Renting in a house with other housemates

The Do's and Don'ts of being a Housemate

Lucy Wolstenholme

Living with someone else can be a mixture of an absolute delight and an absolute nightmare. A lot of the time this is because you're going to be living with someone quite different from you, so there will inevitably be some kinks you've got to work out. While no housemate is going to be perfect all the time (even Chandler and Joey had their moments), we've got a list of some housemate Do's and Don’ts that will help make sure you’re reaching your full housemate potential.

Common cleaning

This one is pretty obvious – if you made a mess, especially in a common area of the house, then clean it up. Whether it be a spill in the kitchen after attempting your first Jamie Oliver 15-minute meal (which somehow took you an hour?) or leaving your socks in the middle of the living room, be a solid housemate and Marie Kondo that situation. If you don’t, you might find yourself in an even bigger mess with your housemates.

Failure to communicate

A lot of the time the issues that arise between housemates are due to a lack of communication. So talk it out! If you want the living room to yourself for a hot date (or because you want to eat heaps of cheese alone without judgement), chat about it with your housemates. You both have a right to use the space in your house, but you also need to be respectful that it is a shared area – so if you're going to take it over, talk about it.

Homeward bound(aries)


When you’re living with someone else, it’s good to get a sense of their boundaries. You might be housemates with someone who really appreciates their alone time, so you have to respect that. For example, if you’re living with someone who likes to stay in their room with the door closed, they might not love it if you burst in to discuss which flavour of Arnott’s Shapes is the best (it’s Barbecue by the way). Get a sense of each other’s living habits and style, and respect how your housemates want to live together.


Make a little space


When it comes to housemates, you aren’t just sharing common areas – you’re sharing common spaces. Whether it be the fridge, the pantry, or the clothesline, you need to make arrangements to ensure everyone gets their fair share. Some people take a shelf each, others store items in their room, some might even come up with a Super Nanny style washing and drying schedule. What matters is finding what works for you and your housemates and sticking to it. No insane lines need to be drawn and reinforced here; just be aware of the space you’re using, and take care not to take over too much.


Understand as best you can


Potentially the most crucial house rule when living with others: be considerate and understanding. No one is a perfect human (except maybe Harry Styles) and people are going to make mistakes. If you can be an understanding housemate and have housemates just as considerate as you, that’s the most important thing. And if you do somehow manage to become housemates with Harry Styles, more power to you.

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