The Edinburgh Realty eNewsletter

Issue #119 | March 2023


Six top tips: Living with flatmates in harmony

Ah, flatting! Whether you’re an old hand or new to the sorrows and joys of living with housemates, there’s always the potential for tricky situations. Breeze through those awkward moments and side-step each other’s toes with our six top tips for living in harmony with flatmates.

  1. Rules rule. Before the good flat “Harmony” sets sail, nail some basic house rules to the mast. Make sure everybody is on board, and happy to abide by the guidelines and expectations you’ve agreed on.

  2. Stay afloat. A flat’s finances can be its biggest curse. Be proactive and discuss how to keep bills fair. Pay close attention to hot water and personal heating use, shared bathroom, kitchen and cleaning product purchases, and the process for paying on time. One brave soul will then need to put their name to the bill payments, and manage them.

  3. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. people, property and privacy. Never assume. Always ask before using someone’s toothpaste. Set boundaries, tell your flatmates what you’re happy to share and what’s off-limits. Get a sense of each other’s schedules for work, exams and play, so you can tiptoe when you need to, and turn up the music when you’re all in the mood.

  4. Share a yarn or two. Make an effort to get to know your flatmates better, to find shared interests and experiences. Life’s a lot more fun when you can chat and relax in each other’s company. It can also smooth the way to discussing awkward topics like “I think someone might be using my expensive shampoo.”

  5. Use your words. Speak up, before petty resentments build and fester, and be prepared to compromise. Keep calm, and take care with your words. Avoid writing them on the bathroom mirror or taping them to the microwave, or venting to other flatmates. Talk directly to the person at fault. And hope it isn’t you!

  6. All hands on deck. This rule is gold: every time you use an area you share - kitchen, living room, bathroom etc - make sure it’s clear and clean when you’re done. Then map out a regular deep-clean of those shared spaces to fairly share among the crew.