How Not To Be A Dick When You Move Out Of Your Shared House
The Debrief: Follow this advice so you don't become *that* ex housemate
Illustration by Grace Danico
When it goes well sharing a house can be a total dream. You return from work to find your BFFs on the sofa, pizza on speed dial and pinot on ice. But, as we all know renting has many pitfalls and sharing a house, even with your closest friends, can be difficult.
If things aren’t managed properly in a shared house even the most banal aspects of life –heating and laundry cycles - become logistical war zones, leaving your rented abode littered with passive aggressive land mines that take the form of seemingly harmless domestic items like half pints of semi skimmed milk or tubes of toothpaste.
And, unfortunately, the process of moving out of a rented house can be as tricky as living in one.
It’s actually really easy to be a dick about it once you’re on the way out: no longer on your best behaviour and trying to impress with a vested interest in keeping the peace.
If you follow this advice moving out should be smooth and simple. So, here’s what to do to make sure you don’t become *that* ex housemate:
Don’t Forget To Communicate
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how many people forget this one. Communication is key guys.
You might only technically have to give a month’s notice but the odds are that if you’re planning to move you’ll know more than a month in advance. Sow the seed with your housemates. Let them know what you’re thinking. Give them time to get their heads around it. Whoever replaces you is likely to have to give notice too and there are always loads of moving parts when it comes to this stuff. Give everyone time, time to put out feelers to see if people they know and like are looking for a room so they can replace you in a way that doesn’t involve trawling the Internet and carrying our interviews with people from SpareRoom.co.uk while time runs out on the clock.
Do Try To Be As Flexible As You Can (Within Reason)
Speaking of moving parts. Try to be accommodating. They might find a new person who needs to move in a bit early or equally someone who can’t move in until a few weeks after you’re intending to leave.
If there’s any way you can arrange for the new person to give you some dosh and move out a bit early, do it. It’s push and pull, give and take, this whole renting game. If you’re lucky enough to have a good landlord talk to them, make sure they’re in the loop. They might be more willing to help you out than you think when it comes to dates.
We’re all in this renting game together and, unfortunately, nobody’s moving in and out dates are going to align perfectly as the moon moves into Venus and Capricorn is rising.
Do Offer to Help Find A Replacement
Your flatmates will probably want to pick the person who replaces you. This is completely understandable because, at the end of the day, they will have to live with them. They’ll be sharing a loo with them, wandering around in a towel in the house with them present and potentially bumping into them when they bring a Tinder date home. So it’s really important that they feel comfortable. Try to remember that. You might want to get the hell outta there and sort a replacement ASAP but it’s still everyone else’s home.
You can help: post about the room on Facebook and Twitter, ask friends about mutual friends and recommend people who you think will be good a reliable. Don’t put them in touch with someone who’s a notoriously bad flat mate, even if things are getting desperate. We all know one…the person perpetually looking for a room.
Also, definitely, under no circumstances, try to get a randomer in from spareroom without asking those who will be left behind because you want to leave early and sublet your room for a month so you don't lose any money…
Don’t ‘Forget’ To Clean
You know the drill. Don’t be that guy who leaves packing until the last minute and totally runs out of time to clean and flees hastily into the night, leaving nothing but a trail of washing up in your wake.
If know you’re likely to be a last minute fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of mover then pre-empt yourself. Book a cleaner and leave on the best possible terms. You might end up £25 out of pocket but you’ll go down in history as the best ex flatmate ever and you’ll be protecting your deposit.
Do not take things that aren’t yours
Yes, I’m looking at you! Those great mugs that aren’t yours, cutlery (because you don’t have any of your own), ornamental porcelain dogs you’ve bonded with over time or the bathroom mat that you technically own a third of…don’t do it.
Do take your unwanted crap with you
On the other hand don’t leave loads of useless crap just because you don’t want to take it with you and can’t be bothered to take it to a charity shop. Gross towels, dirty baking trays that will never ever be clean again, old pants and saucers for cups you’ve broken.
Just take it or bin it. Don’t leave clutter behind you.
Don’t treat the flat differently just because you’ve decided to leave
You might already have one foot over the threshold of your future life, envisioning yourself sipping prosecco in your new pad but that’s no excuse to start treating the place badly…even the best of friends can fall out over moving out…
Common offences include: using other people’s milk because you don’t care anymore, having super loud and late after parties because you don’t think it matters anymore and magically forgetting about that whole ‘cleaning’ thing that’s supposed to happen because you’re no longer keeping up appearances.
Do Make Sure You’re Up To Date On All Of Your Bills
There’s nothing worse than when someone moves out, owing you money and never pays it. It’s happened to us all, it’s a total pain and it never ends well. Do not be that guy.
Get ahead of the game. If you’re not the one who organises the bills check with the person who does, work out what you’ll owe them and pay it ahead of schedule.
For bills where you don’t pay monthly like gas, electricity and water why not take the initiative take meter readings on your leaving day, call the providers, let them know you’ve gone and generate the final bills as soon as you’re out of the door. It will be the last thing on your mind on moving day but you’ll be saving yourself a hell of a lot of hassle further down the line.
If you are one of those unicorns who's lucky enough to be moving because you've bought a place try and keep a lid on a) your excitement and b) how much your solicitors are stressing you out because nobody wants to hear it.
You’re ready to move. Off you go, speeding towards that sunset in your ZipVan. It’s just you and those carefully packed and labelled boxes (bulging, breaking bin bags) of your most valued possessions (clothes you never wear).
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