Sharing with other people

Leaving home and sharing a house or flat with other people can be great fun – but it can be a bit of a headache too. The independence is fantastic, but with it comes certain responsibilities and you’ll need to get used to living in a totally different environment with other peoples habits.

Here are a few tips for happy housemates:

  • It’s great to live with your mates, but make sure you see other friends as well.
  • Be considerate, if someone is studying or sleeping try to keep noise down.
  • Be safe. Make sure everyone locks the front and back doors and shuts downstairs windows at night or when you’re out.
  • The washing-up argument! Don’t get uptight but do your bit and encourage others to do theirs.
  • The cleaning argument! It’s shocking how quickly a house can get dirty when the cleaning fairy isn’t about – bear in mind that it’s important to be hygienic, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, to be healthy if not tidy.
  • The rota argument! Cleaning and washing up rotas can work, but only if everyone agrees on it and sticks to it – otherwise you’ll end up falling out over the rota as well as the housework.
  • The phone bill argument! If you’ve got a shared land line, you can save arguments by deciding how the cost is going to be divided up fairly before the first bill comes. You can get itemised bills, which show every call made, but it might cost you a bit extra.
  • Chill out and be realistic. If you’re very tidy and your friend or the people you share with have always been very messy, it’s not realistic to expect either of you to change when you’re sharing a place. Try to be flexible, your friendship is more important than a few dirty dishes.
  • Paying bills. It’s important that you pay your bills on time, and it is a group responsibility. It can be a good idea for each person to have a bill in their name so you each are responsible for its payment.
  • Having people to stay. There are times when friends or partners might come to stay and that’s fine, but if you have someone who spends a lot of time there it’s only polite to check with your house-mates that they don’t mind.
  • Keep communicating. If something or someone is really annoying you, speak to them before it gets too bad. They probably don’t even realise and it’s not nice to have a bad atmosphere.
  • Remember – It’s normal for your shared place to not be as clean and tidy as your parents or carers home – a quick tidy up and hoover before any parents or carers pop over should help to keep everyone happy.
  • The TV remote-control argument…. we’ll leave you to suss that one out for yourself …we’ve not cracked it in our own homes yet!

If you are physically disabled, you might find that shared accommodation is not very accessible. This is something you’ll have to think about if you are planning on sharing with non-disabled students or students with different access requirements to yourself.

You might have other requirements beyond physical access, and you will need to think about how these will affect the people you’re going to be sharing with. Be realistic and honest with yourself about this, as you might be sharing for a year or more in a property you choose.

Extra help for learners

If you are aged 21 or under and are unable to live with your parents or carers, you could be entitled to financial support if you’re in full time education or are about to start.

This extra help is in addition to the EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance).

Who can help?

Talk to your friends or family for advice, but be careful not to talk behind people’s backs. If you’re not happy you should be telling it to your housemate’s face.

The accommodationseek website tells you all you need to know about finding accommodation.

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