How to find a new flatmate during COVID-19

Claudia

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Despite the global pandemic that is currently wreaking havoc on our lives, people still need places to live and to find flatmates. In a time of self-isolation and lockdown, letting strangers into your home can seem a bit daunting.

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Thanks to the immortal wisdom of RuPaul, “unless they gonna pay your bills, pay them bitches no mind” and unfortunately at this time, your new flatmate will be paying (read: helping cover) your household’s bills and rent. Which means, despite the pandemic and lockdown, we still need to be looking for new flatties or a new place to live. Luckily our guide is here to help.

You’re still allowed to move house during lockdown

We cannot stress this enough. You are allowed to move house in a pandemic. If you’re in a comfortable financial position, now could be the perfect time to find your dream share house. For more on what your restrictions are on moving, follow these links:

Video chat it up

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We always caution our members to never meet someone without chatting on the phone first and to never move in with someone you haven’t met in person. However, if you have 5 or 10 potential flatmates coming over to check out your house, this won’t help “stop the spread” and is against current government warnings of self isolation. We suggest to host video inspections to suss out your favourite candidate. Add the member on social media to get a feel for who they are and if you get along well, you can take them on a real tour of your place. But be strict on hygiene – they’ll need to wash their hands when they come in and use hand sanny and a facemask too.

Kick ons are off

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One of the best things about living in a share house is that you can have people over whenever you like. No parents to tell you to turn the music down (we’re loving Rumours by Lizzo atm). You’re an adult and normally you can have your best buds or the hot guy from the bar over for pizza, bevs and late night shenanigans. Now is not the time to do this. You may feel like an inmate at Alcatraz in order to get back to normal asap, we need to stay at home. If you miss your friends, check out great apps like House Party or Facebook Live dance events to keep in touch.

If you’re sick, run away quick

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If a member of your house is unwell or quarantined, do not proceed with a face-to-face inspection and be upfront with the potential flatmate. Open communication is a must. If you’re a close contact of an exposure site or if you’re showing even the smallest symptoms, you need to let your potential flatmate know and reschedule.

If you’re going ahead with a face-to-face inspection, follow these tips:

  • Leave the doors open so the person inspecting doesn’t have to touch door knobs.  

  • Don’t shake hands

  • If your flatmates want to meet as well, just remind everyone to keep a 1.5m distance. 

Remove the removalists

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Removalists are still considered an essential service and many companies are still running. Each company will have their own hygiene rules in place, but be careful if you’re having strangers coming into your home and handling your furniture. Ensure you sanitise everything and that both parties wer masks. Better yet, if you’re able to move your own furniture, go with that and enlist one of your new flatmates to help you out.

Clean Freaks, now is your time to shine

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Once you or your new flatmate has moved in, it’s important you help stop the spread in the house. Of course you’re going to want to get to know each other, but make sure you keep up the hygiene. Keep the house clean, remove shoes before coming in the house, don’t place your mask on the kitchen bench, avoid drinking from the same bottles and wash your hands.

Rent Relief

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The government has introduced a range of payments to supplement your income if you’ve been tested for COVID-19 and your work has no sick leave available or if you’ve lost work during this time. To find out what you’re eligible for, get started here.

Hang in there! These are trying times, so check in on your mates, your fam and your flatmates. We’ve got this. If you need some inspo for some fun things to do in lockdown, checkout out our guide here.

Does reduced human contact leave you feeling, well, isolated? You’re not alone. If you, or someone in your household needs some extra support during lockdown, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

author

Claudia

claudia@flatmates.com.au

@claudiaconley_

Claudia is Flatmates' Community Manager. She loves her share house, her plants and her side-hustles.