When you are a student, moving into shared accommodation with people you have never met before can be extremely daunting. Even though most enjoy the experience and make friends for life, a clash of standards and lifestyles can lead to arguments. To put these worries to rest, we have produced a helpful set of rules that will help ensure things go smoothly and you don’t clash with your new housemates.
Being introduced to a group of new people can be overwhelming, and it is perfectly acceptable to want your own space. To ensure you feel more comfortable around your housemates, have a lock on your bedroom door; if not, ask the landlord to fit one.
It is good to set ground rules as early as possible, so as soon as you move in, be sure to ask everyone to knock before entering your room. If you have a communal bathroom, it might also be worth creating a schedule to avoid embarrassing moments.
Arguments can break out between students due to disagreements around cleaning. The natural balance of housemates when living in a shared home means there is often that one person who leaves their dirty dishes in the sink until mould takes over and someone who tends to pick up all of the slack. However, this could be easily avoided if a simple rota is organised to ensure everyone puts in just as much effort and cleans up after themselves.
Doing group supermarket shops and batch-meal cooking is a great way to save time and create a social environment in the house. If you decide to do all of your cooking and shopping separately, it might be useful to organise who gets access to the kitchen at certain times.
It isn’t uncommon to be thrown together with people you wouldn’t normally socialise with within student accommodation, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But this can be an extremely irritating situation if it disrupts your sleep. If not dealt with quickly, it can lead to a tense environment, which could turn into a heated argument. Just by being honest about your feelings, the situation could be swiftly defused before it escalates.
If you have conflicting schedules and some House members aren’t coming home until the early hours because they may do shift work part-time to help pay for their course, it might be useful to invest in some earplugs.
It may sound obvious, but respecting your housemates and their belongings will go a long way. The last thing you want is to become the person who is always stealing everyone’s food in the middle of the night and using their pots and pans without asking. Anybody doing this will quickly build a reputation as inconsiderate, which will most likely lead to an uncomfortable living situation. Setting clear boundaries at the beginning is the best way to make sure everybody else shows mutual respect for one another.
If you have only lived with family before becoming a student, being responsible for your own bills can be a massive shock to the system. To avoid paying too much or getting hit with a surprise cost, you must read the fine print when researching the utility companies you might use. An excellent way to organise the outgoing payments is to set up a monthly transfer into one person’s bank account or create a joint account. However, it can be very confusing to calculate how much everybody owes. As many as one in nine people thinking about sharing a house worry that others might drag their feet over paying their share. To ensure the responsibility doesn’t fall on one person, online bill splitting tools like Split The Bills can help divide payments into one simple monthly payment for each person, reducing stress dramatically.
The move from first to second year at university often comes with a lot of change as most students will have to start paying bills for the first time. In this feature we discuss how you can keep your finances organised and pay bills responsibly.