Living out of home brings with it a wonderful sense of freedom and self-sufficiency. However, that’s not to say it’s all fun and games! Living with house mates can bring some challenges too. Who buys the loo roll and what happens if someone eats my food?
Living with new people in a shared occupancy isn’t just about being paranoid about your pasta, it’s about getting along with people from different backgrounds who might have different ways of doing things to you.
To ensure your house share goes smoothly, you and your house mates need to create a good relationship early on. Even if you’re moving in with your best mate, you still need to set down some ground rules from the get go!
If you are a good house mate, this will stand you in good stead when problems do arise. But what makes a good house mate? We've put together a list of tips to make living with others as enjoyable and fun as possible.
Do Communicate Clearly
Most common house share disagreements can easily be solved with clear communication and a little basic courtesy. Living in a shared house or apartment is always a matter of give-and-take. Conflict will arise but it is better to nip any niggles or annoyances in the bud straight away and not let them fester. It is important to keep lines of communication open so everyone knows where they stand. You are all adults, not mind-readers. Don't assume that your house mates will just figure out what is bothering you; communicate your needs, preferences and expectations as soon as possible.
Don't Leave Notes
Passive-aggressive Post-it Notes are never a good idea. We know we said communication is very important, but this is not the way to go about it. Be better than this.
Do Pay Up On Time
Set up a standing order to pay your rent each month and make sure you always pay your share of the bills on time. With that, if you can, make sure everyone's name is on the utility bills. That way you all share accountability for paying them.
Don't Eat Other People's Food
Do not eat your house mates' food or drink their booze (or milk) unless you have explicit permission to do so. Nobody wants to wake up and discover there is no milk for their coffee or cereal or that their extra delicious leftovers have been scoffed. If you do eat your housemate's pizza or drink their beer, good housemate protocol says that you should replace the items within 24 hours. Ideally, before they notice they are gone! And never, ever leave cash for the food you have eaten. It is rude. You should be the one to go to the shop.
Do Pitch In
For a harmonious communal living experience, you need to pull your weight and pitch in with household chores and decisions. Doing your fair share of the communal cleaning is key to being a good house mate. Creating a rota to keep track of who is accountable for which chores may seem childish but it is a very good idea.
It goes without saying that you should always clean up after yourself and do your dishes within a reasonable amount of time.
Top tip: having a dishwasher will solve a lot of arguments.
Don't Borrow Things
Unless you have been given permission beforehand, do not touch your house mates' stuff. You need to respect their possessions, even if they leave them lying around the house. Borrowing items without asking causes a lot of problems. Don't just assume they won't mind if you take their phone charger or wear their coat; they probably will. Always ask for permission before borrowing or using anything that doesn't belong to you.
Do Keep The Noise Down
Wear headphones. For everyone's sake, please wear headphones when you are listening to music, doing Zoom calls with your mates or binging on the latest Crime Documentary on Netflix. Yes, we know you have excellent taste in music, but your house mates may not want to hear it when they are studying or on a work call. Wearing headphones means that you can watch TV even when your house mates are trying to sleep and you won't disturb them. Another argument avoided.
Top Tip: If you share the TV room, pick a series you both enjoy and watch it together. This avoids arguing over who gets the remote in the evenings!
Don't Expect Perfection
Your house mates' habits will be different from yours and the most important thing is to respect the people with whom you rent accommodation. Nobody is perfect, least of all you. Let little things slide. You don't need to pick fault with everything that you don't like. Be willing to ask for, as well as give, a second (and third) chance. Cut your house mates a little slack now and then, especially when they are hungover or having a bad day/week/month.
Do Respect Privacy
Being a good house mate means respecting your house mates' privacy and space. Always knock and wait for an answer before going into your house mate’s room and never enter their room when they are not in the house. They should afford you the same respect too.
Speaking of space, it is a kind and considerate thing to allow your house mates some space and time to be alone in the house. Try not to be in the house all the time.
Don't Forget to Lock Up
Don't forget to close the windows and lock the doors when you leave the house. Imagine if your house mate went out and didn't secure the house and you came home to find your laptop and camera were stolen. How would you feel about them?
Remember, your possessions are not covered by your landlord’s insurance. Securing the house is not just about protecting your stuff, it's about protecting your housemates' things too. It is important that everyone feels that they are living with people who care about their safety and security.
Do Get Renters Insurance
Allianz Renters Insurance starts from €10 a month and covers your contents from fire, storm, flood, smoke damage, damage caused by faulty heaters and cooking equipment. Renters insurance also covers your TV and audio equipment from accidental damage up to €1,300 and covers your home office equipment for up to €4,000. That's a lot of cover for the price of three coffees a month.
With Allianz Renters Insurance, you can also cover theft outside of the home by adding ‘Specified or Unspecified All Risks Cover’ to your policy for an additional premium. This covers everyday possessions you bring outside the home such as mobile phones, wallets, jewellery, headphones, cameras. To find out more about covering your belongings outside of the home .
If you take out Renters insurance you should encourage your housemates to do so too! Even though you live together their valuables are not covered under your policy – whoever you’re in the house share with will need to take out their own Renters Insurance policy to protect their possessions.
As you'll soon find out, living with house mates can be great fun but there will be disagreements no matter how well you all get along. Following these Dos and Don'ts will help avoid any unnecessary arguments and create a happy home!
Allianz p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria and policy conditions apply.
Information correct as of date of publishing. This blog will not be updated or edited so the information may become outdated.