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10 classic student house arguments - and how to avoid them

Messy kitchens, missing food and unpaid bills: the joys of shared living

Olivia Newman
Wednesday 16 October 2013 12:50 BST

Living in a student house can be one of university’s greatest pleasures – but there are arguments that will happen. Who knew that not doing the washing up or coming in late could cause such a stir?

Who gets the biggest room when moving in

There’s always one housemate who is convinced they have some kind of entitlement when it comes to nabbing the biggest room. Solutions:

  • Weight the rent, so the person with the biggest room pays more
  • Draw straws

The utter mess in the kitchen

You come home from a long day at uni and can’t get to the sink because of the sky high pile of pots and pans. Solutions:

  • Use the wash up as you are going along rule – nothing stays unwashed for over 30 minutes
  • Have a washing up/drying up/tidy kitchen rota
  • Put the dirty washing up in the bed of the person who refuses to do it

The housemate who always has their boyfriend/girlfriend over to stay

Their name is not on the lease, they definitely do not live at your house, but you see them more than some other housemates. And they’re always PDA-ing on the couch. Solutions:

  • Explain why it’s annoying. It’s not personal, you just want some space back
  • Suggest if they are going to stay over that much, then maybe they should contribute to rent/bills
  • Maliciously and coldheartedly plan to split them up

How to pay and split the bills

So the joint account seemed like a good idea until people’s money stopped going in and the direct debit ‘bounced’ (incurring a charge), and the electricity bill was forgotten about (another charge) which was surprisingly massive anyway, and someone’s in South America for three months and God knows what happened to the sixth housemate. Solutions:

  • Get everyone to put in more money than will be needed in the account as soon as loans are paid – then pay excess back (this is a good way of saving a little reserve cash too)
  • Becoming ‘self-sufficient’ – make your own electricity with a giant hamster wheel, and use candles and oil lamps for light

Taking too long in the bathroom

What are they doingin there? Solutions:

  • Have a kind word about the fact there’s only one bathroom
  • If you need to get ready at similar times frequently, alternate between who goes first
  • Next time they’re in the bath, bust the door open and jump in with them

When they stumble casually through the door at 3am, waking everybody up the night before a tutorial or exam


  • Make sure your housemates know if you have to be up early for something. Likewise let them know if you intend to be back pretty late
  • Invest in some ear plugs. We recommend the wax ones
  • Change the locks/board up the door every night at 11pm

Food stealing, ‘borrowing clothes’ etc

"It was just there so I took it..." Solutions:

  • Label your stuff so that it’s obvious what is yours
  • Mark out individual fridge shelf space and cupboard space
  • Agree that if someone is going to borrow something they must ask first
  • Buy a lock

Who can’t cook, who won’t cook?

Why is it always you left to cook? How come as soon as you start making something they jump on it? Solutions:

  • Draw up a cooking rota so you know whose turn it is
  • Don’t criticize people’s cooking standards. Try and help them improve

How one housemate has no regard for security

Is it really that difficult to shut a window or lock a door properly? You really don’t want your iPad to become someone else's iPad. Solutions:

  • Explain that you are concerned; you just prefer to be on the safe side
  • Put a little sign on the door/windows as reminders before people leave

When there’s a suggestion of living with other people next year

So it’s a bit awkward talking about where you are going to live next year... Solutions:

  • Sit down and talk rationally about the situation, what works and what doesn’t. Actually have a ‘meeting’
  • Look at the pros and cons, understand everyone’s thinking and concerns
  • Get a one bedroom place and shun all human contact

Good luck, may your year be as argument-free as possible. We’re sure you’ll have a ball.

Advice provided by Proceed at your own risk...

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