Leaving home and moving into your first place on your own should be one of the most exciting times of your life. Of course, these days, your parents are still likely to be subsidising your rent, or slipping you the odd tenner and a bag of groceries every time you pop home, but that doesn’t mean you’re not independent. Doing your own laundry, putting together a meal (or attempting to) and doing exactly what you like, when you like, all help you gain independence and find your feet in the big, bad world. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that shared living with non-family members will be any less fraught than being holed up with argumentative siblings and strict parents.
Once the excitement of ordering pizzas at midnight, drinking til dawn and lying in bed all day undisturbed has worn off, you might find that you start to miss the order and relative calm of the family home. Let’s be honest, if you wanted a round of toast when you lived with your folks you could probably guarantee that there would be bread, butter and a clean knife in the kitchen: that’s not always a given in a student house.
Laying down the law
Whilst no one wants to come across as the killjoy, there will come a time when you and your housemates need to sit down and have a chat about ‘house rules’. That doesn’t mean a draconian list of ‘dos and don’ts’ that preclude anyone having fun for the next year. However, there should probably be some basic agreements about noise, house guests and the acceptability of pinching someone else’s beers or coveted M&S ready-meals from the fridge.
Set the record straight
If you get a few rules straight from the start, there’s less likelihood of small gripes escalating into major international incidents further down the line. Whilst you might assume that your wedge of cheese is your own personal property, a housemate might assume that all food is up for grabs after a heavy night in the pub. You might have got on famously before you moved in together – but then you probably had no idea about their penchant for midnight cheese sandwiches made from other people’s ingredients.
Shared housing is all about finding your feet, and setting reasonable boundaries that allow everyone to live how they want, as long as it’s not at the expense of other people. Set a few basic ground rules when you move in and everyone will know where they stand.
Guest article written by Kris White of Peter Barry – a firm letting agents covering Palmers Green N13 and surrounding parts of North London.