Sharing space with student flatmates can be challenging even more so if this is your first time away from home living with people who are not family.  The majority of flatmate conflicts include eating food that does not belong to them, being untidy, respecting personal space, having uninvited guests who end up staying for weeks or months and noise.

We suggest that ground rules are set when you all first move in together therefore you will all be on the same page from the start.

Set up a housecleaning rota and use it to rotate tasks
  • It is best to set up a housecleaning rota from day one.  Share communal cleaning – no one wants to clean the toilet or take the rubbish out.  If one person ends up doing the dirtiest jobs all the time, tempers can flare.
  • It is a good idea to keep common areas tidy – keep your personal items from taking up permanent residence in shared areas.  The living room should not be a dumping ground for piles of unfolded laundry, teetering stacks of magazines, or crusty cereal bowls.  When you are done with something – put it back.
  • Do your own dishes – this has got to be the most common flatmate complaint of all time – don’t let it be about you! Wash, dry and put away your own dishes asap.
  • Be respectful of your flatmates university and work schedule.  If you know that they have to get up early, be polite and keep noise down late at night.  Always talk to your flatmates about parties in advance and if your flatmate informs you that they have to study or get up early for work then throw the party on a different weekend.
  • It is important that you communicate with your flatmates if you wish for a guest to come round and stay and more importantly that you listen to any concerns that they may raise.   The odd guest from time to time is okay but if you have your boyfriend / girlfriend constantly stay over this can cause conflict as it raises issues such as having a guest stay but not pay rent or for utility bills etc.
  • It is always a good idea to decide at the start of term what you are going to do regarding food.  There are 3 main options;
  • Share everything – share all food and split the costs equally.
  • Separate sides of the fridge – shop separately and each have an allocated shelf in the cupboard, side of the fridge etc.
  • Share staples, split the rest – be sure that you know what is classed as a staple!
Respect personal space and boundaries
  • As a suggestion, do not go into your flatmates room when they are not home and do not use or borrow anything of theirs without firstly asking.  If your flatmate has been taking your stuff without asking, have a chat with him / her asap as they may have assumed that it was okay with you.  Be clear about what you are willing to share.

Conflict should not arise if you all communicate, respect boundaries, don’t be a borrower, keep your space clean, be willing to listen and change and have fun!

As my mum always used to say “treat others how you expect to be treated yourself”.  When something is bothering you, tell your flatmate in a clear but polite way rather than letting bad feelings fester!

Should you need any student friendly advice please pop into our Roseworth office or give us a call on 0191 222 1225