Whether you’re a student or a professional, you’ll probably have to flatshare at some point. If you’ve never done it before, you’ll probably be a bit scared and that’s totally fine. You’re moving with people you don’t know and probably to a place you’re not familiar with. However, I’m going to show you why you don’t need to be scared and share some tips with you on how to flatshare.
Find the right flatmates
It’s important to live with people you think are right for you. Bear in mind that everyone is different and that everyone will need to adjust in order to make things work. Ultimately, you need to know what you want and find a balance that will work out the best for you. For example, you could have a flatmate who spends most of their time outside if you like to have your own space, or if you enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, you should probably get flatmates who prefer to get takeaways and microwaveable meals. Here are some crucial tips to help you choose your flatmates.
- Look online. There are numerous online platforms to help you with your choice, such as Spareroom, IdealFlatmate, meetup or even social media like Facebook, Twitter etc! So make sure to explore your options and find what you’re after.
- Meet up in person. Ideally, you might want to meet up with potential flatmates to get an idea of what they could be like, sometime you might need real interaction to know if you’ll vibe with someone or not. Make sure to ask the right questions, and most importantly, be honest!
- Think about the cleaning. You should try to find out about their cleaning priorities, most people end up arguing about that anyway so you might want to avoid unnecessary conflicts. You can explore different options such as a rota or a cleaner and hopefully come to an agreement.
Communication is extremely important in a flatshare, although you don’t have to be friends with your flatmates, you want to avoid unnecessary conflicts or awkward situations. Remember that you live with your flatmates, so avoiding them isn’t really an option. You have to realise that everyone has different boundaries, so it’s good to be clear about your expectations and anything that might bother you. Here are effective tips to help you communicate with your flatmates.
- Group chat. That’s a classic. If your flatshare doesn’t have a group chat yet, then it’s time to make one. Having a group chat is the most efficient way to communicate with your flatmates, as you all live together, some information might be important and it could save you in some situations. Imagine expecting a parcel and not being at home to collect it! One of your flatmates could save you.
- Be friendly. Although you don’t have to become your flatmate’s best friend, it’s very important to be generous and polite. For example. you can ask them about their day, ask if they need anything from the shop if you’re about to go shopping, buy toilet paper when it starts to run out. Most of the time, people appreciate it when you are nice to them and tend to reciprocate with the same energy.
- Be honest. Living with people is not easy. Things might go wrong or make you feel uncomfortable and that’s okay. It’s important for you to talk about what bothers you. Make sure to stay polite but be clear about how you feel, ask them how you could improve as a flatmate as well.
What you should avoid
I’ve had flatmates in the past who didn’t clean after themselves, left food go mouldy in the kitchen, or even stole my food! I don’t want you to have the same experience. But let’s face it, you can’t know who you’re dealing with until it’s too late, so it’s also about luck. However, there are a few things you should avoid at all costs if you don’t want to hate your next flat.
- Sharing with 10 people. You should definitely avoid flatshares with too many tenants, three to four flatmates should be the limit. People like their personal space and also tend to not get along, in addition, communication will be much harder and you will very likely end up watching your flatmates argue. Therefore, try to keep it simple and go for a small flatshare where you can easily communicate and keep things under control.
- One bathroom flatshare. This actually depends on how many people you’re sharing with but let me explain. If you have three flatmates and there’s only one bathroom in the flat, and no cloakroom, then it’s going to be a nightmare. This is because you might need to use the loo while someone’s in the shower, or have to wait to shower in the morning. So if you’re thinking about an accommodation with one bathroom then make sure it’s got a cloakroom!
- Living by a main road. This is self-explanatory, you don’t want to live by a main road because it’s just horrible. Cars are extremely loud and so are random people at night. Sleep is really important so trust me, it’s not worth it. Ideally, you want to find a quiet area where you’ll be able to recuperate and relax.
- Live-in Landlords. Okay, I know this might sound a bit harsh and I know that some live-in landlords are amazing, but if you choose to live with your landlord, there are chances you won’t really feel at home. Not feeling comfortable in your own place is one of the worst feelings, plus you might not be allowed guests which can be annoying. However, if you still choose to go for it, make sure to speak with the landlord about what you can and cannot do.
How to deal with conflicts
I remember visiting my brother in Spain one summer. Two of his flatmates were violently arguing and one of them pull out a knife.. well you don’t want things to get this bad for you. No matter how hard you try, you’ll still have some sort of disagreement with one of your flatmates at some point. The worst part is that, since you’re sharing the same flat, you can’t really run away from the argument, that’s why it’s so important to be prepared. Remember that no one is perfect including you and that communication is crucial.
- Stay neutral if you can. If two of your flatmates are arguing about peanut butter, try to stay out of it. You probably have other things to worry about and it’ll just backfire if you get too involved. Just let them deal with it and stay neutral no matter what.
- Talk it out. If you have a disagreement with your flatmate, just talk it out and be straightforward. Try to understand each other’s perspectives and come to an agreement if you can. You have to put your pride aside and make things work because arguing is just tiring and it’s probably not worth it.
- Complain to the landlord. It might just be that your flatmate is the bad guy, and they won’t do anything about it, whether they keep trashing the kitchen or singing at 3 am. If you really can’t come to an agreement, you can always try to complain to your landlord or agency and hope that they’ll do something about it.