When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Practical arrangements

Sorting out the practical arrangements at the beginning of a tenancy can prevent disputes arising later on. Once you've signed a tenancy agreement you've committed to living with your flatmates for a defined period of time. It's worth agreeing how you're going to sort out chores and bills and laying down some ground rules.

Set up some ground rules

Living with someone else, even someone you know very well can present a lot of challenges. If you're going to be sharing your home with others, it's a good idea to set up some ground rules. Here are some of the things you should think about:

  • your room – do you want your room to be out of bounds to other housemates?
  • having guests – can friends or partners stay over, and, if so, how often?
  • housework – is it worthwhile setting up a rota to cover chores?
  • parties – do you need to work out a policy for noise and late nights?
  • your stuff – are you happy for others to use your toiletries and food or would you rather keep them separate?

Work out who pays for what

When you're sharing, it's important that everyone pays their way. When you're on a tight budget, it can be incredibly annoying if you get stuck with an unexpected bill.

Electricity and phone companies may require that bills are paid by direct debit. If this is the case, one person will have to set up the charge on their account. You should agree a system to make sure this person gets paid by everyone using the amenity in advance. If you're using a meter system to pay for your electricity or heating, you should keep a record of who pays what to avoid any future disagreements.

Some people keep a kitty to pay for household goods like light bulbs and washing up liquid. This means that everyone is contributing to the cost of the household. You should also consider what will happen if something in the property gets damaged, who will be responsible for replacing or repairing this item?