How to deal with tricky housemates and avoid disputes

AFS Team·19 July 2018·6 min read
How to deal with tricky housemates and avoid disputes
By Elizabeth Whittingham

If you’re all set to move into your new house share but you’re a little unsure about how it is all going to pan out, then try not to worry.

House shares will always have their tricky, awkward housemates who will often get on people’s nerves to a rather impressive degree.

Check out our guide below on how to deal with them, whilst causing as little drama as possible.

You’re welcome…

Address issues early

If someone in your house is being truly terrible and really are annoying you, then it’s important to address the issue early and to chat to them as soon as you can.

If it’s something as a simple as playing music too loud, don’t bang on their wall, head to the room and tell them it’s bothering you face to face.

Although it may seem daunting, facing issues like this head on is the best way to get issues resolved.

However, whilst sorting issues is mostly a positive experience, it’s important to recognise that you should not take the pressure of sorting every dispute in the house, encourage others to work through their own issues.

Make sure that you set the ground rules early!

If you set the rules early then hopefully you will have a basis for your argument if housemates insist on breaking rules that have previously been agreed on by the house.

For example, if someone is refusing to wash up, being loud during exam season, not flushing the toilet or eating your food- all rules agreed on by the house at the start of the tenancy, then you can take the issue up with the offending housemate as a group, hopefully social pressure will encourage them to change.

Likewise with messy housemates, social pressure can be a great way to encourage them to change.

Keep your space tidy, try your best to keep the house clean and hopefully it will rub off on them too!

Try not to be just as bad

It’s important to make sure that you do not become like them in terms of anger and frustration.

Think about it, they’re upsetting and annoying you because of their lack of respect and it’s troubling to you, you would not want to inflict the same on someone else.

Focus on encouraging them to solve their own issues instead of taking out your anger towards them on someone else.

If the person in question does not solve their own issues then you can reach out to people for help and guidance such as fellow flatmates, friends, family or the landlord.

Set barriers

If you have a tricky housemate who tends to carry a path of destruction in their wake then set your own barriers by locking your bedroom door whenever you are not at home to stop anyone from going into your room.

If you do suspect that someone is stealing your belongings then it’s important to report this to the landlord and then to the police as theft.

Be firm

Be polite yet firm.

Show your fellow housemates respect whilst also demanding respect from them to hopefully ensure that people remain polite.

It’s incredibly important to demand respect during exam time, let people know that it’s not okay to have a house party at 4am to ensure that pesky housemates do not cause too much trouble during an already unstable time.

Know your rights

Make sure that you know your rights.

If you and the rest of your house really are troubled by another housemate, who is either stealing, not paying rent, threatening violence to other people in the house or destroying your property, then you can put a case forward to your landlord to legally evict them. Remember, if someone is causing you real danger than you can also contact the police.

Get it in writing

If you are splitting the bills with your housemates then make sure that you get it all in writing before you agree to anything. This way, if any issues arise, such as their refusal to pay, you can make sure that you have their signatures and agreements to the terms and conditions wrote down in order to show it to the relevant people.

Likewise, if there are items in the house that you all chipped in money towards to pay for, get this in writing too, if the object breaks, you can then make sure that your flatmates give money towards buying a new one or fixing it.

Avoid politics

After cleaning, politics is probably the largest starter of house share arguments so is usually one best avoided if you would like to keep a harmonious household, it might be an unavoidable topic if you live with politics students however! If you would like to avoid tricky housemates getting into arguments then best to avoid Brexit…