Renting With People You Don't Know
If you are moving into a rental property with other people who you don't know, then it can be quite daunting. Typically a landlord will have a house and each room will be rented out to a different person, with then communal facilities such as the bathroom and kitchen.
If you do choose to live in shared accommodation (or feel it is what you have to do, pricewise) then how should you approach the situation, and what should you do if there are problems?
First of all, you should ensure that everything is above board with the accommodation you choose to move into: if you are a university student, then you should go through university-managed or registered accommodation. In most cases, you will be renting accommodation from a private landlord.
When you do move in to the accommodation, it is worth taking photos or a video of the room you are in, so if there are disputes with the landlord when you move out that makes it difficult to get your deposit back, you have evidence of the state of the room when you moved in. You should also make an inventory of your possessions.
Depending on the living arrangements, it may be more or less practical to keep yourself to yourself. If it turns out you are going to see very little of the other people, then you can decide just to be tidy and considerate, and stay out of their way.
However, if it is going to be quite a social experience living with others, and you will end up probably spending a lot of time with them (if there is a shared lounge off the kitchen, for instance) then the key tip is to be super-friendly and helpful at the start, and get on people's good side. Most people - unless they're just not pleasant people - are nice to those who are nice to them, and considerate to them too.
If however you get off on the wrong foot with someone, then it can be the start of a downward spiral and they may be less considerate: we will turn down our music for someone we like, but perhaps not for someone who we don't like. So try to get on with everyone, without being a pushover. Be considerate and don't leave rubbish lying around, and tidy the bathroom, and volunteer for chores that need to be done.
Sometimes no matter what you do, it will turn out that you have a bad housemate. If this occurs, then there are various things you can do, some of these are outlined in more detail elsewhere on this site. For a start however you would want to sit down calmly with said individual (and in a group situation if applicable / other people have the same concerns) and try to gently address those concerns and see if you can affect a change of behaviour so no further action is necessary.
The bottom line about living with others is that some people will annoy you at some point, so you need to try to be as relaxed as possible, as friendly as possible, and considerate to others. In most cases that will be enough for you to live in harmony with your other housemates. And there's no point dwelling on the negatives - you might make friends for life or even meet your future partner through renting with people who initially you didn't know!Last update: 06 Apr 2015
More first-time house buying articles:
- Questions to Ask at a Property Viewing
- All about building refurbishment
- What is a fixed rate mortgage?
- Tips on Viewing Properties
- Freehold and Leasehold Property