The flatshare commandments

23 January 2015

If you are about to take the plunge and rent in London in shared accommodation but haven’t shared a flat before, here are some basic rules to allow you to live harmoniously with your housemates.

Thou shalt endeavour to maintain a reasonable standard of cleanliness. Your room is your room, to keep as you like it, but any shared spaces need to be kept in a universally acceptable state. Which means cleaning your hair out of the bath, washing up all your dishes after you cook and not dropping the junk mail in the middle if the hallway. If you can’t agree to who does what, you could try a roster system. If that fails, consider pooling funds to employ a cleaner for the common areas. Nothing festers like cleaning up someone else’s mess.

Thou shalt not hog the bathroom. Unless everyone has an en suite, bathroom availability will be valuable, especially during ‘peak traffic’ times. Try to organise a sensible order to take showers based on people’s schedules and who leaves the house first. Some may opt for an evening shower. Where possible do all hair primping and make up in your own room to avoid taking up precious bathroom time. And it pays to ask your fellow tenants before taking a two-hour bath. The same goes for kitchen hogging. Don’t do it. And don’t use up all the pots/utensils/plates.

Thou shalt have a good system for toilet paper procurement. Whether it is a kitty system and the most reliable person buys it or you take it in turns to pay for it each week, just make sure your strategy works – it’s not something you want to go without. Ditto for dishwashing liquid or any other cleaning products you share.

Thou shalt not ‘borrow’ your housemates’ food. Establish early on if you share any food/drink or if it’s everyone fend for themselves. And even if you have a good relationship with your flatties and they let you use some of their milk in your tea, they won’t thank you if you finish it and don’t replace it. If you opt to cook together on occasions, reciprocity is the name of the game. Don’t ‘work late’ every time it’s your turn.

You may have to accommodate different tastes in music or TV. A little respect and the powers of on-demand programming can help. Follow these golden rules and you will be well on the way to becoming friends, not just flatmates. Check out the latest flatshare or house sharing opportunities at