In a previous article, we discussed what house sharing is. We also looked at its advantages and disadvantages. The main purpose here is to give students who are interested in house sharing or are about to move into a shared house a few house sharing tips for getting along with your roommates, be it your friend or a total stranger.
After the first year, most students in the university will opt for house sharing in order to feel comfortable for their studies. As stated in the previous article, there are many advantages of sharing a house but it comes with a lot of inconveniences as well. That is why students who are about to move into a shared house must understand a few things right from the beginning in order to make the most of their time in the house.
Roommates need to respect the privacy of each other
The first thing that guarantees a successful house share is a respect for other housemates in terms of property and privacy. You must always think about what you do from the perspective of your housemates and not only from your perspective. Are they bothered about loud music? Will they like it when you use their properties without their permission? In order to avoid conflict, you must ask before you use something not belonging to you in a shared house. And in case a mate’s property gets damaged in your hands, you must tell them promptly and not wait till they find out themselves.
Have a kitty fund to pay for shared household expenses
There will be common expenses in a shared house. You will have to pay for the utilities, rent and if you agree on some common food items. The best thing to do is to have a kitty fund from which such common household expenses are made. You must all agree on how much each person pays into such a fund. If you all agree to cook and eat together, then you must agree on how much each person contributes a week towards that.
Write down some common house rules
One mistake housemates make is to assume that everyone knows what the rules should be and therefore must obey them. That surely leads to conflicts. The best thing is to take time to write down the common displayed at a common place for reference. Once the rules are clear, you can guarantee that everyone will obey, and if someone breaks a rule it will be easier to bring them in line.
Doing shared household work
This is another major potential cause of conflict in a shared house. To avoid problems resulting from common household chores such as cleaning and washing, there should be a roster for that purpose. The work in the house should be shared equally, and everyone must get to do all types of cleaning work in the house as much as possible. Some types of work should not be reserved for some people only. If it is possible, there should be a common time for doing all house cleaning work so that you all work as a team.
House sharing and dealing with visitors and parties
People are bound to have visitors in a shared house. There will be friends, boy/girlfriends and family members at one point or the other. You must agree on how those visitors are managed in the house: what they can do and what they cannot do. You must agree on where visitors are received and how they are catered for. For example, if they eat part of the common food, how will that be replaced? Each person must recognise the privacy of the other when there are visitors. A host must be responsible for how a visitor stays in the house. As much as possible, if things go wrong, it should be addressed only after the visitor is gone. A visitor should not overstay his/her welcome. When your visitor damages a housemate’s property, make sure you replace it promptly.
When it comes to parties, all housemates should be brought on board. Discuss this with them beforehand, and talk to them after it is over.
There are bound to be conflicts when two or more people share common space. Minor conflicts can be avoided or managed by focusing on issues and not on personalities. But there are certain conflicts that do not get resolved between the two parties. In such a case, you must look for mediation. Mediation is possible when two parties agree on who should mediate. When dealing with conflicts each issue should be dealt with on its own and should not be generalised. Sarcastic comments and name calling should be avoided.
Know when to move out
There are times when things get wrong and nothing can be done about that. In such cases, the best thing to do is to move out. There is no need staying in a house where your happiness, safety and security cannot be guaranteed.
Finally, friendliness is the key to staying in a shared house. Make every effort to be friends with your housemates. And practice the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Make room for the mistakes of others. Remember when things get out of control the best thing to do is to leave.
Any comment or questions, feel free to post them!