10 things housemates should never do
18 February 2016, 09:47
You see the ads everywhere: Housemate wanted to share house/apartment. Room available immediately.
It could be the start of a friendship, just a good house-sharing relationship, or a total nightmare.
It’s an experience everyone has to go through at some stage.
I was twenty when I moved into a flat with someone I thought I knew. Clearly I didn’t. Within weeks, without discussing it with me, her troglodyte of a new boyfriend was spending 90% of his time there. He burped and farted all the time and was just downright offensive. Next thing there were two rescue cats, both of whom turned out to be pregnant, so two people and nine cats ended up sharing a space not much larger than the average bathroom. I had to be very stern indeed, effectively ending the friendship.
And now I know that these things need to be discussed before you become housemates. And that in the end it all boils down to one thing: consideration.
So what are the things that a good housemate would never do?
1. Eat your food. Few things make people this angry. It’s one thing using condiments, and quite another eating the half a lasagne you were saving for your own supper. Never eat someone else’s food unless they offer it to you.
2. Leave shared areas in a mess. Dirty kitchens and bathrooms cause massive irritation. Dirty dishes in the sink, wet towels on the floor, a rim around the bath – just don’t do it. It shows a lack of respect.
3. Borrow your stuff without asking. Whether it’s a DVD, a jersey, a pan or your laptop, other people’s stuff isn’t yours to do with as you please. Paying rent does not entitle you to using everything in the house.
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4. Not paying the rent on time. Failing to do this has all sorts of negative knock-on effects, such as an angry landlord.
5. Inviting people over constantly. Now and then yes, but not constantly. Your housemates also need peace and quiet sometimes. They need to be told in advance if you’re planning a party or a get-together with friends. Loud music us also not always welcome.
6. Bringing in pets without asking. Many places have a no-pet policy. And also, you housemates might not like having a cat, a dog or a hamster in the house. It’s their prerogative.
7. Inviting people to stay and not telling you. Sleep-over guests, whether it’s for one night or three weeks, need to be cleared by housemates, unless you have made another agreement beforehand.
8. Not doing half of the cleaning. Floors need to be washed, toilets need cleaning, vacuuming is essential – these tasks need to be shared equally, preferably by way of a work chart. If that doesn’t work, employ a domestic worker and pay her wages together.
9. Not paying their way. Stuff costs, and things such as toilet paper and washing up liquid should be shared 50/50. It is the responsibility of everyone who lives in the house, as is the paying of a fair share of the electricity bill, online connections, DStv and so forth. It should never be a battle to get this money out of a housemate. Excessive use of things such as heaters also drive up costs and can be hugely irritating.
10. Drinking/drugging. The odd beer is probably fine, but if your housemate and his/her friends are regularly out of it at home, it is no fun for the other people who live there. And if things get sufficiently out of control, pretty soon your housemate won’t be able to pay the rent either.
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