Living with student housemates: 65 top tips for a successful house share

Living with student housemates: 65 top tips for a successful house share

Over the last 22 years we have spoken to thousands of students and they have told us what makes for a successful house share and some of the things that can cause some real problems. For the first time we have gathered together all of those tips in one place.

  1. Find a mutually acceptable budget. If you are sharing as a group for the first time it is important to get a clear idea of what is affordable for everyone, so that nobody struggles with the financial commitment.
  2. Respect the belongings of others, ‘borrowing’ your housemate’s stuff without permission never goes down well, and is probably the thing that causes most friction in house shares.
  3. Find a common definition of ‘clean’. Everyone has different standards, so try and agree what the common ones are in your house. You are then much less likely to spend your time arguing over the state of the house.
  4. Make a rota for kitchen chores. Once you have agreed on your house’s definition of clean you need to sort out going to be one of those ‘clean’ houses.


  1. Talk to your housemates, good communication will help avoid any smaller issues becoming bigger than they should be.
  2. Listen to your housemates, good communication is not all one way, so make sure you are giving the people you are sharing with a fair hearing.
  1. If the door to their bedroom is closed make sure you knock before you go in. You are not at home with Mum and Dad anymore, so respect each other’s privacy.
  2. Don’t sleep with your housemates, it’s never a good idea and normally ends badly. After point 2 this is the most common piece of advice we have had from students.
  3. Don’t steal food from the fridge, it’s the classic houseshare cliché and you just don’t want to be that person.
  4. If you are new to University and trying to settle in, keep chat about home to the minimum.
student girls
  1. Pick your battles. Only try and address the really important issues that arise while you are living together or your voice will disappear into the background.
  2. Don’t go on to your housemates about the absent boyfriend of girlfriend, recognise that nobody else is that interested.
  3. Share when you can – it will make you popular with your housemates and it’s all part of being a group, plus the more you share the more you are likely to get back in return.
  4. Don’t steal booze, technically covered by points 2 and 9, but worthy of its own point, for obvious reasons.


  1. Clean up your own mess – you are not living with mum and dad now so it’s down to you to sort it if you have made a mess.
  2. Don't have a go at someone if they don't instantly clean up their mess - you might tidy as you go but not everyone else does.
  1. Don’t leave passive aggressive notes around the house. In fact it’s probably a good idea not to leave any notes at all.
  2. Be around the house and don’t go home too often, or disappear of for weeks at a time. If you are not physically present you are going to find it harder to ‘bond’ with your fellow students.
  3. Be welcoming and keep your door open when you can, it will make it much easier to get to know your new housemates.
  4. You only get a couple of years a Uni. Avoid unnecessary house arguments over politics/religion. That is what seminars are for.
  5. Socialise together occasionally – it’s one of the natural benefits of living as a group – make sure you take advantage of it.
  1. Try not to argue over money – talk it through. Avoid potential friction by creating a joint bank account or signing up to Glide to pay utility bills.
  2. Get to know your housemates – you will enjoy living with them much more if you find out about them.
  3. Treat people like you would want to be treated yourself. It's probably something your Gran already told you and Grans are always right.
  4. Accept differences in people, it is one of the things that will make your time at University much more interesting.
  5. Be flexible and be prepared to compromise – that way you are more likely to have a harmonious experience while you are sharing.
  6. Discuss the expectations you have of living together, that way everyone is on the same page before you start. It might even help you decide who to live with.
  7. Don’t sit in your room all day. Pretty self-explanatory really – but if you are going to have a good time you need to make a bit of effort.
  8. Cook a meal as a house. It’s a great way to bring you all together and a relatively cheap way of socialising, after all you need to eat occasionally.
  9. Do the laundry together. It’s boring but might be a bit less so if you do it together.
  10. Take an interest in your housemate’s course. It will help you find out a bit more about them and who knows you might even learn something.
  11. Try and share a house with people who do different courses. A more diverse mix leads to greater harmony, plus you are less likely to get bored with spending all day with the same people.
students drinking
  1. Set some house rules. Once you have established some common expectations try and get clarity on how you are going to make it all happen.
  2. Get to know each other’s timetables and respect early starts – no one appreciates being woken up at 4.00 a.m. the night before a morning lecture.
  3. Talk things through – you have a much better chance of sorting things out amicably if you chat them through first.
  4. Ask before inviting guests to stay. After all no one likes the communal space being taken over for a week, by sure they don’t overstay their welcome.
  5. Find some time to do things together as a house. Yes there are some problems that will arise when you share together, but overall it should be a really enjoyable experience.
  1. Binge watch TV shows together – it’s cheap entertainment and a great way to spend some time together.
  2. Ofer to make your housemates a drink occasionally – it’s all about making an effort.
  3. Don’t smoke indoors, unless you all smoke and your landlord says it’s okay (check your tenancy agreement).
  4. Look after house security. It’s not funny if you leave the door open and your housemate gets the laptop stolen – look out for each other’s stuff and take good care of the place you are living in.
  5. Be friendly without expecting to be best friends. Just because you are sharing doesn’t mean you have to be great friends, but you should be able to get on fine together if you make the effort.
  6. Be open to new things and experiences, it’s part of the beneft of sharing a house with people and will help you make the most of your time at University.
  1. Set up a kitty to share the cost of basics. It’s a neat way of avoiding arguments about who last went to the shops to buy stuff.
  2. Don’t moan about your housemates, it’s not worth it. If there is an issue make the conversations about solving done what and when.
  3. Find a way to split utility bills between you as simply as possible. It will save someone having to chase people up for money, which can cause friction. We recommend getting a free quote for your student utility bills with the UK’s No.1 provider Fused. They are a service which enables you to split your bills and pay in one manageable instalment.
  4. Do slightly more than you think you should when cleaning up in communal areas. This will probably end up being the right amount.
  5. Make time for some sleep – everyone is a nicer person to deal with when they have had some rest.
  6. If you don’t already have them, buy decent headphones to help you switch off from whatever your housemates are currently up to.
  7. Make space for personal space. Sharing a house does not mean you have to be under each other’s feet all the time.
  8. Be thoughtful about what you cook and when. Particularly true if it smells.
  9. Respect your housemates schedule at exam time. You are much likely to get some consideration from them when you are studying if you keep it quiet when they are studying.
  10. If there are any issues you need to address only ever attempt to resolve them when you are sober.
  11. Get the important stuff in writing so everyone knows where they stand – particularly if it involves money.
students eating
  1. Visit the library occasionally – it will get you out of the house to study.
  2. If you are unlucky enough to live with a passive aggressive note leaver, speaking to them directly about the issues should resolve the problem.
  3. Keep the food you keep in the fridge fresh, no one wants to be confronted by decomposing chicken when they open the fridge door.
  4. Don’t leave wet towels on the bathroom foor, apparently lots of people find it annoying.
  5. Don’t Monopolise the TV – it’s called a house share for a reason.
  6. Try not to hoard water glasses and/or cutlery in your room. People will just get annoyed when they can’t find stuff.
  1. Don’t label everything you own.
  2. Try and find a happy medium with the heating. Yes it’s the first time you have had to pay your own bills, but nobody wants to spend all winter freezing. Equally, you can't always have the heating on full, so layer up if you get cold easily.
  3. Let the rest of your house know if you have family or friends to visit.
  4. Think carefully about living with a friend, sharing together can be a good way of souring a friendship.
  5. Take your time thinking about who you are going to live with. As a first year in halls, you may feel pressurised into making a decision about a house as early as November. Take your time, there is always plenty of accommodation available on