If you have only lived with family before coming to university, being more responsible and moving into shared accommodation with people you don’t know can be extremely nerve-wracking.
A survey carried out by bill-sharing company Split The Bills found that new students’ top three concerns were:
- a lack of privacy
- messy housemates
- splitting bills fairly
To keep a calm living environment and to avoid clashing with anyone, read on to find out our top 10 tips.
A lack of privacy
In the survey, 25.7% of people said they felt nervous about having no privacy when living with new housemates.
- After moving in, start as you mean to go on and set ground rules. To avoid any invasions of privacy, ask your housemates to knock before entering your room.
- When you want some time to yourself, keep your bedroom door locked. If you don’t have a lock, speak to your landlord about the possibility of getting one fitted.
- As most shared houses have communal bathrooms, you may want to create a schedule to avoid any embarrassing moments.
Felix Henderson, CEO of BubbleStudent—an online service which helps students search for their perfect home—said:
“If you’re concerned about personal space, I would recommend looking for a property that will afford each of you plenty of room. […] When you’re at home, it’s natural to want some time apart but for many students, sharing your home with your closest friends represents a real highlight of university life and with the right house it’s even better.”
Cleaning and cooking
In most student housing, there is usually one person who leaves their dirty dishes in the sink until mould takes over and another who tidies up after everyone. We discovered that 15.6% of people surveyed worry about living with messy housemates.
- To avoid heated arguments and to ensure all housemates are putting in the same effort, create a simple rota to organise when everyone should fulfil their cleaning duties.
A small percentage of people (3.6%) were also concerned about food shops and cooking.
- Batch cooking and going on group supermarket trips can be a huge time-saver.
- If you decide to do your cooking and shopping separately, you may want to organise who gets access to the kitchen at certain times.
“There’s a lot of anxiety surrounding moving into your first home away from home but it can be a really fun and exciting process too. Once you’re all comfortable in your new house, you will genuinely be surprised that you were ever worried,” said Felix.
Splitting the bills fairly
A major concern for one in nine people surveyed was housemates not paying their bills.
To keep a happy home, it is important to make sure everybody pays their fair share and the responsibility doesn’t all fall on to one person.
- Transferring the bills money into one person’s account can be a good way to organise all of the outgoing payments or you may prefer setting up a joint account.
- It can be very confusing to work out how much everybody owes. However, using a bill-splitting tool such as Split The Bills can help lower stress levels dramatically by dividing the fee fairly into one simple monthly payment for each person.
Felix added: “For many students, moving into shared accommodation will represent several first-time ‘adult’ experiences, such as responsibility for bills, signing a legal contract or organising a viewing. It can be a daunting administrative process and students often worry they’ll make mistakes.
“Money can be a difficult issue to talk about but it’s vital that everyone’s honest about what they can afford and what they’d like to pay.”
University is a great way to meet people you wouldn’t normally socialise with, but this can sometimes lead to disagreements. A big concern for many people (11.3%) was the idea of living with disruptive housemates.
- It might be that some of your housemates aren’t coming home until the early hours due to doing part-time shift work to help pay for their course. If this conflicts with your own schedule, it might be useful to invest in some ear plugs.
- Being honest about your feelings and asking housemates to be quiet at certain times could swiftly defuse a situation before it has chance to escalate.