5 tips to help avoid the housemate from hell

Posted: by August 3rd, 2009

The crunch for many means that demand for rented accommodation is at an all time high. There are a few occasions in life when you will not only be renting a home, but you may also be living with complete strangers.  If you are in the unenviable position of being a single someone, or a group of students who only need to sublet one room, picking your flat mate is akin to picking your other half – fraught with pitfalls!

The horror tales of a flatmates toenails being left on the communal sofa, or unwashed cups cultivating bacteria that would make Louis Pasteur proud, only serve as a warning to students and singletons in need of someone to share their homes with.

Luckily for you PropertyPal.com are here to help you navigate the minefield that is renting or sub-letting a property in Northern Ireland.

1) Ask plenty of questions

questions6 One of the key ways to determine if you are about to share a home with a bunny boiler, is to ask plenty of questions. It may seem a little formal, but upon invitation to view your home or flat, you can ask them a couple of simple questions to find out more about them.

Just let them know that to help determine how compatible you think they would be; that you are asking everyone a few standard questions. Favourite Food, what they do for entertainment, that sort of thing.  Ask them their good points and bad points, and / or good and bad habits to help determine if they are a match for the people who already live their. If you aren’t comfortable asking outright, just print off a quick survey that they can fill in over a cup of tea.

2) Spot the single confident ones

single-confident1 Whilst the majority of would be house hunters will be nervously darting their eyes around your freshly bleached bathroom, taking in their surroundings like a startled mouse, the seasoned professional will carry an aloofness and confidence like they’ve done it all before.  Chances are if they are used to moving home, its either because their existing  flatmates could no longer face to live with them, or they enjoy the thrill of the chase. You have been warned – it’s a much safer bet to take on two people who have lived with each other before, than a singleton, that some other subletters have gladly kicked out. See asking questions for the reason’s they are moving, and make sure they tick the “genuine reasons for move” box.

3) Get a second date

second-date3 Just like you wouldn’t declare you are dating someone after a first introduction, its also a good idea to socialise with your respective housemate for an evening to see if you are likely to get along. Personality clashes are not uncommon, and there’s nothing like getting trollied and having a good time to bring out the best and worse in people. If you aren’t comfortable going out for a drink, you could tone it down with a date at the cinema with your fellow housemates – invite your prospective roomie to bring a friend along as it may also let you see if they have any nutty mates.

4) Sell your personality

personality In order to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, the first step in finding the perfect housemate is to sell your own personality, and the personalities of your fellow room mates. Make sure that anyone replying to your advertisement has a fair idea of what you would be like to live with in the first instance. If you happen to be into sport, dropping in that the property is situated close to the local football ground might attract a likeminded individual. Likewise, if you are into music, mention that it is walking distance from “insert Northern Irirsh music venue here”. With the majority of rental adverts being dull and boring, making yours stand out from the rest of the crowd – shouldn’t be too difficult.

5) Have a trial period

clock-period The all important trial period allows you to see if things are going to work out or not, and is the only way to really get to know someone.

You can stipulate that subject to the entire house voting them in (I know – a bit Big Brother, but what the heck) – they will be granted a full lease. This gives you an easy way out, without hurting anyones feelings. Perfect.


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