ARLA Propertymarks’s Tips on Surviving a House Share


Phil Keddie, President, ARLA Propertymark, said: “With rents at an all time high, more and more people are living in shared accommodation for longer than expected. Living in a house share, be it with your best friends or complete strangers, shouldn’t have to be a negative experience, and can actually lead to some of your best memories. Following just a few of Propertymark’s tips should help your flat share run smoothly.”

  • ARLA Propertymark offers advice and top tips for sharing a house

Living in a flat share is no longer an experience exclusive to students. As rent prices soar, living in a house with several others is an increasingly popular choice for all ages, and particularly for those living in bigger cities. Sharing a house can be stressful at times, but no matter how tricky shared living can be there are always things you can do to make it as easy as possible.

ARLA Propertymark shares its top tips on how to survive a house-share.

Do the dishes

Everyone has a different level of tolerance when it comes to keeping things clean. However, dirty dishes in the sink can quickly become a major battleground so it’s worth setting a few ground rules when you first move into the property. Everyone should agree to clean up after themselves and a cleaning rota can work well for communal spaces.

If cleaning is a pain for everyone in the house, a fortnightly cleaner could be a worthwhile stress-reliever.

Pay your bills

Another source of tension is often money. It’s easy to lose track of all the different bills you need to pay, and this means that money can quickly become a sore point for housemates.  When you first move in, agree on how bills will be paid, what the deposit will cover and set up bank transfers to cover monthly outgoings and ensure no one is left out of pocket. There are also lots of apps which can help you track household bills and expenses and make this process as smooth as possible. Keeping on top of shared finances will also make someone moving out the property a simple process without endless arguments over what has or has not been paid, and it’s worth considering from the outset how deposits/bills will be paid in this circumstance.

Share the basics

Whilst living in a flat share doesn’t mean you have to share everything, there are some basic essentials that it’s likely everyone in the flat will use so why not share them. Agree on the basics worth sharing (things like bin bags, oil, spices, kitchen roll and washing up liquid), and then take it in turns to buy them. Alternatively, set up a house kitty that everyone contributes to and purchase those essentials with it.

Respect others

Having a little respect for your flatmates goes a long way. Don’t borrow their clothes without asking or go into their room when they’re not there. Keep the noise down, particularly if you’re coming home late at night or have friends’ round and be mindful of shared spaces.

Respect can go a long way towards preventing conflicts.

Keep in touch

Have an established method of communication to discuss specific house matters, for example a Facebook or WhatsApp group. Whether it’s to let your flatmates know if you’ll be in that evening or see if you need to pick up milk on your way home. Even if you and your flatmates aren’t going to be best friends, staying in touch can help create a comfortable atmosphere and prevent any tension from building up.

Choose your housemates carefully

If you are lucky enough to be able to choose your housemates, it’s worth thinking carefully before you agree to move in. Be honest about your own lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a flatmate. Smoking, noise, obsessive tidiness and conflicting work schedules can all lead to a clash in lifestyles making for a potentially difficult living situation. Not rushing into a flat share can lead to a much nicer living experience in the long term.

Pick your battles

We’ve all come home from a long day at work and been left furious at the laundry left in the washing machine, or the lack of loo roll. However, before you confront your flatmate take a minute to consider the problem. Some things are worth speaking to your flatmate about, but other times it’s just not worth it.

Pick your battles and try not to take work stress out on your flatmates.