How to deal with a grubby flatmate

by Aaron

Whether it’s the perpetual load of dishes in the sink, empty toilet rolls left on the holder or that thick layer of dust making its way under their bedroom door, you’ll know pretty quickly if you have a grubby flatmate in your midst.

dirty flatmate

Despite your hopes that one of your many passive-aggressive notes about the mess will get noticed, it’s time to face this issue head on.

Don’t despair, here are our tips for dealing with a grubby flatmate.

1. Direct Approach

Casually talk to your flatmate about the mess. In many cases the flatmate in question won’t know their behaviours are affecting you or the other flatmates. Your notes maybe going unnoticed because they think they are for someone else.

Remember to stay calm, keep the conversation about the behaviour rather than the person, don’t make it a personal attack. Simply highlighting their behaviour might bring on the change you’re hoping for.


2. Bring in the Referee

If the first step gets heated or your flatmate refuses to accept their dirty habits, bring in a third party. Remember to keep your referee neutral, if the direct approach didn’t go so well two people bringing up the annoyance wont go much better. The referee should help you and the flatmate find some common ground and should step in if either flatmate becomes argumentative or unreasonable.


3. Get a Cleaner

You love your flatmate and have come to terms with the fact that they will never change or their change has been marginal at best. It might be time to look into a cleaner. Split between you and your flatmates, a fortnightly professional clean isn’t too expensive and would even do away with your roster for cleaning communal areas (lets face it, you do most of this anyway).


4. Time to move on (Last resort)

Living in a flatshare is all about cooperation and ensuring everyone feels at home. Despite how cautious you were when selecting your flatmate or flatshare, it won’t always work. It’s important to recognise when it’s time to move on or have a frank conversation with the flatmate about going separate ways. Remember to check your states legislation about your responsibilities and rights when ending an agreement.

Don’t stress if it does come to this, there are plenty of other flatmates out there looking for a clean and friendly home.

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  • Aaron
  • media@flatmates.com.au
  • Aaron is the Flatmates.com.au's Community Manager and PR guy. He is an avid supporter and user of share accommodation, currently living with two (lucky) flatmates.