Living with others
Practical tips and advice for creating and maintaining healthy relationships with those you live with.
Who to contact for support
Students in private accommodation
If you are staying in private rented accommodation and require support and advice, please email the Welfare and Wellbeing Team.
Students in university accommodation
If you are staying in University accommodation and require support and advice, please email the Accommodation Team.
Whether your housemate is your best bud or a complete stranger, it is paramount you discuss one another’s expectations for a continued happy house.
House rules will be the main one and within this, should cover things like bills, cleanliness, shared fridge / cupboards, purchasing of shared essentials, when significant others and / or guests stay over, noise preference (morning and evenings) and what you will all do if someone has a problem or is unhappy. Compromise is the key here.
Each person should say what behaviour is non-negotiable for them e.g. touching food / eating their food in the fridge / using their own pans etc. Everyone will have their own deal breaker!
Try your best to live up to the expectations that you have set with your housemates. Remember, on occasions one may have to bend the rules slightly but be upfront about this in advance so that people are aware. Communication is key!
You cannot expect your housemates to be quiet before 10pm when it suits you, if you are up having dance offs into the early hours of the morning on other nights!
If something is bothering you, talk about it and don’t let things build up. If you need to talk to your housemates about this, suggest a beer, cook dinner together or grab a pizza!
Spread responsibility evenly
Have a job list for the house for example bins, buying the shared essentials, cleaning bathrooms / sitting room / kitchen, hovering, washing floors. Given the fact that people’s timetables change quite frequently depending on your course, it is a good idea to have a weekly job list rather than a daily or monthly one! Try and get everyone to stick to it as much as possible.
It is advisable to have each housemate’s name on every utility bill. 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. At the end of the tenancy, once all bills have been cleared you can either split what is left or have a night out!
Set a reminder on your phone five days before the bill / rent payment is 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.
Choose your battles
It isn’t the end of the world if one of your housemates eats your last chocolate biscuit, however if this happens continuously and it is bothering you it is time to have a chat!
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 this. 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 / 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 in general, 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 via social media as things can get taken up the wrong way! Do 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 Student’s 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 ok.
- It is important for housemates to meet the potential housemate to make sure a happy house is continued.
- Communication is really important.
Social media has its place in society but can definitely cause problems especially if this is the only way in which you communicate with your housemates. We all read things differently and in turn can take things up the wrong way which in turn can lead to fall outs amongst housemates and friends.
Where possible, do 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 either weekly / fortnightly or monthly – whatever suits! This could be going out in York, having a meal together, film night, a social activity. Spending time with your housemates every so often goes a long way!
Small gestures are key, like displaying a house photo on the fridge or offering to go to the shop when one housemate is feeling under the weather, buying that light bulb for the hallway that has blown!
Ask for help
If you are unable to resolve issues yourself you can speak to one of our Welfare Advisers for support and guidance. You can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.