Welcome back to a new year! Your new term is due to start within the next week. That means back to study and – in some cases – could mean a return to frictions with one or more housemates. It’s going to be a long winter term if the causes of friction have not yet been sorted out and it could, during these cold and dark months, come to a head. But harmony is vital in an HMO. Here are the main causes of friction and what to do about them.
A Messy Flat
We all have different tolerances on what does and does not constitute a mess. Some prefer spick and span while others see no problem with leaving stuff all over any available surface. When one housemate is messier than everybody else, it creates the impression that they just don’t care. Resentment increases when everyone else ends up tidying up after them.
What to do about it: A new term is a great chance to lay down some ground rules and for everyone to get their frustrations out into the open. Aim to keep shared spaces free of mess.
A Partner Who is Always There
The problem of a partner who rarely seems to go home to their own accommodation can be problematic on two fronts. The first is cabin fever and the lack of space. The second is that they don’t pay any contribution towards the bills. The problem is exacerbated if they are not a student and are eating food and using utilities that student tenants must pay for.
What to do about it: It’s time to set down some mutually-agreed standards on having partners stay over, particularly over bills. When overcrowding is the problem, suggest the splitting time between each other’s pads.
A Constant Stream of Visitors
Worse than a partner who never leaves is the flatmate who has lots of visitors every day. This is potentially a security risk and can make some housemates uncomfortable at yet another stranger in their home. It also makes it feel more like a railway station than a flat.
What to do about it: Suggest that the social butterfly meet people out of the flat instead of bringing them home. This is important as some students have exams in January and require privacy and quiet.
Hogging the Facilities
Television viewing is easier now with catch up services, but not all programmes go onto the web later and there is still something magical about watching something at the time of broadcast. However, the television is not the only facility. If somebody spends all their free time streaming video services they are going to take up a lot of bandwidth, slowing down the internet for everybody else.
What to do about it: Ask the web addict to tone down their internet use at core times or perhaps consider upgrading your service. Develop a television schedule in advance too.