Whether you’re looking at student accommodation for the year ahead of you’re a graduate with an internship in the city, the chances are that you have considered renting in a shared property. Sure, you’ll get more privacy when you rent by yourself, you’ll never have to fight over who uses the bathroom first, and you can make as much noise as you want, but there are some surprising benefits to sharing a house with others. We’ve rounded up the biggest…
Moving to another part of the country for work or to study can be daunting, and you’ll likely want to make friends as soon as you can. Sharing a house helps you make friends from day one. Whether you’re moving in together or you’re replacing someone who is leaving, you’ll form part of a dysfunctional family and make friends for life. It might be a bit awkward on day one and John on the third floor might frustrate you when he doesn’t wash the dishes, but knowing that you’ve got someone to come home to makes life in the city a little less lonely.
Another benefit to living with others in a shared house is learning new cultures and ideas. It’s easy to study at university and spend all of your time with people who look and sound like you, but living with those from different cultures and backgrounds will broaden your horizons, challenge your opinions, and help you become a more well-rounded person. Stepping out of your comfort zone and getting to know people who are sharing your house is so much fun, and as new flatmates come and go over time, you’ll never be short of exciting conversations.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of sharing a house with others is to save money. Though you will be renting a larger property than you would on your own, you’ll only pay for your share of the bills (made even easier when using a household bills-splitting service like Billing Better). You’ll need a smaller deposit, your utilities will be split four or six ways, and everyday essentials like toilet paper and cleaning supplies can be shared, too. Depending on who you live with, you might even split the grocery bill and cook for one another, and of course, you will only need to pay for some of the furnishings (your bedroom, and a share of communal areas like living rooms if a new sofa is needed). Make sure that everyone who’s living in your shared property pays their fair share and is listed by name on the tenancy agreement.
One of the biggest downsides of living on your own is that you’re responsible for everything. If you forget to put the bins out on Friday, you’ll have to wait another week. If you don’t do the dishes, your kitchen will smell. If you forget to vacuum the carpet before an inspection from your landlord, you could be penalised. Sharing a house means that household chores can be shared, and duties can be rotated so you’re not doing the same thing every week.
It’s easy to feel alone and vulnerable when working or studying far away from home. But knowing that you have a houseful of friends will make life easier. You’ll never have to worry about someone breaking into your apartment at 3 am, and you’ll always have someone to call if you need a lift home after a night out. You’ll build lasting bonds with your new flatmates and you can be there for each other through the good times and the bad. Just remember that they’ll need you as much as you need them - be a good friend and respect everyone.
Living in a shared house certainly isn’t for everyone, but for most of us, it’s a sensible and economical choice - with some real benefits to boot. Check back to the Billing Better blog soon for more tips on living in shared accommodation; we publish new posts every week!