Sharing a house may sound like a great idea but when things aren’t run properly, conflicts can arise. Here’s how to make sure your house share is successful.
Sharing a house can be a great way to save on costs, however, a successful house share starts with choosing the right housemates and setting up good ground rules. Ground rules are vital to ensure that every housemate is on the same page and knows what is expected of them, in order to live harmoniously.
Choosing the right housemates
There are a few considerations to take into account, to ensure that you choose the right people for your house share:
- Simply choosing friends to share your house with you may not be the best idea. Friendships can get ruined from living together if ground rules aren’t established at the start, and it’s important to remember that not every friend will make a good housemate. If you decide to have a friend as a housemate, make sure you choose someone that you’ve spent a lot of time with or that you’ve travelled with, so that you are aware of their living habits.
- Put out an advertisement specifying exactly what kind of housemate you’re looking for. If you’d prefer someone quieter who won’t be having parties in your home, state this on your advert.
- Make sure to check your future housemate’s references. It is important to hear from someone who has lived with your potential housemate before, to find out whether they will match your living style. It is also vital to check that a potential housemate currently has a job and will be able to pay rent in full and on time every month. Think twice about taking on someone who is between jobs.
- Ask the right questions. When someone comes to view the house, ask them all the questions that you need to know to help you make a decision. Then explain how the household duties are divided up and your general ‘house rules’ and schedules, to see if the potential housemate find these agreeable and would fit in.
The lease agreement
It is advisable for you and your housemates to consider signing individual lease agreements, if your landlord will allow it. This ensures that everyone is responsible for their own portion of the rent separately, and helps reduce the risk of other housemates having to carry a defaulting housemate. Alternatively, housemates can sign a joint lease and perhaps appoint a head tenant whole will gather all rent money into a joint account to pay the landlord. A separate housemate agreement can be done to deal with things like who is responsible for bills and expenses, special rules about what is shared or not shared and how the security deposit will be handled.
Cleaning is one of the most contentious aspects to a house share. It can often be the source of tension and disagreements. It’s best to establish a cleaning roster at the beginning, to ensure that tasks are divided up equally and that everyone does their fair share. Perhaps put the roster on the fridge and each housemate can mark off what they have done. The best way to avoid any conflict is to clean up after yourself as you go along.
Unless you plan to share food, give each housemate a shelf that is for their food only, and perhaps keep one shelf that is for communal use. Things like sauces can be put on the communal shelf if everyone agrees to make sure these are replaced as they’re finished. If you plan on sharing food, work out a way to divide the purchasing of food between each housemate, and who will cook on which days.
Managing rent and bills
The electricity and water accounts will need to be in one of the housemate’s names, as well as the telephone line and internet connection. Housemates can either appoint one person to be in charge of paying the bills, or each person can take on some bills and ensure that they are paid every month. Either way, it’s a good idea to set up an account where housemates can all contribute their share to the monthly bills for the house. Remember to keep all receipts as proof, should a dispute arise.
Respect and awareness
Perhaps the most important aspect to making a house share harmonious is to respect each other. Respect each other’s boundaries, personal space and schedules. Asking before helping yourself to anything that isn’t yours, not taking too long in the shower and keeping noise levels down on weeknights are a few ways to make sure that you help maintain a harmonious environment for all.
Remember that your priorities may be different to your housemates and there needs to be a certain amount of give and take between each housemate. However, these tips will go a long way to making your house share successful.