Living with Others

Sharing a house can have its ups and downs.  It can be a lot of fun and a great way to form lasting friendships, but for some it can turn into a nightmare as people fall out over bills, noisy parties or simply whose turn it is to buy the milk.  Many of these problems can be avoided or dealt with before they become major issues.

Here are some tips on how to get on with your housemates:

Choose your Housemates Wisely

Think carefully before you agree to move in with people. Can you live with a smoker, someone who’s obsessively tidy, or musicians who have regular band practices in the evening?  Be honest about your own lifestyle and needs when talking to prospective flatmates.

Agree your Share of Bills

Agree up front how bills will be paid and split between everyone in the house, as this is a common cause of arguments.  It shouldn’t be one person’s responsibility to sort all the bills out and then have to chase everyone else for their contributions.

Respect People’s Privacy

Allow other people their privacy and don’t go into your flatmates’ rooms when they’re not there. Always knock first if the door is shut.  People vary in how much social contact they enjoy, so try to get a feel for this and don’t force conversation on someone who needs time alone.

Set Kitchen Rules

When sharing a kitchen, it can make sense to share food and other supplies. But unless it’s been agreed, don’t assume it’s okay to help yourself to your flatmates’ coffee or biscuits – and if you do, replace them.  If someone wants to keep their food separate for whatever reason, respect their wishes.


When you have guests, let your flatmates know in advance and warn your guest of any house rules.  Don’t allow someone to sleep on your floor for months on end, as this may annoy your flatmates, especially if your guest isn’t making any contribution to the household expenses.

Be Considerate

Be considerate towards your flatmates and treat them as you’d like to be treated. Don’t spend hours in the bathroom when you know other people need to get ready in the morning, and if you come in late at night, try not to slam the door.

Do your Share of Housework

People have widely differing ideas of cleanliness. It’s best to share with people who have similar standards to you, but if this isn’t possible, try to compromise if you can.  A cleaning rota is often a good way to keep things fair.

Good Communication

If a flatmate’s annoying habits are getting on your nerves, you have two choices: accept that everyone’s different and learn to live with it, or raise the issue.  It’s better to communicate face-to-face in a friendly manner than to leave angry notes or take revenge in some other way.