HOUSE SHARE IN LONDON AND THE UK
Flatsharing in London (and in southern England in general) is an absolutely normal practice due to London’s (and Southern England’s) sky-rocketing rents. So if you find yourself in the situation of looking for flatmates, there are several things you’ll need to consider in order to make your flatsharing a successful experience. Before joining a flatshare, discuss rules, jobs and attitudes, and then decide if you are compatible housemates.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FLATMATES
Choosing the right people to live with is important. It’s always best to opt for roommates whose lifestyle is very close to yours. If you are in your 40s, perhaps sharing the house with students who are going to fill the house with friends until dawn is not for you. If you are a party-thrower, make sure you mix with other party lovers. If you care for tidiness and cleanliness, you should pick people with similar standards. This may not always prove easy to figure out as someone may appear tidy but rapidly turn the kitchen or the living room into a pig-sty, whilst another may turn out to be a cleanliness obsessive forever hovering round your feet and addicted to bleach, consequently causing you a nervous breakdown. So make sure you choose wisely.
It is important to carefully assess the communal spaces before joining a flatshare: carefully consider the number of bathrooms available, the conditions of the rooms you are going to share, their size, the size of your room, and the communal storing spaces.
Bathroom, kitchen and living room are for everybody, and in order to share spaces peacefully you will need to learn to compromise but also to respect the others. Setting clear rules from the start will help to reduce the likelihood of conflict.
KITCHEN RULES FOR FLATSHARING
As for all the common spaces, the simple rule “leave things how you would expect to find them” applies. But it is not always that simple. You may need the kitchen to be fit for human habitation, while your flatmates may want to go to the pub instead of doing their washing-up. Ideally, you may want to agree for everybody to wash their own dishes/pots and pans right after use or within the same day, so make certain this rule is clear from the beginning, in order to avoid encrusted pots and pans forever sitting in the sink.
Some may be possessive about their food, so it would be nice if everyone had their own dedicated food storage space. It is wise to share the cost of basics like bread, milk, tea coffee, sugar, washing powder, etc., but buy other things for yourself. Remember to respect your flatmates’ food and to replace as soon as possible anything you eat which was bought by someone else. In case of emergency, you may take possession of other people’s food, but make sure to ask before.
BATHROOM RULES FOR FLATSHARING
For bathroom time, in order to avoid queues or conflict, advance planning is the key. Keep your belongings and valuable cosmetics and toiletries in your bedroom as much as possible. This will help keep the place tidy and ensure that your things are safe. Setting the rule for everybody to quickly wipe the bathtub/sink after use may be a compromise which will often work. Keep some detergent and a sponge somewhere handy in the bathroom. Even if you are in a rush, quickly tidying-up will only take a couple of minutes.
LIVING ROOM RULES FOR FLATSHARING
In some flatshares in London, the living room is regularly used as a sleeping place, preventing people from using it. This may become a source of tension in the long run, so do consider this before joining a flatshare.
Take turns using the living room to entertain friends, and always remember to ask/tell before inviting guests over. Make rules about friends and partners visiting. Your flatmate might get on with your friends, but he may not want them camping-out in your sitting room for weeks on end. And you may not appreciate your flatmate’s boyfriend standing around the living room almost naked for most of the day. Your flatmates don’t want to hear or see your sex life either, regardless if it’s in the living room or your bedroom! Partners and friends can be a battleground! Last but not least, don’t throw a party lasting late into the night when you know your flatmate needs to wake up early for work. Remember that mutual respect and courtesy is essential for peaceful flatsharing.
Try to be considerate with your TV viewing and beware of possible arguments over television programmes. If you are a TV addict, make sure you purchase your own little personal TV set for your room to avoid stressing out your flatmates.
Also, consider that loads of programmes can be watched online. This can save you £180 on a TV license!
CLEANING RULES FOR FLATSHARING
Setting rules about cleaning is not easy. Over two thirds of people who are in a flatshare tend to fall out with a housemate about it. This is therefore the first issue which needs to be discussed among flatmates. It could be helpful to set a day of the week for general cleaning and to take turns doing housework. However, a bit of flexibility is in order as work commitments may prevent your flatmate from rigorously sticking to his or her schedule. If an issue arises, it’s always useful to talk without venting your anger. Above all, please do avoid leaving notes around the house as the tone might be misinterpreted. It’s always best to sit down and talk it through. If a compromise cannot be agreed to, do yourselves a favour and pay for a cleaner to do the job on a regular basis and split the costs.
SPLITTING THE SHARED COSTS
There will be costs you will need to share: washing up liquid, loo roll, kitchen roll, cleaning items, and bin bags…..and of course utilities such as gas, Internet and telephone bills. You could make use of jars to save money, which can be topped-up with cash weekly in order to pay for food and house items. However, sorting out how to share the bills can be daunting.
SIGNING UP WITH Glide WILL HELP YOU TO BUDGET
Image Copyright: /glide.co.uk
Glide is an energy and telecoms supplier created especially for people in shared houses, to make things easier and to help you budget your utilities and services. Each tenant is billed separately for their share, and it’s a fixed monthly rate, which helps you to budget. Glide’s offers are very competitive, too.
WHAT IF I DON’T GET ALONG WITH MY FLATMATES?
In a flatshare, you may find great friends and you may get along. However, most of the time flatsharing is just a practical arrangement for sharing costs. Even if you don’t see eye to eye, it pays to be civil and to handle situations with tact. Try to be as respectful as possible and make yourself easy to live with. If you get along with everyone, you are much less likely to have issues with them. Being friendly to people usually yields the best results but, if it doesn’t work, you should always attempt to air grievances in a polite and civil way.
Tired of your flatmates? Look for another flatshare on: spareroom.com