People planning to study in London have a wide variety of housing options in the city. First-year students go straight into university halls that are within or conveniently located near the campus. This allows them to be more familiar with the campus and the university culture, and to get to know fellow students.
After their first year, students can choose whether to stay in the university halls or search for cheap student accommodation in London. There are different types of student housing to choose from: shared houses, private flats and hostel rooms.
Many university students opt for shared properties to lower their costs of rent. In a 2018 survey by Which? University, a website that helps students in the United Kingdom make more informed decisions about their higher education choices, 25 per cent of university students live in privately rented flats or homes.
The Benefits of Shared Living
Sharing a living space with others is a common solution for most students on a tight budget. With a housemate, you can divide your expenses for food, rent and utilities.
Rooming with others also lessens your responsibilities at the house. With two or more people, you can split the duties of doing chores such as laundry, cooking and cleaning. Shared living also helps you develop your social skills. You develop a closer bond with your friends if you’re rooming with them, and you widen your social circle by sharing your space with students with different lifestyles.
The Challenges of Rooming with Others
Sharing a house or flat with others, however, comes with several challenges. One of them is the lack of personal space. When your housemate is occupying, say, the only common area in the house or flat, it’s either you join them on that space or go someplace else.
Privacy is also another issue in shared accommodation. Your housemate might invite friends over for a party, disturbing your private time. It’s difficult when tension brews among housemates. Someone might get mad over someone who didn’t clean up or didn’t pay the bills on time. At other times, the conflict starts with a housemate taking an item without the owner’s permission.
Making Shared Living Manageable for Everyone
Communication is the key to successful shared living. It’s vital to gather regularly to make house rules, divide responsibilities and discuss schedules so that everyone knows where they stand. Hanging a large whiteboard detailing all the responsibilities also helps people keep track of what they need to do. You and your housemates can also share an online calendar on your phones so that you’re aware of each other’s schedules.
Having a space for common items helps lower incidents of people taking things without permission. For example, delegate a shelf for food available for sharing, such as biscuits and bags of chips. Set aside a shared house fund, in which everyone drops a bit of cash that can be used to buy house essentials like hand soap, toilet paper and cleaning materials.
Spending time together also helps improve relationships and ease tension in the house. Save a weekend for your housemates to cook together, clean the house or watch a movie. A few hours spent with them are an excellent opportunity to get to know each other, primarily if you used to be strangers.
Sharing a house helps bring down your expenses, but there’s the possibility of tension among people of different personalities. Proper communication and delegation is the key to minimising conflict and promoting harmony in a shared accommodation.