The Flatmates that Break Your Bank
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The Flatmates that Break Your Bank

The Flatmates that Break Your Bank

Sofa-sloth flatmates, dirty dishes, fridge pickers and wandering knickers- these are a few of the house share gripes you will face as you head to university.

Renting as a group is a great way to share the costs of living, but the excitement of your independence can soon be undermined as the inconveniences come to light.

A recent UK report from Asda Money has unveiled the top house share hardships students have to face, including sinks packed full of dirty dishes, lazy housemates not doing their bit around the house and sneaky fridge raiders eating food that doesn’t belong to them.

Uncleanliness and dishonesty are certainly not positive attributes, but the real concern for students’ lies in security and financial issues; services like heating and phone lines can be cut off if payments are not met, and failure to pay fees for things like Council Tax or a TV License can even land you in court.

Issues such as these can also be detrimental to your future as they can result in a bad credit score, which can cause major problems if you need to take out a loan or mortgage. More often than not, this will even be the case if you have paid your share of the bill.

Forgetting about open doors and windows puts everyone in the property at risk, and almost 90 percent of UK student renters have had to pay up to £100 from their own pocket at the fault of their housemates.

Expensive items such as iPhones, tablets, laptops and iPads can end up damaged from the reckless actions of others, causing major financial and work troubles for the victim, and plenty of unwanted stress.

Other irritating habits include not paying rent on time, leaving the phone bill unpaid, allowing unwelcome pets in the house and the theft of underwear.

Top 10 Renting Gripes

1. Leaving dirty dishes in the sink

2. Not getting help with housework

3. Eating food that belongs to someone else

4. Not replacing essentials such as milk, bread, toilet roll etc.

5. Leaving marks on the carpet and/or furniture

6. Bringing strangers home

7. Leaving windows open all day and night

8. Lost keys

9. Leaving doors on the latch/open

10. Leaving the water running

Michael Turner, a spokesman for Asda Money, said: “Living in a house share can be a fun and exciting time. Enjoying your own freedom, meeting new people and sharing experiences are all great elements of renting.

“However, it is occasionally the people we live with that can dampen the renting experience.”

When it comes to the financial worries of living in a shared house, these useful tips from the Money Advice Service should help keep the peace:

1. Work out exactly how the bills need to be shared

At the start of your tenancy, you should all sit down together and work out how you need to split the bills. You should typically budget for:

– Council Tax
– Gas and Electricity
– Water
– TV License
– Home Phone and Broadband

List everything you need to contribute to and then work out the total monthly cost; then, divide it by the number of tenants so each housemate can pay their fair share.

2. Pay via Direct Debit

Direct Debit is the most convenient and cost-effective way to pay your bills. Using this method also ensures that payments are made on time, provided there are enough funds in the bill-payer’s account.

The easiest way to do this is to nominate one tenant to set up the payment from their personal account. The rest of the tenants can then set up a standing order so their share goes into the bill-payer’s account every month.

An alternative would be to open a joint current account that each housemate can pay their share into. The Direct Debit can then be set up using money in the joint account. This should only be done with close, trusted friends as your credit score will be linked with whoever shares the account.

Once the tenancy has ended, be sure to cancel the account and any Direct Debits.

3. Set up a communal kitty for essentials

No one should have to pay more than their share for essentials like milk, bread and toilet roll. Setting up a household kitty where everyone can contribute change for the essentials is a great way to avoid unwanted conflict.

4. Use an App

Avoid the difficulty of calculations and let a handy Web App do all the work for you. Tools like Splitwise and Splittable make easy work of splitting bills and keeping track of payments- and the best thing is they are completely free.

These handy Apps can even split the rent based on room size and amenities, which is only fair if some have much bigger rooms than others.

In gaining your independence and moving away from home, you quickly learn that being friends and living together are two completely different concepts. It is essential you think carefully about who you want to live with as you will continuously recognise their each and every flaw.

Among the most important lessons you will learn from your time at university is the necessity of compromise, the importance of curtesy, and what you are/are not willing to put up with from people around you.

Image via Shutterstock.

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