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Living with friends, old or new, can be very rewarding. However, along with perks such as communal dinners and themed movie nights, there are a few things that can dampen your time in a share house. Take a look at these ideas about how to maintain harmony and minimise run-ins – by setting some ground rules at the beginning, you’ll be off to the best start possible.
1. Make a cleaning roster
One the fastest ways a flatmate friendship is ruined is when someone doesn’t pull their weight when it comes to cleaning. To ensure a fair distribution of chores – especially if you don’t want to get caught out forgetting your own responsibilities – draw up a weekly roster to help keep the household in check.
Everything from vacuuming and unpacking the dishwasher to taking out the bins can be accounted for. Be sure to assign tasks on a rotating basis so that no one repeatedly gets stuck with the worst jobs.
2. Take it in turns to buy household staples
While grocery shopping is best left to do individually as needed, there are some shared essentials that have to be restocked on a regular basis – items such as milk, bread, eggs and condiments. Implement a system whereby housemates alternate who buys these each week to avoid someone feeling as though they’re paying for more than their share.
Alternatively, keep a communal money jar in the kitchen in which each flatmate contributes $10 per week. This can be used for last minute store visits so that no one’s ever out of pocket (or toilet paper).
3. Be mindful of noise and guests
Discussing upfront when (and which) visitors can stay over – especially if they’ll be sleeping in the living area – will minimise awkward situations and set the ground rules for the house. Whether it’s a partner, friend or family member, everyone has different ideas about what’s acceptable
The same goes for noise – while your old flattie didn’t mind a bit of Sunday morning radio, your new housemates might prefer a sleep in. Being respectful, particularly if there are residents that study or do shift work, will go a long way towards maintaining a happy household.
4. Designate shelves and label food
Storage space permitting, allocating a shelf for each housemate will help to avoid getting food mixed up and ending up eating things that are not yours (and vice versa). For all the fridge items that aren’t shared – think that fancy cheese and dip you’re saving for the weekend – use post-its to label who owns what. Keep it friendly by adding a smiley face 🙂
5. Split utilities evenly
The fairest way to pay for water, electricity and gas bills is to split them equally between all housemates. Problems can arise when one person has the air con pumping all day, or if another works from home and chews through wi-fi data, so keep an eye on the bills and communicate any concerns early on.
Tip: If your household is eco-conscious, why not get together and talk about some sustainability tips that can be implemented? Car sharing, recycling and reducing energy use are a few simple ways you can lower your environmental footprint as a household.
6. Discuss the care of pets
Research shows that animals can make a household a happier place, and every housemate will appreciate being lovingly greeted after a long day at work. However, the owner should claim total responsibility when it comes to feeding, cleaning up after, and caring for, their pet, unless other arrangements have been discussed and agreed upon.