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Is there Any Help and Advice for Housemate Horrors?

Updated on July 24, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella is a full-time professional landlord and property developer with fourteen years' experience. She is based in the UK

Don't lose your temper!

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The advantages of shared housing

Anyone who has ever lived in a shared house will know that there are many advantages. With fewer monthly outgoings to meet, renting a room will work out far cheaper than running an entire rented property on your own. It can suit many young unattached professionals who wish to maintain their mobility regarding location and job searches. You can also have furnishings and sometimes even bedding provided and this helps immensely with anyone seeking temporary accommodation who wants an 'all bills included' option.


The downside can be difficult housemates

The downside to house sharing is that privacy is often compromised. Even though you will have your own lockable room, disputes with other housemates will invariably arise over matters like noise, smoking, cleaning and even trivial things such as available cupboard space in the kitchen and untidiness or obstacles left in the communal areas. Although problems are often not insurmountable they often blow up out of all proportion when tempers become frayed.

Complaining to your landlord or house manager should only be done after you have made all attempts to resolve the issue directly with your housemate. It's all down to 'give and take' and concern for all residents.

Just as family members will experience a certain amount of conflict due to differences of opinion, divided interests, and personality clashes, housemates too will face the same dilemmas. Living under the same roof with anyone requires a degree of patience and the acquisition of certain social skills that largely come from experience.


Workable solutions

Tolerance is one thing but if one housemate is clearly overstepping the mark to the detriment of others in the house then something needs to be said .Having a suggestion box with issues that can be discussed by all occupants at regular meetings is one way of preventing things from getting out of hand.

Be tactful and diplomatic in dealing with your complaint against your fellow housemate and never become angry or aggressive or provoke such a reaction in others. He or she may not even be aware that they have upset you in some way and may be quite happy to listen to your complaint and be eager to resolve the issue. Take into consideration the different personalities of your housemates - what may offend one person may not necessarily offend another. Being respectful of each others needs and feelings works wonders.


If everyone keeps the rules...

'Prevention is better than cure' so it will always be wise to ask your landlord for a set of rules as soon as you move in so you know what is acceptable and what is not.

The rules of shared accommodation will often be very strict with a limit to the amount of people who can live in the house and restrictions regarding pets, children or overnight visitors. Remember whether they live in the building or not, your landlord or property manager will already have stringent safety rules to abide by himself in order to maintain his property license and fulfill his obligations to mortgage and insurance companies. All housemates will need to remember that these rules exist to protect their health and safety and to ensure the smooth running of the property. If another housemate is repeatedly ignoring set rules after you have pointed it out on a number of occasions, then the landlord will need to be informed.


Doing your fair share

The introduction of rotas regarding cleaning and rubbish disposal are always a good way to ensure that everyone does their fair share and this will reduce the possibility of a dispute between housemates and your landlord. In shared houses, conflicts can still arise over cleaning issues even when everyone tidies up after themselves. This is because cobwebs will still appear in the house and weeds will still grow in the yard so all housemates will have to agree to take it in turns to clear these periodically or pay a contribution to the landlord so he can arrange for these to be removed.


When all else fails

If one of your housemates turns out to be a nightmare and all attempts to resolve the issue falls on deaf ears you may have to consider leaving in order to extract yourself from a situation which is intolerable. Landlords often go to great lengths to see that all occupants of a shared house are ideally matched and thus advertise for housemates with the same work schedules and leisure interests. You even get all vegetarian households or those with a similar sexuality. Similar types will stand the best chance of getting along under the same roof but when there is a personality clash and a dispute follows which proves impossible to resolve it can be too much for other housemates to bear.

You may not approve of the habits of some of your housemates but realistically speaking you must be reasonably tolerant of lifestyles different to your own and cannot expect them to want the same things from life or have the same moral standards as you do. What they do in their own room is their business unless it or is classed as criminal activity or compromises your quiet enjoyment of the property. For instance if someone has moved a drum kit in their room and is drumming away 24/7 then yes, you do have a very valid complaint against them.


Internet sites to assist you in your search

Thankfully, there are several Internet portals nowadays that can prove useful for those considering shared accommodation. Sites such as Easyroommate and Spare room are available on both sides of the Atlantic and can help you 'buddy up' with a group of like-minded folk so that the possibility of being faced with the housemate from Hell is drastically reduced. You will find you can team up with the sharers who are the most closely matched with you regarding age group, gender and common interests. It is a principle similar to that of dating sites and can be a great way to find someone to share a home with. There is no such thing as the perfect housemate but a little forethought may help you to avoid one that is a complete nightmare..

© 2015 Stella Kaye

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