Moving out of halls and into private accommodation is a rite of passage for many students and a great part of the experience of University life. One of the most important elements of this is that you are moving in with your friends made in the first year and the prospect of renting a place together is truly exciting. So with all this positivity, why should making an agreement be a consideration? In this article we will talk about some of the reasons why it might be a good idea for you and your housemates.
1. Great friends doesn’t always equal great to live with
One of the reasons you may consider making an agreement with your friends is to make sure that after you have lived with one another you will remain exactly that - as friends, just because they are great to be around doesn’t mean they will be a considerate house mate, and vice versa, you might not be as much of a delight to live with as you may wish to be. Perhaps playing music loudly after certain times or partying late into the night might be great in the first year, but this can be disruptive to your course performance if your housemates are not being considerate of your needs. Consider setting some mutual ground rules to put you all at ease.
2. Assumption is the source of all catastrophe
Have you ever gone for a meal with someone expecting to split the bill, only to find out they have left their wallet at home, or assumed it was your treat? Not a great situation to be in, but easy to occur if you're not all on the same page. What may be obvious to your house mates, may not be obvious for you. For example assuming its ok to bring guests back during exam time, or using a shisha in the living room so long as it’s only once a month. Talking about these things ahead of time and recording them really helps to make a happy household.
3. Everyone has different standards
Have you ever washed the dishes, only to find someone else re-washing them after you’ve finished, or maybe you are the re-washer? This is because we all have different definitions of done. Maybe you’re a fastidious cleaner, or you just rinse repeat, but when you share living spaces then having a level playing field of what everyone agrees to as a standard helps to lower the mercury and reduce friction in a house share.
4. Human memory isn’t as reliable as you might think
Unless you are a savant, the ability to have perfect recall is sadly limited, and generally not to be expected with the people you live with. Memories change over time, details become fuzzy and sometimes our unconscious biases help to mould those memories. Maybe before the move you all agree to split the bills equally, then once moving in the person in the smallest room starts to think they’ve got a bum deal and wants to be (rightly or wrongly) compensated by not paying as much. These conversations are much easier to have when you’ve all taken the time to discuss and record the agreements.
Now when it comes to making agreements, these don’t need to be overly complex or require you to make friends with a law student to ensure pro-bono contract drafting. They just need to be transparent and engaged in with all those involved. A great place to start could be opening up the conversation with your future housemates and jotting down a few ideas, and if you so desire, we at wegree have just the tool to get you started all for free, so if you want, give us a try.