A new university year and everything’s looking up. Another exhilarating journey through the academic year. The first few weeks are exciting as you adjust to your new home and housemates. Sometimes you may not agree with some of the things your new housemates are doing, but don’t let them dampen your spirits. But what if things don’t change and get better? Follow our list of how to survive dealing with difficult housemates,
In hindsight… Choose wisely.
Although it’s not always possible, deciding to move in with friends and others who you get along with and know well can reduce any problems you may have later in the year. Living with close university friends can even help strengthen and cement lifelong friendships. Having close friends as housemates means you are already familiar with their merits and faults. Having this insight into how others will behave whilst living together helps prevent potential friction between people who spend time together in close situations.
Dealing with Difficult Housemates
Set rules and boundaries
Nobody wants to be THAT person. Some personalities can come across as being bossy and force their ideas upon others. This can be challenging when you’re trying to bond relationships. Setting rules though can help with managing to keep everyone’s respect for each other in check. To avoid problems later down the line, try establishing clear goals for everybody to follow from the start. But try not to overstep boundaries where possible. In a property where everyone has their own personal room, remember that it is personal space to do with as they see fit. so try not to concern yourself with how they live in their own space. For common living areas though thought and consideration for others should come into play. Consider a schedule for chores and think about including things such as
- Cleaning Rota for the common areas.
- Who takes the bins and recycling out.
- Who is in charge of what tasks
With the grand idea that your shared house is going to be a 24/7 party house. You will quickly realise that actually, you might have to study too which may get tough to do if you have guests around and music constantly going. Consider setting boundaries about when others can come round or set quiet and study times. During periods where remote lectures and learning is being done, this is especially important. Everyone will have different timetables so try and arrange it so that it’s even and fair for everyone.
Consider noting it down somewhere that everyone can see.
Approach the issues sooner rather than later
Addressing issues early on helps prevent the build-up of resentment towards other peoples attitudes. Conflict of any kind is always an issue many people will try to put off. The earlier it’s addressed, however, will reduce the impact of emotions flaring out of control from any build-up of anger that has come from leaving issues to deal with at a later date. Some may view that addressing the issue early on may affect how others begin to treat them. Coming across to your housemates as potentially bossy, nagging or trying to assert some dominance over the group. You may worry this makes you seem not a “team” player with your housemates. But you should expect others to take your views into consideration as you would theirs, even if they don’t agree with them.
Talk is cheap and effective
Communication is just as important as the consideration of others. Talking frankly with those you feel in conflict with is the only way to resolve what the problem or issue is. One on one or with other housemates to help mediate. For a house of 3+ not talking to the person(s) you have issues with directly can only lead to other peoples views moving towards taking sides.
Anger when frustrated is human nature, we all have a fight or flight response. When conflict looms though always try to remember that anger cannot solve issues. If needed, walk away to calm down and gather your thoughts before attempting to address issues again. Getting a housemate or other 3rd party to mediate is a good way to ensure neither party is being unreasonable.
Find Common ground
In the end, no matter what issues you are facing in your household, you’re all in the same boat with the same end goals. Use this as a basis for finding common ground and build on it. Instinctively individuals have their own views on all matters, borne from personal experiences. You may not always agree with them. But if finishing the academic year is the destination, you have to collectively work together on the journey.
Ask for help when dealing with difficult housemates
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, you may be stuck on how to proceed to deal with a difficult housemate. Student unions advice centre should be your first point of call. They have dedicated student welfare officers and housing teams that deal with all aspects of student housing.
Sheffield University Student Union Advice Centre
Sheffield Hallam Student Union Advice Centre
Getting your landlord involved.
Remember that in a house share you are all responsible for looking after it. If actions are being taken by others that could result in damage to the property or complaints from others. Inform your landlord of the situation.
When issues between people have resulted in complete breakdown, it may be time to look on to new pastures. But this should only be the final step after all other avenues are exhausted. You need to be aware that you have signed a contract for your current property and should you need to vacate would be required to either fulfil it or find someone to take over your tenancy. Remember to check the terms of your tenancy agreement before you decide.
It’s not always as bad as you think
Although dealing with difficult housemates can happen, escalation to the point of a breakdown of communication and living arrangements is very very rare. Good communication, being open and honest with the people you live with and having a positive outlook towards situations that occur can all help everyone living in the property getting along.
About Thornsett Properties
Thornsett Properties have been letting to students since 1985. We supply housing to over 650 students studying in Sheffield every year. Thornsett Properties are property owners and not agents, meaning all our properties are managed by ourselves and not reliant on third parties. Our aim is to help you succeed whilst studying and living in our student accommodation in Sheffield.