Whether you’re starting university or a new job, if you find yourself living in an HMO there are some ways to keep the peace and be able to enjoy your new home and your flatmates. This is especially important if it’s the first time living with people who aren’t your family.
Choosing flatmates who share your values is half the battle. It’s only half the battle because you really don’t know someone until you’ve lived with them. Patience and being able to compromise are two things you’ll need to make this successful.
Splitting the responsibilities of the HMO early will help with tensions. When setting up internet, gas or electricity accounts or even just organising a cleaning or bin rota make sure all the tasks are fairly and evenly split so everyone is doing their share. Why not make a big rota for the kitchen? Have a rotation system? Let everyone choose the task they want? If you’re a couple of months in and someone isn’t pulling their weight approach the situation calmly. Passive aggressive post-its are not the way to go.
Another good idea is to set up a flat Whatsapp or Facebook group so you can communicate about this easily. With different school, work and social calendars it’s easy to not talk to your flatmates often. Communication is key so get that right and a lot will follow through smoothly.
Accepting that everyone is different will take you far. Whether you didn’t choose your flatmates or you’ve all been friends for years, you won’t get on with everyone 100% of the time. You’ll be spending more time with your housemates than anyone else so try to accept and learn to love each other’s differences. Sure, someone’s dishes might linger for a day longer than necessary but they make an amazing roast dinner. Someone else might take too long in the shower but you know you’ll still be friends in 20 years. People accept your flaws, so do the same for them. Learning to stay calm, compromise and act maturely are some of the most important skills you’ll learn in a house share.