After the relative comfort of halls, your second year at University will often see you taking part in a house share. Not only has the convenience factor of halls gone, suddenly you’re in charge of bills, you will also need to clean communal areas, and a large degree of independence will have been taken away from you – you’ll be slumming it with a few others in your house. For many people, this could be a nightmare scenario. Take a look at some useful tips to help you with house shares. It isn’t all bad!
This is often the area that attracts the most concerns for shared living. It can be very difficult if, as a clean and tidy person, you live with someone who is very messy! Sadly, it is inevitable that the house needs to be vacuumed regularly, and regrettably, the bathroom will need regular attention. Having an allotted day as a house to clean could work well, and will ensure that there is an equal share of the labour. Near the end of your residency, to save on losses from your deposit, you might consider hiring a professional cleaner for a couple of hours.
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Similar to the above, this is another difficult aspect of shared living. Often you will come across someone that you can only surmise has been brought up by rats. They will leave dirty dishes on the side for days, perhaps even weeks. A washing-up rota is an idea, but this could be deemed unfair (e.g. on a night you aren’t washing up, you could cynically cook a greasy meal!). It is something difficult to enforce, but it is crucial to suggest early on in your residency that everyone completes their washing-up in a timely manner.
There are many options when it comes to cooking. It can always be advised to pool your resources and eat together. This will save money significantly, not to mention electricity. This is also related to each person of your house not needing to bring every utensil known to man. Unless you’re planning on feeding your entire street with a Sunday Roast, you won’t need countless baking trays or saucepans. Additional ideas could be to pair up with another housemate to alternate cooking days. Or, as an entire house, have one day each week where you cook for the rest of the house. Only cooking once a week will be very useful to you in saving time!
A rather grey area can arise when it comes to buying household essentials such as kitchen roll or washing up liquid. Who buys this? A great way around this issue is to all contribute a certain amount of cash per week, which will be spent on the general upkeep of the house. It might just be a paltry £1 per week, but it should cover the general needs of your house.
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Unlike halls accommodation, where all bills are usually included in your rent, in a shared house you will need to pay for electricity, water etc. A good way of doing this is assigning one member of the house – hopefully a trustworthy one – to be in charge of bills. They will be responsible for dividing the bills fairly, and will be the one in contact with your utility provider e.g. British Gas.
Making the switch from halls accommodation to a shared house can be a difficult experience. While you will gain a lot from the experience, there will be an adjustment phase. As a group, ensure you spend time together to bond – you could have game nights, eat together, and even get to know the schedules of each other. Hopefully, you will all have a pleasant experience. Following some of the tips in this guide can facilitate a positive year with each other. Good luck!
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