Increasing numbers of people, and not just students and couples, are choosing to share the cost of renting, for good reason – house-sharing lowers your rent per person, increases the number of potential properties available to you, spreads running costs, and can increase security. However, it’s worth considering a few pointers before embarking upon a journey with friend (or even a stranger) especially if their lifestyle and living standards are different to yours.
Ground rules: Agree minimum standards at the outset re cleaning, washing up, common parts, ventilation, use of power and water, bath times, quiet times, window cleaning, gardening etc. A rota can be useful, and sharing the cost of a weekly cleaner could be a viable option.
Bills: Secure early agreement over payment of utility bills. It’s also worth creating a “house-pot” with regular contributions from everyone to cover everyday things like loo-roll, condiments, ketchup, butter, milk, jam etc to avoid “possessiveness” over small things.
Security: Have your own a lockable area, and don’t leave valuable items in common areas unattended. You never know if your flatmate has light-fingered friends and any accusations must be avoided for the sake not only of your possessions, but also the enjoyment of your tenancy.
Respect: A little consideration goes a long way. Respect privacy, by knocking on any closed door before entering, not going into others’ rooms when unoccupied, and asking before bringing visitors home. It’s also a common courtesy to mention if you are going away or expect to arrive home late at night. Be considerate if bringing home someone with whom you have a romantic relationship – or at least be discreet in all areas other than your own private space.
Choice: Finally – choose your housemate/s carefully and don’t be afraid to say no to people whose lifestyles are significantly opposed to yours. This especially applies to smokers, people who are in some way obsessive, people with questionable personal hygiene issues, habitually “smelly” cooks or those with inconvenient working hours.
Be up front about your own preferences at the outset and, with a little care, you’ll find that sharing can be a hugely cost-effective and enjoyable way to rent, as it is for countless others.