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Share Accomodation. buyer beware

Updated on September 16, 2013
House Mates
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Sharing Accommodation

If you have been around as long as I have you will realize that sharing flats houses or your home with anyone can be fraught with danger. Its' coming up to forty years since I last lived with one of my parents. Finding a room need to be prepared for. You should carefully consider what you want in sharing accommodation. Just like finding a job but even more critical to your life is finding a satisfactory form of accommodation.

There are a lot of tales of despair and happiness out there. In my case I have shared with both family friends and complete strangers. There has been tales of extremes of order, cleanliness, and tidiness and these seem to go hand in hand with how happy or not the housemates are.

When I was sharing accommodation in Sydney I remember in my early twenties the housemate was so clean tidy and fastidious she use to place the toothpaste pointing in a particular direction. Another flat when I was sharing accommodation in Melbourne the grime was so thick on the bathtub I went through a whole brand new bottle of 'Domestos' brand Bleach; Getting the scum back to the clean white ceramic surface. Further another flat I shared time the girl insisted I share in the purchase of groceries 50/50. I discovered after a few weeks that she was buying alcohol & other food stuffs and had a mini bar in her room which she was filling with the proceeds of the shared kitty. Another time a flat mate was keeping a man staying 5 nights at weeks the same she was cooking for him using the food in which we were going 50/50 with the kitty. Our parting did not end amicably. Other times the situation has been a breeze. At one place my car was in for service. The flat mate lent me their car no worries for several days whilst my car was being overhauled.

By establishing ground rules which we did when I shared accommodation on the Gold Coast we were well on the way to avoid the pitfalls that can make life complete hell. Remember your home is your only real refuge so you need the experience to be at least pleasant. Buyer Beware. The trouble is each of us has their own grime tolerance limit.

Establishing some house rules
As a house discuss the issues on the next few pages and work out where you stand on these. You may find that your house mates have very different standards than you especially when it comes to being clean and tidy. For instance can you stand living in gay share accommodation? It may not be apparent on first inspection. However you need to come to a consensus and you may have to compromise. Compromise only as a last resort otherwise division and bitterness will set in. Once you have discussed the issue write out a house rule. Some of these issues may not be relevant and you may not need to make a rule, but consider them all carefully. Once you have decided on your standards you need to write them up and put them in a highly visible place in the house, I suggest the fridge door. This way you will be reminded of them and visitors will respect them too.
There a few rules which should be non-negotiable. Paying bills. You must pay your rent and bills on time, if you do not pay your rent or bills on time there should be consequences. Your behavior should not be offensive to other housemates or neighbors. After making the house duty roster and house rules you must obey these rules. You must respect and follow the standards of the lease you agreed to when moving in.

now there is a heap of other stuff that you will need to work out together. Obviously this list is not exhaustive, we have put in the things that most often cause problems in a share house.
Noise - Inside -TV, music, instruments, people, exams etc, outside coming and going. Loud noise before 7am and after 10pm, extra considerations for those studying
Visitors - curfew, friends staying overnight, drop in friends, telling housemates about
friends visiting. No personal mess in the shared rooms - no study mess in lounge rooms. If bedrooms are messy the doors should remain shutting off from the rest of the house.

No food or other perishables should be kept in the bedroom to avoid vermin. Share food - use of kitty for small items, not eating more than fair share so some housemates don’t miss out. Buy own food and share expenses for small communal items such as milk, bread and cleaning items or purchase food as a house and ensure all housemates receive a fair share of the food.

Bathroom/Shower Use - hot water availability, length of showers, leaving personal
items in bathroom, cleaning up mess after using bathroom Minimize showering time in peak use such as mornings, don’t leave personal items lying around, wipe all surfaces after use
Sharing Housework - share responsibilities, cleaning roster, what jobs need doing The responsibilities of cleaning the house are everyone’s, the cleaning roster should be obeyed at all. No study or personal items should be left in common rooms; study should not occur in common rooms when other housemates are relaxing.

Property- use of others items, breakages, lost property, borrowed property. If you borrow it - return it, if you break it or lose it - replace it. Loaning money from housemates - It is not acceptable to borrow money from your housemates particularly to cover living expenses
Alcohol - allowing drinking, regularity, quantities. Drinking is permitted however getting drunk is not
The Lease - display lease, agreement, compliance The lease has been agreed upon by all housemates, any new housemates should sight the lease and have names put onto lease
Payment of rent - who pays, when to pay, how much. Rent is due (day) as per lease agreement, rent must be paid in full 2 weeks in advance.
Repairs- person in charge, procedure of calling the rental agent when a repair is required, follow up on repairs with trades person.
Bills - person in charge, what bills. Each person in the house is responsible for one bill, all housemates must pay their portion of the bill before person in charge pays company OR an estimated dollars per week has been made to pay bills each housemate must contribute how much $0.00? To the kitty each week -
Late payment of bills should be not acceptable, nor should it be acceptable for one person to be out of pocket - you must pay your share of the bills on time.- who, when, how.
The lawn must be mowed and weeds pulled every fortnight, if none in the house is capable or has time - pay someone to do it! What now? Put the important rules on a piece of paper and stick it to the door of your refrigerator.
the cleaning roster is to be followed on pain of death.
the lounge room, kitchen and bathrooms are common rooms;
don't leave your stuff lying around in them.
Do not park your car on the grass.
Boyfriends/girlfriends don't stay overnight Boys/girls in your room means the door stays open.
Guests must follow the house rules.
It's OK to drink but not get drunk in this house.
No smoking in the house.
Showers need to be short (less than 5 min) in the morning as
we all need to get through and there isn’t that much hot water!
No pets in the house.
There is a house dinner and meeting every Wednesday night,
The rules are not negotiable; if you want them changed bring
it up at the house meeting. As a house determine how regularly these jobs need to be completed.
From these decisions develop a house roster to allocate an even share
of the jobs. It is best to rotate weekly between house jobs so everyone
does a fair share of the work. What does this involve. Sweeping, Vacuuming, Wash up, Clean Kitchen, bathroom, lounge room, Put bins on. Make a duty roster and stick it to the door of your refrigerator.
The house dinner and meeting. The house dinner and meeting is an essential part of living in a share house. Doing this regularly will allow any issues to be brought up before
an emotional explosion. The house dinner/meeting is the perfect place
to adjust the rules, the roster and check on the house finances.
1. Share preparation or take turns to cook a meal for the house
2. Eat a meal together as a house
3. All housemates must attend and be on time
4. No one other than house mates should be in attendance
5. Have the house meeting after the meal and prayer time
6. Use this time to discuss issues related to the running of the share house that have arisen in the house over the last week.
7. Don’t bring up personal problems with other housemates
8. Develop a standard and a procedure to deal with each of the issues. Adjust house roster and rules accordingly.
Money. If you lose your job or source of income it is best to act swiftly.
Speak to your creditors your Bank. Speak to your parents. Approach creditors etc. and set up a payment plan that is compatible with your current financial position. It is not acceptable to borrow or rely on housemates. It is far better to arrange things early rather that trying to fix things that have been neglected for some time.

Have you had difficulties with share accomodation?

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    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      please feel free to share your experiences here

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      It was in edit mode unpublished for a couple of weeks i don't know either...

    • mega1 profile image


      7 years ago

      ok. I voted it up - wondered how you got a 77 on this one right out of the gate, but never mind. I once tried moving in with some folks and writing up some rules kind of like these, but the kicked me out so fast I had to leave behind the stuff I'd brought along and - so you can see where that goes~! :)

    • barryrutherford profile imageAUTHOR

      Barry Rutherford 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Please feel free to comment


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