The idea of moving into a house with someone is great in theory, with split rent, utilities, and an overall companionship that can combat the feeling of loneliness living on your own.
Be prepared to face a number of challenges when entering into a co-tenancy. This can include some that could change your habits and shake the foundations of friendships as they begin in the home. (for more pros and cons about shared accommodation, check out our blog here.)
Therefore, it's commonplace to address these issues before they arise. The best way to do that is by laying down some ground rules for all housemates to abide by, ensuring the rules are fair and rewarding to make your tenancy as comfortable as it can be with others.
As you and your housemates are all sharing the same home, it goes without saying that everyone should hold their own when it comes to the house responsibilities.
Whether you are paying extra for a bigger room or chipping in a bit less for not being around as much, everyone listed as a signatory to the lease should have equal rights in the household.
This includes each flatmate paying their fair share of the rent and ensuring that the bond is upheld when the end of the lease arrives.
To ease the process of rent, consider arranging for a third-party account that each co-tenant chips into automatically for rent, so there's less chance of one individual forgetting to pay up for the month.
Keeping the Power Running
Onto our personal favourite topic, Utilities.
Electricity, gas, and water bills are typically evenly divided between all renters, but this may cause some problems down the line.
Tenant A may love long showers and play video games all night while Tenant B tends to be a bit more conservative with their power usage. In this instance, it's not uncommon for Tenant A to chip in a bit extra for the utility bill.
If you do need help getting your utilities connected sorted, please call MyConnect on 1300 854 478 or use the Get Connected form here! If you're unsure about using a utility connection company, hopefully, this post here can assist you.
An early deal-breaker that'll divide any housemate is cleaning, as everyone has a different mess tolerance to each other which will cause some issues throughout the tenancy.
The best way to combat this is to give each tenant an area that they will be responsible for keeping clean. The obvious start is their room, as it'll be a bit strange to clean up after someone's personal belongings.
Personal accountability is another 'rule' to abide by, as cleaning up after yourself in communal and common areas will keep the house tidy and get nagging housemates off your back.
For mess that is created in shared spaces, consider putting together a roster of jobs that everyone can rotate between for responsibility.
For example, one housemate may be responsible for cleaning the dirty dishes for the week while another housemate is maintaining the vacuuming. Then come next week, their roles would be reversed, so no individual is stuck on the same boring old duty.
Shared Snacks or Designated Desserts?
Something you want to discuss before it becomes a problem is food, as everyone in the house may have different dietary requirements or different tastes in general.
Even worse is a fellow housemate may have the same taste as you, and suddenly that block of chocolate you were saving for a rainy day has mysteriously vanished.
Discuss with your housemates how the food and cooking should be arranged. This can be done by discussing if you will all chip in to buying groceries for the week as a whole or if you will arrange for your food and have dedicated areas for said items.
As mentioned earlier with the roster of cleaning jobs, you could also create a roster for preparing food, so the same housemate isn't stuck cooking the same spaghetti every night.
Open Communication and Respect
As you are living together for the foreseeable future, an open level of communication must be kept with your housemates.
Respecting the boundaries of each individual and looking after each other will create great share house harmony in the household and lead to less volatile situations.
If you're also having guests over, ensure you're taking responsibility for said guests, as your roomies may not be too appreciative of you if your guest is leaving a mess behind, making excess noise, or breaking things and you're leaving it unchecked.
Finally, as is the nature of 2021, lockdown is another issue to deal with which comes with its own set of challenges in a share house.
For starters, housemates working from home will be posting up in their own home office during the days, leaving little to the imagination when you hear your friend discussing their performance review for the whole house to hear.
The best way to go about this issue is to ensure all housemates evacuate the home office area when someone is on an important call or zoom meeting, as privacy can be hard to come by during lockdown.
It might not be a bad idea to arrange some fun nights with housemates during lockdown either, since you're all stuck at home trying to pass time until restrictions ease.
This could be as simple as a trivia night, an in-house treasure hunt, or even just getting together to watch some movies.
Above all, this time can be incredibly tough for those in lockdown. Ensure you let your housemates know if you’re struggling and be ready to comfort your fellow roomie in these unprecedented times.
If this is your first move out of home, check out our guide on Moving Out for the First Time here. Furthermore, if this is your first rental property and you're still unsure about renting as a whole, check out our post on What you should know about renting here.