Emma Schofield | Contributing Writer | Sunday, 26 July 2015

How NOT To Rent A Room In A Shared House

The Don'ts Of Renting A Room In A Shared House

The Debrief: So you've got to rent, right? Well, according to our writer Emma Schofield, here's what you need to NOT do if you want to be a half-decent housemate...

With the average house price set to be at around £340,000 by 2020, and an 18% deposit required for first time buyers (just over £64,000!!!), PwC have predicted that by 2025, a quarter of all households will privately rent. Well that’s hardly surprising. What is shocking is that the majority of these households will be occupied by people aged between 20 and 39. So yes, you and me: Generation Rent. And if you’re living in London, you’ll know that there’s already a bit of a renting crisis at hand, with rent prices having increased 25.6% over the past four years.

Inevitably this means more and more people are not only sharing flats and houses, but are now sharing bedrooms. Yikes! With that rather unsettling thought in mind, we’ve got a set of guidelines that might be helpful to bear in mind if you’re going to be unwittingly renting for the rest of your days. Everyone else is busy telling you what you should do when you move into a houseshare, but here's what NOT to do. You're welcome. 

Do NOT share food. Seriously.

As your Sunday hangovers spend watching Friends will have taught you - Joey doesn’t share food and that's a solid life lesson to live by. It just complicates matters; you’ll end up crying over who had the last millilitre of milk or the final scrapings of the butter. Unless you have a communal money pot where you put a couple of quid in each for the essentials, or you’re all so wadded that it doesn’t affect your disposable income (hahaha), you’ll end up in a scrap over the scraps.

Do NOT spend all your money before you've paid your bills

Set up a totally separate bank account for the bills where all of you have access to it. Trust me. I had a disastrous experience resulting in not only losing my housemates but people who had become my friends as well. Money can be an emotional subject even in the closest of relationships, let alone with some strangers you met in a dingy bar in Holloway. Be honest, open and responsible for your share. Bills and rent are an unwavering priority; shopping your way down Oxford Street is secondary.

Do NOT live with people who work different shifts to you 

If you have a job where 9-5 isn’t the norm and it’s more like 5pm-9am, make sure you let everyone know. And be considerate! Don’t even think about banging every single door and stomping up every single stair with the weight of an elephant every morning at 5.30am (true story). It may even be worth trying to find a group of people with similar-ish working patterns to prevent exhaustion-induced tears.

Do NOT be that twat who never cleans

The worst feeling is attempting to get your perpetually hungover housemate to notice you passive-aggressively hoovering for the umpteenth time, whilst they slob on the sofa in a pool of their Jäger-stenched saliva. Impossible and ineffectual. (Just to clarify, I have been both cleaner and cleanee in this situation). Make sure you set up a cleaning rota or whatever works for you. If you can afford a cleaner, go for it! Just try not to be a dick and leave nasty stuff lying around.

Do NOT just hang out with your housemates

They may be super fun and cool but unless you’re the cast of Friends, the likelihood is that it’s not going to work out in the long run if you spend every waking moment together. You may find that elusive housemate who’s the cheese to your biscuits, so hold on to them. Just remember to catch up with your other friends, even if they do live in Zone 6 (wahhhh!)

And finally, the golden rule... 


If it’s going to be a casual thing. Regardless of how amazing their personality is or how chiselled their jaws are, or how enchanting their eyes are, or (let’s be honest) how desperate you are for sex. It really is the equivalent of shitting where you eat, especially if you end up developing unreciprocated feelings for them L, or vice versa . Nor do your housemates want to overhear the grunts and groans of your 'secret' tryst. It gets messy in more ways than one. Nothing should get in the way of IRL Disney-style true love though!

Good luck!!

Like this? Then you might also be interested: 

10 Ways To Decorate Your Rented Flat To Make It Less Shit

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea

Fed Up With Your Gross Rubbish Bathroom? Here's Some Things To Buy To Make It All Lovely

Follow Emma on Twitter @ESchooey

Picture: Francesca Allen 

Tags: Housemates Head To Head, Home Sweet Home