How to be a good housemate

Flatmates Team


So, you’re embarking on a new share house adventure, and you want it to be amazing! Whether you’re an old hand at sharing or this is your first time, our guide to being a great housemate will help you make sure you’re everyone’s fave flattie.

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10 Tips for how to be a great housemate

Each of us is different, and we handle the thrills, fun and inevitable challenges of share housing in our own ways. So before you dive into your new share house, set your own expectations with the following tips.

There’s another reason why it can be useful to have this baseline of good behaviours handy: when you’re called out on something you’ve done (or haven’t!) — or want to call out your flatmate — you’ll know what’s considered “reasonable” in the wonderful world of house sharing.

1. Always pay rent and bills on time

It goes without saying, and yet it’s not impossible for the occasional flatmate to find themselves a little short on rent day. Don’t let this be you!


Set a budget, prioritise rent and bills over all other payments you need to make each month, and if you’re having financial trouble, communicate that to your flatmates and seek help with sorting things out sooner, rather than later. A roof over your head is the foundation of feeling secure.

2. Be open to being mates

If paying on time is Rule # 1, being friendly is Rule #2. You don’t need to be BFFs with your flatmates, but being open to making true friends with your flatties certainly smooths the unavoidable bumps you’re likely to hit in your journey together.


And more than a few of us have made great friends through share housing.

3. Respect others’ privacy

Maybe you’re big on (over-)sharing (?) personal stories, but your housemate isn’t. Perhaps you love it when your flatties bounce into your room for a catchup over a cool drink, but they don’t appreciate the same “intrusion”.


Observing your flatmates’ varied boundaries around privacy — both personal privacy and private spaces — sends a clear message that you respect them.

4. Consider their schedules

You don’t need to be told to keep the noise down while your flatmates are sleeping, because you expect the same! Alas, the nature of share houses ensures that you’re almost guaranteed to wake each other up at some point.


But schedules aren’t just about sleep: try to get a handle on your flatmates’ movements so that you know, for example, when they’re inviting friends over for dinner and would like the place to themselves, or will be recovering from a big night out and need a little peace and quiet.

5. Follow the cleaning roster/schedule

When you move in, make sure you understand what the story is with cleaning your share house. Then, follow what your flatties say.


Whether you have a scheduled cleaning day, a rotating roster, or dedicated tasks, do your best to do what’s required of you when it’s needed and you’ll keep everyone smiling.

6. Ask before you take

This tip applies most obviously to your flatmate’s food, since a shared fridge can seem a little like an invitation when you’re hungry and haven’t been to the shops.


But asking first is a good idea for all kinds of stuff, from video games to bikes and boards to beloved household items. A quick chat or text is all it takes!

7. Share!

What’s that saying? Do unto others… If you want to foster a feeling of open friendliness in your share house, share.


Of course there are things you won’t share, but where it’s practical and fun, definitely offer what you’re comfortable with — from food or drinks to that spare movie ticket — to your flatmates. Your generosity is sure to rub off on them too!

8. Take responsibility

When you share a home, it can be all too easy to drop into the habit of thinking, “Oh, someone else will do it.” That’s how bins get left in the street all week and houses get left with their windows (or doors!) unlocked all day.


Take an extra minute to take responsibility and just check that what needs doing has been done, for everyone’s sake. And if it hasn’t been done? Do it!

9. Know your boundaries, and make them known

When we started this list, we mentioned that these tips should apply equally to your flatmates as they do to you: no one wants to be their proverbial share house doormat.


It’s only fair to expect your flatmates to respect your boundaries, so make sure you know them yourself, and communicate them to the people you live with. That way, you can all respect each other in ways that work for each of you.

10. Start a share house tradition

Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or an annual Christmas Eve movie marathon (or both!), starting a new tradition is a good way to help your household feel more like a home, and your flatties feel more like friends.


Give it a try, and if your share house already has traditions, make sure you join in the fun!


Flatmates Team