13th October 2015

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How to avoid becoming public enemy number one in your shared house, and dealing with the moron who is

With many second years now moving into their own houses, many feckless students are finding themselves faced with actually having to deal with the adult tasks that come with renting your own house for the first time. Holes in the oven, dodgy smoke alarms, and a surprisingly common problem of mattresses covered in shit, lead to many students curled up on their doorstep, locked out because the landlord gave them the key to the garage, not the front door.

While these kinds of harrowing tales will keep you going at a good few awkward pre-drinks, you might want to consider ways in which you can make things easier for yourself in the coming year, and not upset your housemates.

If you haven’t already, make sure that you and your housemates are very clear how you are sorting out all of your bills. A lot of houses that are rented through agents offer ‘bills included’, and since you will have signed the contract before summer, you should have been aware of this before you moved into the house. If you’re not ‘bills included’, decide on how you will be splitting the bills between you.

Another thing you will have to consider on top of this is wi-fi. With the majority of us students now treating a constant internet connection as a basic human right, chances are that you were in such a rush to set up the wi-fi box that you forgot that you’d actually have to be paying for it monthly.

Whether you’ve done the sensible thing of setting up a joint direct debit account between all of you or you’ve assigned one person to be the debt collector, make sure it’s clear early on in your tenancy. Matters can quickly descend into uncomfortably passive aggressive Facebook messages, and for the sake of £5.75 a month it’s really not worth falling out with your housemates.

Another thing to clarify early on is how generous you’re willing to be with your kitchen utensils. This is quite an important one, as people quite often fall strongly into two different mindsets. To some, sharing a house brings shared meals and shared cutlery. Of course, this also brings prematurely empty cereal packets and the possibility of broken favorite mugs.

For these reasons, others decide that they want to keep both their food, crockery and cutlery separate from their housemates. Both have pros and cons; just make sure everyone is clear on what they are doing. Also, decide on some kind of bin rota to avoid the inevitable argument when you’re faced with rotting carcasses in the corner of the kitchen.

Finally, it might be worth gaining an awareness of who needs to leave the house first every morning in order to keep arguments over who’s in the shower to a minimum, and don’t steal toiletries that aren’t yours!

Your time at uni is fleeting, and while it may seem crucial to establish who’s been wiping themselves with the cardboard tube to avoid buying more toilet paper, ultimately you’re better off being reasonable, picking your battles, and concentrating on more important things.

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