Living in a houseshare can be a fantastic experience. You’ll live with your fair share of freaks, geeks and wonderful people, each of whom will introduce you to invaluable new life experiences.
Yet, happy house-shares aren’t created by throwing a bunch of like-minded people together. Harmonious share house living is all about communication, trust and tolerance, and these points will surely lead to that.
If you’re all signed members of the houseshare, no one housemate should lord it over the others. Everyone’s equally responsible for paying their share of the rent and looking after the place. Communal areas are available for all, and as such must be taken care of by all housemates.
2. Rent payment
Let’s be real – if you’ve signed an agreement and moved in the houseshare, you know exactly when and how much you’re supposed to pay. This applies to all the members of a houseshare, so make this one of the first topics to communicate with your housemates. If one of you doesn’t pay on time, it will have an effect on everyone, and that’s definitely not going to contribute to harmony in the houseshare.
People can have wildly different expectations about what is clean and what’s not, and everyone has a different mess tolerance; make sure you discuss with your flatmates what yours are. Frankly, no-one should have to clean up after other someone else. Worse still, it breeds resentment (not to mention odours).
Sure, you can keep your room the way you want it, but if it’s the ideal condition for pest and rodent infestations, then you need to reconsider your cleanliness. If all else fails, pool in with your housemates and request a cleaning service from your property manager or landlord and have everything taken care of!
4. Food & cooking arrangements
It’s best to discuss early on how you want to manage food. Don’t make any assumptions because you may unwittingly step on someone’s toes if you use their butter without asking.
As nerdy as it sounds, it’s best to establish rules about who uses what fridge and cupboard space.
That said, communal meals can bring great joy to a household. If this is something you’d like to try, you’ll need to arrange a cooking and shopping roster.
5. Visitors and parties
Whether it’s romantic attachments, mates or family members, you need to talk about when and how often people can stay over. A new boyfriend or girlfriend can dramatically change the power dynamics in a house – so just be sure they don’t overstay their welcome.
When it comes to parties, big or small, try to make sure your housemates are on board. Talk to them before and after the event just in case they need to get something off their chest.
6. Build some house traditions
The very best share houses do fun things as a group. Suggest one night a week where one of you cooks for everyone, and rotate who’s on when; or if you’re not good at cooking, plan bonding activities – start a veggie patch, a crafternoon or have a regular games night.
At the end of the day, you’re in a shared space, so you’ll have to compromise here and there. You’re not going to get your own way all the time, and in the course of sharing you might encounter people who are unpleasant, selfish or clueless.
You’re also pretty much guaranteed make some lifelong friends and enjoy a lot of laughs along the way.