Living with housemates

Some housemates get along like a house on fire. Others are so bad you fear they may actually set the house on fire. Get the lowdown on housemates, including common causes of tension, tips for keeping the firemen away and what to do if nothing’s working.

This can help if:

  • you keep locking horns with your housemates

  • you want some tips to make your household a more pleasant environment

  • you’re about to move into a share house with some people and you want to be sure it’s smooth sailing.

Image of a young man and woman relaxing in the living room at home. The guy is sitting on the floor with his arm on the couch, next to where the woman is sitting. They are both laughing.

I have new housemates

Moving into a place with housemates can be excellent, but it can also be really hard to adapt to living with a new group of people. If you’re aware of the common things that tend to cause tension between housemates from the get-go, you might find them easier to manage. They include the following:

  • Money and bills – have a simple system in place for splitting them fairly between you and for paying them. Check out these useful tips.

  • Chores – making a roster might seem like a chore in itself, but you’ll be grateful when the bathroom is clean and no one had to nag anyone else to make it happen.

  • Cleanliness – just set some simple boundaries and rules that you all agree on. No mould, no rotten food, wash your plates after each use, etc.

  • Socialising or hosting at your place – set up an agreement about having friends over, hosting parties, and having your boyfriend or girlfriend stay over.

  • Invading others’ personal space – remember that everyone needs quiet time. Try to respect your housemates’ personal space, and ask them to do the same for you.

  • Conflict management – communication is key! Be as open and honest as possible.

I don’t like my housemates

If you’re having ongoing issues with a housemate, talk through the various options for resolving them with a trusted friend, family member or counsellor. They’ll be able to give you a fresh perspective and help you plan what to do next.

If you’re leasing a place, read up on your state’s tenancy laws. Know your rights and call it out when these aren’t being respected.

Remember: at the end of the day, it’s okay to leave. Find a new place to go, give your housemate the required notice, and live someplace where you feel comfortable and at home.

What can I do now?

  • Find out more about living away from home.

  • Make a cleaning roster!