Regardless of whether you know your flatmates or not, when you put a group of people under the same roof you’re undoubtedly going to find things start to annoy you. Creating a happy share house doesn’t just happen it takes good communication, trust and tolerance. Here are some proven tips on how to achieve it.
Before you move in
Before you move in with someone, it’s a good idea to sit down and have an honest talk about your routines and lifestyles. If the potential flat mate is a morning person but you’re more a night owl, then perhaps it isn’t going to work. Or you may find that your potential flat mate loves to throw spontaneous parties and have loads of friends around all the time, but you prefer your home to be a sanctuary for quiet time, then again perhaps this isn’t going to be the ideal place for you.
Treat this process as an interview and try and find someone who has something in common with you. Of course if you’re moving in with friends you already know a lot about them but talking about their routines is still important as everyone has their quirks.
Signing the leaseMake sure all tenants sign the lease. If everyone’s signature is on the lease it means you have equal rights to the property and therefore equal liability. You’ll find your flat mates will be more aware of treating the property with respect, the rent will be paid on time and the property will be looked after if they are jointly liable.
Paying the rent
Figuring out how to split the rent can be challenging, but when living with roommates it is an important process to go through before your sign the lease. Here are 2 solutions to make this process as fair as possible and to help reduce any arguments. Make sure you work this out before you move in.
Paying the bills
One of the main points of conflict when sharing a house with roommates is rationing the utility bills and internet bills, because really, no one wants a slice. It is recommended to assign the responsibility to one of the co-tenants as soon as you move in. This doesn’t mean they pay the entire bill, but rather are responsible for paying the bill on time.
Food and cooking
Discuss how you flat mates want to manage the food and cooking. Do you want to pool your funds and buy food that everyone shares, or do you want to buy your own food and have dedicated shelves in the fridge and pantry cupboard to keep your food. If this is the case (which is the normal scenario), if you eat your flat mates last yoghurt make sure you tell them and replace it.
In addition, it may be good idea to discuss a cooking roster so you all aren’t trying to cook a stir fry at the same time!
On-going communication and respect
Communication is key especially when you are living together – it is important to discuss any issues or perceived issues straight away. Any unresolved or unstated problems can simmer and eventually become volatile.
Respecting each other and your differences is really important and treat your flat mates you’d like to be treated.
Visitors, parties and communal areas
A lot of people love a party and having guests to stay over, but nobody likes to feel constantly outnumbered in their own home. Make sure you set some ground rules such as a maximum number of nights guests can stay over, or the guest sleeps in their hosts bedroom. It is also a good idea to discuss and agree whether you want your place to become a regular party place or whether you want to limit this to once a quarter or even once a year.
When it comes to communal areas make sure you are respectful of the communal space. Clean up after yourself, don’t leave your items lying around and create a bathroom roster. And if you or your friend accidently breaks your housemate’s favourite ornament, make sure you tell them, apologise and replace it immediately.
Before bringing a furry or slippery pet into the house, make sure you have discussed this with your flat mates. Some people have allergies to certain animals or simply just don’t like them, so give them the option before bringing your little friend into the home.
Also keep in mind if the pet is yours, it is your responsibility to feed and look after the animal and most importantly clean up after it.
Create some house traditions
The best share houses have a sense of community and belonging, in other words they have fun together. This could be as easy as setting a regular night each week aside as a ‘family meal night’ when you rotate the cooking and grocery shopping. Everyone should put in to the kitty and make an effort to be home on that night. Other suggestions include, movie and popcorn night at home, local pub trivia night, cocktail tasting night, Sunday brunch, themed dinners, or perhaps roll your sleeves up and create a veggie garden in some pots or in the garden if you have one.