Living in a student house with a group of friends can be great fun but it is inevitable that arguments will happen from time to time. In this article we take a look at some common student house bust ups and propose possible solutions that will help keep the peace.
Who gets the biggest room?
This is often one of the biggest cause of arguments amongst housemates, and that’s before you have even moved in! There’s always one housemate who believes that they have a god given right to the biggest room or who may try nabbing it by moving in early! So what can you do to avoid the chances of a major punch up?
- Weight the rent, so the person with the biggest room pays more.
- Draw lots, that way it’s down to pure luck!
- Agree to swap rooms during the year.
You come home from a long day at university ready for your dinner and find the sink full of dirty pots! Not all housemates feel it necessary to wash up after eating so unwashed pots can be a common problem in many student houses.
- Use the wash up as you are going along rule – nothing stays unwashed for over 30 minutes
- Have a washing up/drying up/tidy kitchen rota.
The housemate who always has their boyfriend/girlfriend over to stay
Their name is not on the lease, they definitely do not live at your house, but you see them more than some other housemates. Having your housemate’s boyfriend or girlfriend stay all the time can be a real pain if they are using the house like a second home!
- Explain why it’s annoying. It’s not personal, you just want some space back
- Suggest if they are going to stay over that much, then maybe they should contribute to rent/bills.
How to pay and split the bills
So the joint account seemed like a good idea until people stopped paying money in and the direct debit bounced (incurring a charge), and the electricity bill was forgotten about (another charge) which was surprisingly massive anyway, and someone’s abroad for three months!
- Get everyone to put in more money than will be needed in the account as soon as loans are paid – then pay excess back (this is a good way of saving a little reserve cash too)
- Find a student house with all bills included in the rent! Will save a lot of hassle!
Taking too long in the bathroom
What are they doing in there? How long can it take to take a shower and clean your teeth? Housemates who hog the bathroom for ages can be very annoying, especially when it’s not at all obvious what they are doing in there!
- Have a kind word about the fact there’s only one bathroom
- If you need to get ready at similar times frequently, alternate between who goes first.
Dealing with the night owl
Everyone loves a good night out but your patience’s is going to wear thin if a fellow housemate starts taking things too far. When they stumble casually through the door at 3am, waking everybody up the night before a tutorial or exam things need to change!
- Make sure your housemates know if you have to be up early for something.
- Likewise let them know if you intend to be back pretty late
- Invest in some ear plugs. We recommend the wax ones
Food stealing, ‘borrowing clothes’ etc
"It was just there so I took it..." We have all heard the lame excuses given by greedy housemates to try and explain why they took something belonging to you, but when you are looking forward to a bowl of your favourite cereal the realisation that it is all gone can sometimes be too much to bear!
- Label your stuff so that it’s obvious what is yours.
- Mark out individual fridge shelf space and cupboard space.
- Agree that if someone is going to borrow something they must ask first.
Who can’t cook, who won’t cook?
Why is it always you left to cook? How come as soon as you start making something they jump on it?
- Draw up a cooking rota so you know whose turn it is to cook.
- Don’t criticise people’s cooking standards, instead try and help them improve.
The housemate with no regard for security
Is it really that difficult to shut a window or lock a door properly? You really don’t want your iPad to become someone else's iPad.
- Explain that you are concerned; you just prefer to be on the safe side.
- Put a little sign on the door/windows as reminders before people leave.
Where you are going to live next year
- Sit down and talk rationally about the situation, what works and what doesn’t.
- Actually have a ‘meeting’
- Look at the pros and cons, understand everyone’s thinking and concerns
Try to enjoy your time at uni and with any luck arguments will be few and far between. May your year be as argument-free as possible! If you're looking for more comprehensive posts on volunteering opportunities or shared student housing in Lancaster, check out our student blog.