You may already have a place secured and need to fill a room, or you might be trying to find somewhere and need to join up with other students. No matter what, to find a flatmate that is right for you, you will need to assess what you want from a potential housemate. Here’s a checklist of the most important questions to ask could-be future flatmates before moving in.
1. Can they Afford it?
First and foremost, having matching budgets is crucial to picking the right flatmate for you. Paying rent and bills will be one of the constants of your university life, and one that can quickly turn sour if people owe others money. Making sure that you have matching budgets beforehand will ensure that you’re on a level playing field. Additionally, if you’re looking for a particular place that is out of their price range or vice versa, it’ll be clear whether you need to look elsewhere.
Everyone has different levels of acceptance when it comes to cleanliness. Typically, you’ll want to find a flatmate that matches yours. If you’re a tidy person, would this person be prepared to adhere to a cleaning rota or schedule? If not, then this could become a contentious issue during your tenancy.
This might not seem like a important issue, but when exams and revision come around it will be. Some students prefer to study in their university library, but others like to study at home. As such, a quiet living environment might be your preference. If a potential flatmate would rather have a sociable environment for their student flat, that person might not be the best fit for you.
4. Do they have Clashing Timetables to You?
Do you have to be up early on most mornings for lectures or seminars? Contrastingly, do you have later starts and as such work later into the evenings? Due to the fact that you have clashing timetables, the issues of noise can arise but also in terms of the overall living experience. The timetabling might mean that you don’t actually see much of your potential flatmate, which could be something that you’d ideally like not to happen.
5. Is your Friend a Suitable Flatmate?
Living with friends sounds like the perfect option. You know them and you have matching interests. However, make sure that they are a suitable person to live with for YOU. Assuming that everything will be ok just because you’re friends might work against you. There’s nothing worse than a fractured friendship.
6. Type of Student Accommodation
Different students have different expectations for their shared accommodation. Some want to find a place that has a living room, others might prioritise having an en suite for their bedroom. If you’re both looking for a similar type of student accommodation, then you’ll be more aware of whether a potential flatmate is the right person. Additionally, semester’s abroad and shorter lets can come into play. Iron out your ideal contract start and end dates to see if they on a similar page.
Do you intend to have your partner stay over or visa versa? It’s best to make this clear early so you both know where you stand on this front. This way if guests are due to stay frequently, you can organise a potential limit on visits that suit you both, and if some form of contribution to bills is necessary.
This can be a significant factor in finding the right housemate for you. Are they a smoker? Do they have pets? If you are a vegan or vegetarian, are you prepared to live with meat/fish eaters? By getting this out in the open early, you can quickly determine if a particular person is a good match. Furthermore, some students have a preference to live with other students with similar religious beliefs. If this applies to you, just ask them and you’ll know if they match your preferences.
9. Are They Organised When it Comes to Paying Bills?
Realising that you have a flatmate that has a tendency to pay bills late or requires some form of loan from you in the meantime can sour your student accommodation experience at university. Make sure that they are organised, punctual and responsible when it comes to paying bills and household costs.
10. Decide What You Want From a Flatmate
Ultimately, what exactly do you want from a potential flatmate? It’s ok to be honest to someone if you don’t think they’ll be a good fit for you. You have to find the right flatmate for you, with similar interests, budgets, priorities. At the end of the day, you want to have the best possible experience in your student accommodation, especially when you consider the significant costs of it.
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