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One Utility Bill • 6 mins

The Ultimate Guide to a Successful House Share

How to Private Rental
The Ultimate Guide to a Successful House Share

Splitting costs in a flat share or house share is convenient and cost effective for tons of people in the UK. It's also a reality if you need an affordable way to make the most of city life. In fact, it's the third most popular way of living in the UK, after family homes and living alone. 

But that doesn't mean it can't get complicated. Here's a breakdown of some solutions to common issues with house mates. We offer super handy bills packages (and Unlimited Energy) but that's not the only way to make things easier. 

Jump to the bit about:

How to find a house share

There are tons of places like Spare Room and Ideal Flatmate that will help you find somewhere to live with other people.

  • Ideal Flatmate includes practical details like whether pets, family or benefits are welcome, and a huge range of lifestyle oriented details like whether the LGBTQ+ community are supported and even specific dietary requirements.
  • Spare Room has a similar level of practical detail meaning it's another super handy option (and better known so properties are more likely to be listed) but has slightly less of a lifestyle focus.

How to find good house mates

Okay so finding somewhere to live is not the same as finding the right people to share with.

The people you live with have a huge impact on your day-to-day physical and mental health, which can have long-term health effects, so it's important to get the right fit. 

Make a list of your own wants and needs before you start looking for flat mates. This means you won't get over excited over an amazing view or good vibes, and gloss over the ways you're totally incompatible.

Remember this is really subjective and entirely up to you. What would drive one person up the wall, is no big deal to someone else. Your list will be entirely unique to you.

Things to ask before you sign a tenancy agreement for a new flat share:

  • Are you looking to find new friends, or just looking to share living costs??
    • Both are totally okay, but if you don't have the same goals as your new house mates, you're going to stress each other out. If one of you is trying to decompress and the other is planning group trips to the cinema, it can't end well.
  • Do you have similar lifestyles?
    • If work nightshifts and your flatmates take calls working from home all day, there's a good chance you're going to find it harder to get along.
    • Same goes for light sleepers living with people working changing shifts, introverts living with social butterflies...you get the idea. Any fundamental lifestyle elements that cause friction are going to cause a lot of day-to-day stress, and house sharing is supposed to make life easier!
  • Do you have similar expectations?
    • Cleanliness, how often partners can stay over, noise levels...you get the idea. Make sure you're on the same page.

Figure out how to split the bills and other expenses

Sharing the cost of living is one of the main reasons people choose a house share, and there are ways to make that even easier. 


Keeping shared spaces clean

Do you have the same cleanliness standards as your potential flat mates?

This is a big deal. You're all adults with lots of stuff. How much of your stuff can be out of place or a bit grubby before one of you starts going mad?

  • Be up front about:
    • How busy you are
    • How much stuff you have
    • How good you are at keeping things in check.

    Basically, everybody should know anything that will impact how clean and tidy you are as a house mate. Everyone is different, and that's fine, but everybody deserves to live in communal areas they feel happy and comfy with. 
  • Apps like Sweepy create a housework schedule and assign tasks to everybody in the home.
    Make sure the mental load doesn't fall to one person in particular for a much fairer system.
  • Remember: If you don't keep things clean, you can get infestations of fruit flies, ants and mice. These aren't just a bit grim, they can cause health problems, so finding a way for everybody to be able to manage housework is vital!


Avoid kitchen drama with your housemates

The kitchen is one of the communal spaces that nobody can avoid. Everybody needs to eat, and that means everybody has to be happy with how things are deal with in the kitchen.

  • Kitchen storage

    • Make sure everybody has the room they need to store their stuff.

      This doesn't mean everybody needs to have the same space. If you're not a big cook, but you live with some proper foodies, maybe there's a deal where they get more shelf and fridge space, and you get something you actually care about elsewhere in the house.

  • What happens if someone leaves their clothes in the washing machine or dryer? 

    What you think is okay might upset someone else, so get on the same page.
  • Make sure nobody is hoarding shared cutlery, plates, bowls mugs in their room 

    OR make sure you've all got your own so you don't need to share.
  • Make sure that everybody gets the time they need in the kitchen.

    Ever gone into the kitchen to make dinner only to find someone doing a week's worth of meal prep? In a house with lots of people leading lots of lives, but only one kitchen, it makes sense to make sure everybody's getting the time they need to cook what they want, when they want, as often as possible.

    This seems trivial, but if you have one person hogging the kitchen and leaving a mess, everybody else can easily go over budget and mess up their health goals eating takeaways and convenience food to avoid making a fuss.
    Getting everybody on the same page keeps things clear, reducing stress levels all round. 

  • Lay some cleanup ground rules.

    How long is it okay to leave dirty dishes on the side, or mess on the counter? Is it okay to throw away food that's clearly gone mouldy?

You might think these things are obvious, but you'd be surprised how often tiny things like this cause problems. 

What should you share with your house mates?

Which everyday, communal stuff will you share with housemates, and what are you paying for yourself?
  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Kitchen roll
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washing up liquid
  • Dishwasher tablets

    ...You get the idea.These are essentials most people use every day, so everybody needs to know who's responsible for buying/replacing it. 

Noise and personal space in your house share

This element is why it makes most sense to live with people who have a similar lifestyle. If you live in an old building, walls can be thin, noise can travel, and even the most considerate house mate in the world can inadvertently cause enough noise to disrupt sleep or chill time.

Get everybody in your house share on the same page about:

  • What times need to be quiet
  • What level is okay for music, TV etc.?
  • Is there any time that having your friends or partner over might be disruptive or unwanted
  • Where is it okay to smoke?

Avoid house mate fights over the bathroom

  • Does anybody absolutely need the bathroom at a certain time?

    • If you're working from home, maybe your morning shower can wait 'til a bit later so your housemate can get ready and get to the office on time.

  • Are there concerns over the bills that mean you'd need to be mindful of how long you're spending in the shower?

  • Is there room for everybody to store their products?

    • If you're a skincare, haircare or makeup fiend, it might be more considerate to keep your stuff in your room so that everybody has space.
  • Keep it clean

    • Hygiene is extra important in the bathroom. Leave it how you'd want to find it. And see the cleaning section for how to do the big cleaning with your housemates.

How to communicate with your house mates

Even if you find the perfect housemates, there are always going to be disagreements. So accept that, and have a plan for how you'll deal with them when they come up:


  • The humble group chat can go a LONG way to keeping everybody included and in the loop on:

    • When the bins need to go out
    • If you're having people over
    • What you fancy having for tea/dinner
    • Resolving some problems without causing more tension

  • If there's a difficult conversation to have, make sure you have it in person.

    • It's easy to misread tone in texts which could make things worse.
    • Choose a time when you know your housemate is available and relatively relaxed.
    • Make a plan with them in advance to make sure they're prepared. Even "Have you got a half an hour on Sunday?" is a good way to start to make sure you're not going to catch them at a bad time.

  • Always use "I" statements

    "I" statements are useful in making your wants and needs clear, and can help prevent your flatmates from feeling attacked. 

    An "I" statement looks like this:

    I [feel] when you [behaviour] because [consequences]. I would like [change].
    For example:
    I feel really frustrated when you take spoons to your room and leave them there, because I can't eat or cook my meals properly. I would really like you to bring spoons out and clean them a couple of times a week so that everybody has spoons to use. 

    I feel really worried and stressed when you don't pay put money in my account for the energy bill, because it's making me late for my other payments and is affecting my credit score. I really need you to come up with a system of

  • Deal with awkwardness

    It's okay to acknowledge that things are a bit awkward. Make a joke, try to make sure everybody feels listened to and try to move past it.