghurts in the fridge, they can leave a message promising to buy one to replace it on their way home from work.
Something like a WhatsApp group doesn’t have to completely take over discussions, though - face to face communication is still incredibly important! It’s just a good additional tool to have to communicate important things with everyone in a moment’s notice and with a paper trail so things can be re-checked if needs be at a later date.
For another three tips on the key to living in harmony with housemates, be sure to check out part 2!
Here at CPS Homes in Cardiff we have a dedicated lettings team who can offer expert advice to tenants and help you find the perfect rental property. To discuss your property needs in more detail don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 02920 668585, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by popping in branch to speak to us.