Although it may seem like nothing can spoil the long-awaited experience of moving out, there is one thing that certainly can: not getting along with your housemates.
They say your friends are the family you choose, so it’s important to pick wisely when it comes to who you’ll be living with.
And, considering that it is quite possible you’ll spend a lot of your time with them, it’s advisable to take extra care when selecting who you live with.
So, we’ve put together a list of top ten qualities to look for in a housemate…
It might seem like an obvious quality to look for in a prospective housemate, but the importance of kindness can never be underestimated.
We all have different habits, expectations, or ways of doing things within a living situation, but if all actions are underscored with kindness any differences can be resolved.
Kindness can manifest itself in millions of ways. It could be your housemate buying you your favourite ice cream when they know you’ve had a rotten day at work, paying your share of the heating bill until you get paid, tidying the kitchen before your parents come to visit, or simply making you a cup of tea. Either way, everyone wants to live with someone kind.
Kindness and consideration of other people’s circumstances, emotions and needs, will undoubtedly result in fewer arguments and a more harmonious household.
According to research from house sharing website SpareRoom, almost half of renters said that the qualities they look for in a housemate have changed as a result of the pandemic. And, 56 per cent said that they now regarded kindness, empathy and thinking of others as more important in a flatmate.
With seven out of ten admitting that coronavirus and the surrounding rules, have made them more cautious about who they chose to live with.
Your housemates don’t need to be a carbon copy of you, and everyone is different, but sharing similar values or interests could help you connect with the people you live with
Whether you bond with them over a shared love of football, similar music taste, or you’re on the same wavelength in terms of how to prioritise your time and energy, similarities will always help forge good relationships.
As you weigh up whether you want to live with someone, don’t forget to consider both of your lifestyles to decide whether you’re on the same wavelength.
For example, if your idea of a perfect Friday night is having friends round for a boozy games night that goes on until 2am and their perfect Friday night is writing up lecture notes, drinking hot chocolate and being in bed by 9pm; then perhaps you aren’t compatible and this could cause friction whilst cohabiting.
Picture this, it’s 3am and you have an important presentation tomorrow. Your housemate has just come back from a night out, bringing what sounds like the whole pub home for an after party, and is blasting drum and bass in the living room which is directly below your bedroom. Sounds like hell, doesn’t it.
Arguably there is nothing worse than an inconsiderate housemate and noise is a huge factor.
Sharing a house requires consideration of other peoples’ routines. Sometimes noise might be unavoidable, but consistent loud noise can be a nightmare, especially late at night.
When discussing housing options, why not touch on your expectations and routine with your potential housemates, to make sure you are on the same page about what levels of noise are acceptable for you and what levels of noise can be expected from them.
Everyone knows communication is key to the success of relationships. You might not be embarking on a romantic relationship, but a relationship between housemates can arguably be just as intimate when it comes to the time you’re likely to be spending together.
You will spend every waking hour of the day with your housemates sometimes, so make sure there is an open channel of communication between you all in order to avoid pent up frustrations and issues further down the line.
Good communication between housemates is imperative. Whether it be for important administrative reasons, for example communicating the need to take the bins out or paying the TV licence, or in terms of emotions, you need to live with someone you can talk openly to.
Nobody wants to live in a dirty house, fact. So, it’s important that your potential housemate recognises the importance of everyone working together to make sure the house stays clean in order to prevent cleaning disputes and extra charges at the end of the tenancy.
However, it works both ways – you can’t expect your housemates to clean up after you just as you wouldn’t clean up after them. It’s important everyone does their fair share of housework to minimise arguments over silly things like whose turn it is to do the washing up.
House shares and particularly student houses might be notoriously unclean but try not to fall into that trap.
Many hands make light work, as the old saying goes, so why not draw up a rota for cleaning or have specific chores for each person, so that everyone is chipping in to make the shared living areas liveable.
Being respectful of others is imperative in a house share.
You need to live with people that respect your personal space, belongings, time and effort.
It is important that you set out your boundaries – physical and emotional – with your future housemates, so they know how you expect to be treated.
Disrespectful housemates could make your living experience draining, for example if someone repeatedly ignores your wishes to respect their space, uses your personal items without permission or is even unkind towards you.
Therefore, make sure your future housemates are on the same level as you when it comes to expectations of respect.
Moving in with someone is a big commitment. You will be sharing the same living space and opening up your life for them to access.
Your most important possessions will be accessible to them, so make sure to fully vet prospective housemates before moving in with them or, if you feel your belongings are vulnerable, make sure to lock your things away.
Can you trust this person to pay their rent? Some tenancy agreements are shared agreements which necessitate that if one housemate cannot pay their share of the rent, the others must legally pick up the slack. So, make sure you are living with people who are financially responsible, who you can trust to play their part in managing the household, pay the rent, or to clean up when you ask them to.
Living in rented shared accommodation does require a certain level of organisation, in terms of paying the utility bills, liaising with the agent or landlord about issues, and paying the rent on time.
Living with someone who is disorganised can be stressful and put a strain on the rest of the house and your relationships.
So, try to elect to live with someone who has their priorities straight and will get things done.
Generosity is one of the most endearing qualities a person can possess. Of course, someone doesn’t need to be rich in order to be generous.
Nobody wants to be *that* housemate, the tight one who doesn’t let anyone share their milk, use their cutlery, or who invoices you for 89p. So why not choose to live with someone who is happy to share what they have with you, so you can share what you have with them, and cultivate a happy and equal friendship.
Nobody wants to come home to a miserable house.
It’s important to be able to have a laugh with your housemates, whether that be joking around whilst cooking dinner, watching funny videos together or sending memes on the house group chat.
Now more than ever, given the difficult circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to have a laugh and with local lockdowns and university-wide restrictions, perhaps you will be spending more time with your housemates than you anticipated; so make sure you choose to live with housemates who you can enjoy spending time and having fun with. Because ultimately, that’s the most important thing (so long as they are also paying the rent!)