How to find a housemate

Flatmates Team


If you’ve never had a terrible housemate, count yourself lucky. In the grand scheme of house-sharing, you’re bound to have a problem flatmate at some point. How big a problem? Well, that depends. The wrong housemate could simply be someone you don’t get along with that well. Or, they could be a liability to the entire household.

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The thing is, breaking up is hard to do. For that reason, we’ve put together this guide to help you avoid the situation where you discover — too late! — that you picked the wrong flatmate. Follow our tips, and a harmonious sharehouse should ensue.

Where to find a housemate

For most of us, the days of listing a place to rent on the uni noticeboard are over. While those noticeboards (might?) still exist, the strike rate is low compared to options like social media and dedicated flatmate matching sites. Here are the key places to look for a flatmate in today’s hectic share-house economy!

Ask your friends

You know — and love — your friends. You have a lot in common and obviously get along well. So it stands to reason that you might be able to live with them, or for that matter, with some of their friends. Okay, you might not want to live with every one of your friends. But consider asking those who you’d be happy to live with if they’re keen — or could suggest someone they know.


- Good chance of finding someone like-minded.
- People your friends refer are effectively “vetted” by them first, so you’ll know they have at least some worthy flatmate qualities.

- If you’re living with a friend and things go sour, your friendship might go south, too. That risk can also apply if you have trouble living with someone referred by your friend — and might be too big a gamble for you to take.

Ask your family

You love them, you hate them, you’ve likely already shared a place together as you grew up. Asking family members to move in can be a good shortcut to filling a flatmate gap.


You know their habits, and how well you’ll tolerate (or love!) living with them. If the living arrangement doesn’t go well, it’s unlikely to ruin the relationship forever.

- Living with a family member can feel like a step backwards or a return to “home”, or simply cramp your style!
- Family members usually know how to push each others’ buttons, which can cause real friction that can be hard to overcome.

Post on social media

Okay, realtalk: there are stalkers out there, people! So if you’re considering posting on social media, make sure those who can see the post are actually people who you have met, and know —not just a bunch of randos you friended after a few drinks one night!

Some social sites are likely to be more appropriate for finding a housemate than others, but which ones probably depend on how you use those sites: trust your instincts.


- You’re casting a broad net on social media, so you may reach fairly like-minded people you wouldn’t connect with otherwise. - It’s a pretty impersonal way to source a flatmate, so if you want to knock someone back before you meet them, it’s probably no big deal.
- Social media is very public, so if you decline a possible housemate and keep advertising, things could get uncomfortable. Consider how you’d handle that situation before you take this option.

Create a listing on

Making a listing on flatmates is, of course, a great way to go. You can list your place, or find a place to share, and contact people about any listings that interest you.


- Everyone on the site is either looking for a place or a person, so you’re likely to get good results. - The site has plenty of advice and tips on finding the right situation for you (like this article!) which can help you avoid the pitfalls you might encounter with other methods.
- The site is free to use, but you might find it easier to upgrade, which gives you access to people’s mobile numbers, and lets you contact all members. This is the only option on this list that can cost you money for a listing.
- You’re likely to end up renting with someone you don’t know (although of course you’ll have gone through a process of interviews and reference checks), which might not be what you’re after. 50% of members say they prefer living with strangers rather than their friends anyway!

How to choose a good housemate

Once you’ve listed yourself — or your space — online, or put the word out with friends, you’re going to find yourself fielding contacts from would-be flatmates. Here’s how to choose the one that’s right for you.

Make sure your advertisement is honest
Set the right expectations from the get-go with an honest ad that reflects reality, and is itself realistic. Briefly describe yourself, the home (if you have space to fill), and what you want in an ideal roommate. Sometimes, you may not have an ideal, but you might know what you don’t want in a flatmate — so, mention that instead.


Remember to be realistic in the expectations you put in the listing. It’s not reasonable to ask for a flatmate who only comes home to sleep, or lives part-time at their partner’s place. For the best living arrangement, you and your flatmates should all be welcome and happy in the space at all times. So, set the right expectations for yourself, as well as your potential flatties.

Don’t rush into any decisions
You know the saying: there are plenty of fish in the sea. Don’t ever let a candidate pressure you into letting them move in — or be pressured by your other housemates to accept someone who doesn’t seem right. Never say yes to a new flatmate you haven’t met in person, and never agree to someone who hasn’t seen the place (or agree to a place you haven’t seen).


Choosing the people you live with is a decision that requires consideration, reflection and research (ask for, and check, their references!), so as much as you can, avoid rushing into a decision you might regret before your new flatmate’s even settled in.

Trust your gut
What if you’re looking for a housemate for a spare room at your place and everyone loves a candidate except for you? Well, we say: trust your gut. If something seems off, or the person just doesn’t gel with you, that feeling isn’t exactly going to help build household harmony.


You don’t want tension at home: you want to be able to relax around people you’re comfortable with. So if you don’t feel like you want to live with someone, trust your gut and keep looking.

Have the money talk
It might seem impolite, but talking about finances is key to finding the right flatmate simply because paying for the place is what keeps you (and them) in it. So, have The Talk, and break everything down. First, cover how much the rent is, when it’s due and how your new flatmate should pay it. Next, look at utilities and other bills: when are the payments due, how are the bills split and again, how will the flatmate make the payment? Finally, be clear about any expectations the household has around, say, shared meals, regular get-togethers and so on, since all those things cost money too.


In the course of this discussion, you should find out how your potential flatmate funds themselves (through work, benefits, or a combination of those), which should hopefully put your mind to rest about their ability to pay. Finally, discuss any consequences of non-payment. If you expect anyone who misses rent to move out, say so. If you have a more staged process to handling late payment, explain it. It’s important that your new flatmate knows what they’re in for if they move in with you — and vice versa! — before anyone agrees to anything.

And if, after this chat your potential flatmate ticks all the boxes, you know you’ve done everything you can to find a great housemate!


Flatmates Team