The Ultimate Shared-Housing Survival Guide: Must Read Before You Move Out

Posted on May 26, 2012 in Youth Affairs

By Vanessa Picker:

It’s a natural progression. When young adults and university students decide it is time to move out of home, they often move in with friends, or even strangers. Whilst this probably seems more enticing than merely living with parents, it is important to understand the difficulties that can arise. Even a strong relationship can suffer due to small grievances over issues such as dirty dishes or finances.

This Survival Guide outlines the top factors that should be kept in mind when moving in with a friend or stranger. Through being aware of potential issues that may arise, from the outset, it is possible to minimise the chances of ruining a friendship.

1. Choose Carefully- Take the Time to Find the Right Housemates

When choosing housemates, or choosing a house to move into, always remember…you will have to live with the people in the house. Thus, take some time to consider whether your personalities are compatible enough to make it a bearable experience. Rather than merely choosing a house because a room is available, at the right time and place, consider your options carefully.

2. Establish Ground Rules and Communicate!

When living in a share house, friction often arises when members of the household behave in a manner that is unacceptable to others. This can easily be avoided by establishing clear ground rules from the start, in relation to factors such as music and visitors. If members of the household are aware of the expectations, the chances of having an enjoyable experience are undoubtedly much higher.

Once the ground rules have been established, it is incredibly important to continue communicating. Surviving in a shared household requires continuous communication and also some sociability. Take the time to get to know your housemates- it will make it a much more enjoyable experience.

3. Don’t Assume that Everybody Is As Clean As You

Not surprisingly, cleaning is a common source of tension in shared households. There are certain jobs that nobody wants to undertake. The most effective way to deal with this difficulty is to establish a clear roster, which outlines chores for each person. Most significantly, there should be an understanding as to what happens when people fail to uphold their responsibilities. At the same time, it is important to understand that everybody has different standards in terms of hygiene and it can be a mistake to assume that everybody will always be as clean as you.

4. Think of Having a Budget for Household Bills

Whilst the rent is usually paid by direct debit or directly to the landlord, it is important to consider other household bills. To ensure that funds are always available when bills arrive, it can be helpful to agree on a weekly or monthly budget that each housemate contributes to. Another useful tip in relation to finances is to obtain a receipt for each payment, including the correct date and amount paid. Without a receipt, it is possible for landlords to lose track of payments.

So, whether you are moving in with complete strangers or friends, make sure that you keep in mind the factors outlined above. If you are aware of these issues from the outset, it will undoubtedly make the transition to shared housing, much more bearable and enjoyable.

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