Living in a house share saves you money, means you’re never coming home to an empty house and can be loads of fun for young professionals.
However, there are occasionally a few wrinkles that need ironing out to make your house share perfect — much like all households. This can be true whether you are living with a couple of strangers or your best friend of seven years; you don’t truly know someone until you’ve lived with them, after all!
So, how can you avoid or solve housemate problems? In this article, we tackle four of the most prevalent complaints we hear and explain how to deal with them.
Depending on your jobs and lifestyles, you may find that you have an entirely different sleep schedule to your housemate. While that isn’t an issue in itself, it can cause problems such as sleep disturbance when one of you is awake and the other is trying to snooze.
To prevent this from becoming a problem, make sure you agree on a quiet time for the house when you move in — for example, decide that between the hours of 11 PM and 7 AM, there’s to be no noise in communal areas. No loud music, no TV, and no talking.
If you make this agreement before you move in together, it makes it much easier to tackle the issue further down the line if someone starts watching Love Island on full volume at 4 AM in the room next to yours!
If you didn’t make an agreement beforehand, it’s best to call a house meeting when noise becomes a problem to calmly discuss the issue and potential solutions.
If you’re a light sleeper and your housemate is doing their best to sneak around when they rise at 5 AM each morning, you might be best to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones or, even better, earplugs. However, this isn’t an ideal solution as you may not hear the fire alarm in an emergency.
Even when operating on the same sleep schedule, noise can be an issue between housemates.
If you live with a party animal, then the chances are they get home late and inebriated and start raiding the kitchen cupboards (loudly) for snacks. They may also get into the mood for their nights out by playing music at an excessive volume and inviting friends round for pre-drinks.
If this is the case, call a house meeting and let your housemate know how much they are disturbing you. If they’re not willing to change their party lifestyle, suggest they start the night off at someone else’s house instead from now on or head to the pub earlier in the evening.
Other common noise issues in house shares are caused by musical instruments, the TV, and people getting intimate at an inconsiderate volume.
The former can usually be nipped in the bud by you asking your housemates to close doors or turn the volume down a few times; however, the latter can be a little sensitive to tackle.
Don’t call a house meeting but instead, have a word with that particular housemate and explain that you don’t have an issue with them having sex, but would appreciate it if they could control the volume a little.
Everyone has visitors every so often, but problems can arise in a house share when a visitor becomes more of an unofficial housemate.
Sometimes this is a friend, but often it is a partner, and the situation tends to turn sour when other housemates notice that a boyfriend or girlfriend is staying over five or six nights a week but isn’t contributing to the rent or bills.
Before you move into a house share, it’s wise to make an agreement about what should happen if this situation occurs. For example, you could set a limit on the number of nights friends or partners can stay over per week before they cross the line of needing to contribute to the household bills.
If you didn’t make an agreement beforehand and this has happened in your house share, chat to each of your housemates about it, then meet the problematic housemate for a chat and gently explain how the current situation isn’t working for everyone and how it could be improved.
For more information on this issue, we wrote a whole blog post on it, entitled How to deal with a housemate’s partner.
If you have an untidy housemate who leaves mess around the house and doesn’t clean up after themselves, then that can wear thin very quickly; the last thing you want to do after a long day at work is to get home to more work.
This issue can be avoided by the drawing up of a cleaning rota when you first move in together.
The best way to approach a housemate about their slobby ways is to make the issue a shared issue rather than singling them out. Pointing the finger will make them defensive and less likely to be cooperative.
Instead of saying “You need to be tidier”, say “Let’s make a plan for how we can keep the house a bit tidier”; instead of getting frustrated and saying “Why can you not just put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher?” say “Could you give me a hand with the dishwasher please?”
By taking this approach, you are far more likely to succeed. Of course, if the gentle approach doesn’t work, then you may need to call a house meeting and explain that, while you love living with them, you are not enjoying their lack of effort around the house.
If you don’t yet have a cleaning rota, draw one up, and agree on who does what and when.
In summary, you’ll see above that most of the issues you might come across while living in a house share can be prevented by planning ahead and solved by sitting down and talking things through calmly.
If you’re looking for a new professional houseshare in the Leeds area, then we have a wide selection for you to choose from — from two-bed properties right up to eight-beds plus.