5 Tips for Living in a Share House

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People sharing the same space are likely to clash at some point. Here are five good tips for running a smooth household.

1. Respect

Respecting your housemates goes a long way towards preventing household conflict. This includes respecting their:

  • Privacy
  • Space
  • Belongings 

Before doing something that's likely to affect your household, think about your actions from their perspective. Will they:

  • Mind when you play loud music or borrow their stuff? 
  • Care when you eat their food without permission?
  • 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.

2. Set up a kitty

Setting up a 'kitty' involves all housemates putting in an agreed amount each week to share costs for things like:

  • Shared food (like coffee and milk)
  • Other household expenses (like bills or parties) 

If you and your housemates frequently cook and eat together, consider increasing the amount you contribute to cover the food costs.

It's very important to set out clear rules for contributions to the kitty and also to keep it somewhere safe.

For more tips about budgeting, visit our Managing Money section.

3. Share the cleaning

Cleaning is the most frequent source of household conflict. Everyone has to pitch in and do chores like;

  • Washing up
  • Taking the bin out
  • Cleaning the toilet
  • Vacuuming or mopping communal spaces 

A roster is a good way to make sure everyone does their share. If a problem develops, a gentle reminder may be all that's needed.

4. Managing rent and bills

Paying rent on time is essential. Your lease will probably set out when your rent is to be paid, so either:

  • Make sure you have enough to cover it when it comes due 
  • Get your share on time to the housemate in charge of rent

Bills usually come every three months for things like:

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas 

It can be easier to manage monthly bills for things like:

  • Phone
  • Internet
  • TV

It helps to share responsibility so everyone is in charge of at least one bill in terms of:

  • Working out everybody's share 
  • Collecting the money
  • Making the payments on time

Make sure you keep receipts for all of the bills you pay. It helps to prove you paid if there's a dispute. 

For more tips about budgeting, saving and spending, check out our Managing Money section.

5. What to do 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. Visit our When Things Go Wrong page for ideas for managing disputes.

Links

Tenants Union of Victoria - Student Housing
Although the Tenants 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, including general advice about moving out.