Living in a Share House
People sharing the same space are likely to conflict at some point. Here are some tips for running a smooth household.
Respecting your housemates, their privacy, space and belongings goes a long way towards preventing household conflict.
Before doing something that's likely to affect your household, think about your actions from their perspective. Will they mind your loud music or borrowing their stuff, eating their food without permission or hate that your partner is freeloading off the household?
Show care when using your housemates' things and be honest about any breakages or damage to their stuff. Your housemates are more likely to be forgiving if you tell them straight away than if they find out for themselves.
A 'kitty' is a way to pay for shared food and other household expenses - everyone puts in an agreed amount each week to share costs for basics, such as milk and toilet paper etc.
If you and your housemates frequently cook and eat together, consider increasing the amount you contribute each week to cover household food.
If you do have a kitty, it's important to set the rules for contributions and to keep it secure.
For more tips about budgeting, check out our Managing Money section.
Keeping the house clean is the most frequent source of household conflict. There's no easy way to avoid chores such as washing up, taking the bin out or cleaning the toilet.
In a large house, a roster is an organised way to make sure everyone does their fair share. Smaller households often negotiate less formal agreements based on taking turns. When a problem develops, a gentle reminder may be all that's needed.
It's also important to live with others who share similar expectations about a domestic environment - a wise choice of housemates and an honest, respectful approach to communication can prevent conflict and misunderstanding.
Rent and bills
Issues around money can turn friends into enemies. Paying the rent on time is essential and there's usually not a lot of room for negotiation. Have an agreed day for when rent is to be paid and make sure whoever pays the rent gets a receipt from the bank, real estate agent or landlord.
Bills for water, electricity and gas usually arrive every three months. You should consider getting monthly phone bills as this will allow regular, smaller payments.
Keep receipts for all bill payments. Share the bills and the responsibility for paying them around so that everyone is responsible for dividing the bill, collecting the money and making the payments for at least one utility.
For more tips about budgeting, saving and spending, check out our Managing Money section.
If Things Go Wrong
Keeping all of the above in mind should make your share house a haven of human harmony, but things don't always go to plan.
If things get hairy, there are things you can do - check out our When Things Go Wrong page for ideas for managing disputes.
Tenant's Union Victoria - Publications
Although the Tenant's Union can't help out in share house disputes, they do provide fact sheets on shared households and other tenancy issues.
Reach Out! - All About Managing Money
Advice on managing money and bills in a share house, and more general advice on planning to move out and balance work, education and moving out of home.