For most UK students, from the second year of university onwards, you are likely to end up living in a house or flat shared with other students. Unless you have a lot of money behind you to rent your own place or are still living with your parents and commuting in to university, this is really the only housing solution there is. For most people, it ends up being a really fun experience, especially if you live with people you are already friends with. However, it is rare for peace and harmony to prevail in these kind of living arrangements at all times, so it is important to be prepared before you move in with your mates and to understand how to be a good housemate.
Getting the Right Blend
There are no hard and fast rules about what the best number of people in a shared house or the best mix of male and female or personality types is. There is lots of advice on putting together the right blend, but in reality that isn’t really what happens, people tend to form households with people they know and like regardless of domestic compatibility. Still though, it is worth considering what kind of roles you would all most likely fit in a household and how you can work to get along best. If one of you is super tidy and fussy, the others may have to make more of an effort to clean up after themselves to avoid conflict. If one of you is doing a way more intensive degree than the others, you may need to make allowances for when they will need peace and quiet to study.
Be Strategic About Room Allocation
One of the first issues that will come up is who sleeps where. Most houses have some rooms that are bigger and nicer than others, or there may be rooms with other advantages like being nearest to the bathroom or front door. Think strategically. If one of you studies very late and the rest are more interested in partying at night, give them the quietest room. If one of you has a lot of visitors, they should have the room nearest the door so as not to disturb the others. Think logically rather than fighting over the biggest room.
It can be easy to find a good deal on student housing if you look for openings on a site with property for rent. You will have agreed about how to split the rent beforehand, but issues around paying for other things may come up, especially if you are all getting money from different sources, for example if one of you has well off parents whereas the others are all working different jobs. Remember that it is normal to be broke when you are a student and to work together to find ways of paying for things, both essentials and fun stuff, that are fair and affordable for everyone in the group.
Living together in student houses can be really good fun and needn’t lead to any major drama, as long as you think things through and act considerately to your housemates.