So, you’ve decided to take your relationship to the next stage and move in together! Renting with your other half for the first time is a significant milestone. It is one of the most exciting things you can experience as a couple.
Think of all the romantic meals you can cook for each other. Movie marathons cuddled up on the couch. On-demand foot rubs and massages. Bliss!
Yet, along with all those cuddles you need plenty of communication and compromise to deal with challenges that may arise. Who takes the bins out? Who pays the bills? Who does the laundry? More importantly, what happens if one of you Netflix cheats?
To ensure cohabiting goes smoothly, you and your partner should establish co-living expectations early on. You both need to be on the same page.
To help you do this, we’ve set out some examples of ground rules, for want of a better phrase, that you should talk over. Ideally, you want to do this before you sign the lease.
Do Communicate Clearly
Most common housemate (yes, you and your significant other are now housemates) spats can easily be solved with clear communication and a little basic courtesy. Living with someone else 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 both adults, not mind-readers. Don't assume that your partner will just figure out what is bothering you; communicate your needs, preferences and expectations as soon as possible.
Do Set up a joint Bank Account
Setting up a joint bank account makes things a whole lot easier when it comes to paying bills and rent. Now, we’re not saying you have to get all your wages paid into this account. You can keep your own finances separately but do transfer money needed to pay rent, bills, the weekly grocery shop into this account. And maybe a little extra if you want to buy a nice lamp or throw for the living room!
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.
However, a handwritten love note is an exception to the above. Taking the time to write something nice on a piece of paper is very thoughtful. Also, if you have had a bit of a disagreement, it is a very easy way to break the ice and open up the lines of communication.
Do Give Space
It is kind and considerate to give your partner some space and time to be alone in the house. As much as you love each other, we all need some ‘me time’ every now and then. We know this is hard during Covid -19 lockdown but even going out for a long walk will give your other half (and yourself) some breathing space!
Don't Expect Perfection
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 partner a little slack now and then, especially when they are tired or having a bad day/week/month.
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 cleaning and cooking is key to keeping resentment at bay. Draw up a list of household chores and rank your interest in doing each one. You may hate vacuuming but your partner might enjoy it. Your partner might abhor cleaning the bathroom, but you might find it therapeutic. Once you have done this you can divide the main chores up fairly.
Top tip: investing in a dishwasher is an investment in your relationship. Having one will solve a lot of arguments.
Don't Forget to Lock Up
Make sure you close the windows and lock the doors when you leave the house. Imagine if you went out and didn't secure the house and you came home to find your valuables were stolen. How would you feel? How would your partner feel? 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 space. You both must show that you care about each other’s safety and security.
Do Get Renters Insurance
For added security and peace of mind that your precious possessions are protected you should consider taking out renters insurance with Allianz.
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 not much more than the price of two coffees a month.
For more information on Allianz Renters Insurance, have a read of our explainer article.
As you'll soon find out, living with your partner can be great fun but there will be disagreements no matter how well you all get along. Following these dos and don'ts, though, will hopefully mean you don’t end up breaking up before the ink has had time to dry on the lease!
Allianz p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria and policy conditions apply.