Table of Contents
- What is a flatmate?
- Where can I find a flatmate?
- How do I interview a flatmate?
- What are the benefits of having a flatmate?
- What are the drawbacks of having a flatmate?
- How do you split the bills?
What is a flatmate?
A flatmate is a person who shares a space with you, whether that be a room or the whole home together.
Where can I find a flatmate?
A flatmate is sometimes a friend or family member, but other times may be a stranger. You can find a flatmate by asking around or through social media platforms. For example, many people find their flatmates through Facebook. If you find a flatmate you don't know well, it’s important to vet them thoroughly since you’ll be living with them.
How do I interview a flatmate?
When deciding on a flatmate, consider various aspects:
- Finances - Can you rely on them to pay rent on time? Do they have a steady source of income? Do they have good credit? Do they have references?
- Living compatibility - Are they messy? How often do they clean? Do they like to have people over? Are they a morning person or a night person? What kind of flatmates are they? Do they have pets? Do they cook a lot?
- General compatibility - What do they like to do for fun? Are they an extrovert or introvert? How would they describe themselves?
What are the benefits of having a flatmate?
- Save money
Splitting costs of the rent and bills saves a lot of money, which you can save or use to afford a better rental. Some flatmates even split groceries, household items, and furniture which makes things a lot more affordable. This arrangement works by agreement, meaning all the members of the household must agree and be comfortable with what is arranged.
- An extra hand around the house
It can be stressful handling things yourself. Having a flatmate means you are all equally responsible for dealing with rent, cleaning the house, submitting maintenance requests, and more
Flatmates spend a lot of time together. If you pick a flatmate you are compatible with, you’ll become close friends in no time. Having another person in the house keeps loneliness at bay as you’ll always have someone to talk to. You may even find yourself befriending your flatmate’s friends.
What are the drawbacks of having a flatmate?
- Lack of privacy
When you have a flatmate and share communal spaces, it’s hard to have privacy. You have to be comfortable with living with another person.
- They might be noisy
Some flatmates can be very noisy which can cause a lot of annoyance. For example, if your flatmate always has friends over or they move loudly around the house. If you are a light sleeper, noisy flatmates will disrupt your much-needed sleep.
- Dealing with the mess
It’s always messier living with someone else. It’s easy to forget what is your mess and what is theirs. If you live with a messy flatmate, it can be very frustrating having to clean after their messes or constantly remind them.
- You might not get along
Living with someone you don’t like can create a very uncomfortable and tense situation, which is the last thing you want in your home. That’s why it’s very important to thoroughly vet flatmates as you might like someone at the start, but will you feel the same way after living with them long-term?
- Money problems
Money is always a sensitive topic that may be difficult to discuss with a flatmate. Commitments in the tenancy are jointly and severally liable, meaning responsibilities are shared by all the tenants. For example, if one person does not pay rent, the other(s) in the house will be liable and must make up that amount without apportionment.
If your flatmate is not reliable at paying rent, it could cause you a lot of trouble. As well, you have to decide how you want to split the bills. While some people do split it 50/50, the exact arrangement is up to you. For example, one party may pay more if they have a bigger room or if they use the utilities more.
How do you split the bills?
Discuss with your flatmate to decide how to split bills fairly and reasonably. Before even moving in, it’s important to lay the ground rules of how everything will be paid. It’s much simpler to have a designated person to pay designated bills. With rent, you can split it evenly or based on the sizes/location of the flat. If someone has a nicer, bigger flat, then they should reasonably pay more. Same with the utilities - you can split evenly or according to usage, however, that may be difficult to track. As well, flatmates may even choose to share food and split the grocery bill – that’s up to you if you’d like to do so.