Living with housemates can be an eye-opening experience, especially if this is your first time away from home.

It can be helpful to sit down and agree on some basic rules as soon as you agree to live together. They don’t have to be set in stone, and you can change them as the year goes along if you all agree that they don’t quite fit in practice.

Things to Think About

Some of the easiest ways to work together and avoid disputes usually involve organising your share of the communal tasks or spaces. We would recommend discussing:

  • Cleaning Rotas (how are you going to fairly share out cleaning the communal spaces?)
  • Meter Rotas (if you’re on a gas or electricity meter, create a rolling rota of whose turn it is to pay each week)
  • Shared food (could you agree to buy certain items in bigger quantities to save money?)
  • Are there any considerations that you or your housemates need for the odd quiet(er) night? (If someone has a 9am lecture every Monday, they probably won’t appreciate a house party on a Sunday)

If you and your housemates do end up in disagreement, we would recommend the best first route being to arrange a chat.

This could be one to one, or as a house if you all feel the issue is wider.

It is best to approach an issue in a non-accusatory way. If you are discussing it in a “house meeting”, try to cover a few different topics so that it doesn’t feel like an individual is being singled out, for instance requesting that everyone is a bit quieter after 11 pm in exam season, or that you all do a bit more cleaning.

Private landlords will often not want to get involved in housemate disputes. However, if things do worsen and you feel they cannot be resolved, you can approach your landlord to highlight that the behaviours of your housemates may be breaching the rules of the tenancy. If the landlord is willing to speak to your housemate, this might help to fix the problem.

How can the Advice Service help with housemate disputes?

If you’re really struggling with issues with your housemates and can’t find a resolution, the Advice Service may be able to help:

  • If all housemates agree, we can arrange a conflict resolution session to get to the bottom of the issues causing the conflict.
  • We can help you and your housemates come to an agreement on the “ground rules” you intend to follow
  • If some or all housemates disagree with coming to a meeting, we can advise you on your options if you wish to leave the house. Please note, we cannot help you to break a contract.
  • If there has been any allegation of intimidation or violence, we will be unable to offer a group meeting.

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