Living with others
Practical tips and advice for creating and maintaining healthy relationships with your housemates or flatmates.
Who to contact for support
Sometimes you may need advice or support during your time in accommodation. The following teams are here to support you:
If you are staying in private rented accommodation, please contact the Wellbeing and Welfare team.
If you are staying in York St John University accommodation, please contact the Accommodation team.
Living with housemates
Our guidance for living in harmony with your housemates or flatmates.
Discuss and respect expectations
Whether your housemate is your best friend or a complete stranger, it is important to discuss one another’s expectations for a happy house.
House rules should cover things like:
- Shared fridges or cupboards
- Purchasing of shared essentials
- Having guests to stay over
- Noise preference (morning and evenings)
- How to resolve problems
Each housemate should say what behaviour is non-negotiable for them, for example, touching food or using their own pans. Everyone will have their own deal breakers, but compromise is also important.
Try your best to live up to the expectations that you have set. Sometimes you may have to bend the rules slightly, but be upfront about this in advance so that people are aware.
Communication is key! If something is bothering you, talk about it and don't let things build up.
Spread responsibility evenly
Have a list of jobs around the house. For example, taking out bins and cleaning. People's timetables change quite frequently depending on their course, so it is a good idea to have a weekly job list rather than a daily or monthly one. Try to get everyone to stick to it as much as possible.
It's a good idea to have every housemate's name on utility bills. You might decide to set up one bank account where all housemates transfer money for bills each month. It also might be a good idea to put in a little extra each month as a buffer which may cover fluctuating bills. Once all bills have been cleared at the end of the tenancy, you can split what is left.
Set a reminder on your phone 5 days before bills and rent payments are due so you are sure you can cover it.
Display bills in an agreed communal space so that all housemates can see evidence that the amount being charged is correct.
Social media can cause problems if it's the only way you communicate with your housemates. We all read things differently, and when messages are taken the wrong way it can lead to misunderstandings amongst housemates and friends.
Where possible, try to chat to friends and housemates face to face or even over the phone.
Even in the busiest houses, it is always a great idea to have a house night weekly, fortnightly or monthly – whatever suits you best. This could be going out in York, having a meal together, a film night, or a social activity. Spending time with your housemates every so often goes a long way.
Small gestures are also important, like displaying a house photo on the fridge or offering to go to the shop when one housemate is feeling under the weather.
On occasions, some housemates will choose to move out of the property for their own reasons. This is not the end of the world, as long as that housemate understands it is their responsibility to continue to pay rent until they find a replacement.
It is ultimately up to them to find this replacement unless other housemates are happy to do so. Although this can feel unsettling, all housemates should try to be supportive and helpful with this person's decision.
If you are thinking of leaving your current house, here are some tips:
- Contact your landlord or letting agent and say you would like to move out but that you understand your contractual duties and will continue to pay your rent until a replacement is found.
- Ask if there is a charge for getting a replacement. (Be aware, there is usually a charge, as a new tenancy agreement with the same terms will have to be drafted and signed by all housemates including the new person).
- Inform your housemates, and ask if anyone knows of anyone who would like your room. Try to do this face to face rather than by social media if possible. Explain to them you will continue to pay your rent until a replacement is found in order to keep worries at bay.
- You can advertise your room via the Students' Union Find a Housemate Facebook page.
- Give all housemates 24 hours' notice that someone will be coming to view the house and ask if this is okay.
- It is important for housemates to meet the potential housemate to make sure a happy house is continued.