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How to choose a housemate?

PearlyPearly Posts: 345 The Mix Regular
What do you look for in a housemate (i.e. what's an important first impression or what should you ask when you're interviewing them?) Have you any horror stories to tell of housemates that looked normal when you met them, but ended up being completely crazy?!

This is research for a possible new article, should be quite handy if you're looking for tips on how to interview a potential housemate and so on...

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oh god housemates. i lived with a greek cypriate girl in my first year and her boyfriend lodged with us. he was stoned 24/7 and she nearly burnt the flat down when she attempted to use the grill. we told her to keep frying everything. they used to have screaming arguements in greek at all times. oh how i don't miss them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have had so many nightmares regarding housemates. My life has improved 100 per cent since living on my own and not having to put up with other people's habits.

    The first time I did a houseshare, I chose to move in to the house on the basis that I fancied the guy who lived there. :blush: When I went to view it he was really friendly (and fit :D)

    The night I moved in, he opened a bottle of red wine and er, we ended up getting closely aquainted. (We didn't have sex but there was kissing and drunken rolling around).

    That's probably not the best way to choose a housemate but it worked out ok.

    If I ever had to share again (god forbid, apart from a husband/partner or very close friend), my essential questions would be:
    Do you smoke? I can not live with a smoker.

    What's your attitude about people staying over? It can be pretty annoying when you only share with one person but they have another person pracically living there, using bathroom and adding to bills but not contributing.

    What's your usual bedtime in the week?

    Are you housetrained? I've lived with far too many guys who wee all over the toilet seat, leave pubes in the sink (how do they get there??!) and are generally revolting.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    One of my mates has just moved out of a house because he couldn't cope with living there any more.

    In his case he was the tenant and the other person was the live in owner. (Student type thing, her parents had bought the house, she lived in it and rented some rooms out).

    She seemed nice enough when he met her, she said she was a bit obsessive about keeping the place tidy but that was it, but turned out she had OCD and was struggling with depression. She self harmed and tried to OD a couple of times.

    While it wasn't her fault she was like this, it's a lot for someone you don't really know to put up with and puts a huge strain on the other house mates.

    I guess you can't ask someone whether they have any mental health problems, but it's worth bearing in mind while you interview them and watch out for odd habits.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    1st house - My old houseshare with students (2002) was fantastic. 7 tennants in all (!) although it was a big house. Everyone were outgoing and were always up for 1-2 nights out per week. My only gripe was that one of the housemates was very untidy and never did his bit for the chore rota.

    2nd house - This time a 5-bedroom houseshare (2003) with normal earning workers. The house was kept very tidy (which I like) but the housemates stayed in the bedrooms for longer than what I deemed sociable. I got into a habit of playing computer games while I was in and then basing my social life outside of the house. I ended up living there for 3-and-a-bit years. Most of the rooms changed ownership in that time bar myself and one other housemate. That housemate finally got arrested for assult. Seemed a very nice guy face to face, then chose an evening at random for his outburst. There were two other troubled housemates during the earlier part of my stay (2003) - one got kicked out due to drug addiction... police searches, everything :-) The other attempted suicide, as he moved here to leave his wife and wanted to reverse it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmm, I'd say ask for references, it's always good if you can see someone elses impression of what they were like to live with. Personally I would always ask if someone smoked too, as with the experience of my current flat (flatmates smoke cannabis a lot, so flat always smells and my clothes also smell as I hang them up to dry in the living room where they smoke a lot :( ) I would be reluctant to live with someone who smoked again. That's just a personal preference though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    About 10 years ago I shared a flat with a drug dealer, a crack addict and an alcoholic! FUN TIMES!!! We had people banging on the door at all times of the night, you never knew who you would find in the flat when you got in from work and you could never leave anything of any value lying around. The place was always minging and stank really badly.

    They all moved on and one replacement that stuck in my mind was Maff - he was only 15/16 - he didn't eat solid food and lived in a nest he had made in his bedroom. He never washed up his manky pans that he used to cook his rice pudding in and I would have to rescue them from his nest every so often. He was a nice enough bloke, never spoke unless he was drunk.

    I didn't have any say in any of my flatmates, the landlord used to find them (god knows where) and they would just appear on the doorstep with their belongings
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have allllllllll this to look forward to but I'm determined to be a lovely flatmate :angel:

    My ex boyfriend's flatmates were all weirdos.

    1) Reckoned he was a goth, majorly into final fantasy, ate nothing but mayo sandwiches and drank coke while watching Cartoon Network 24/7. He was 24.

    2) Oh god he was a nutter. He had a square head and took too many drugs for his own good. If any girl sat in the living room then he would just stare you out and when you asked 'what?' then acted all offended and came back to reality.

    3) The other guy just pure stank.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Backgrounds and references!

    One word - BACKGROUND.

    Ask where they work / study (and how long for) and use references. Have they lived alone or in shared housing before (and where)? My Landlord never, ever gives out keys straight away - everyone visits at least twice before being allowed to move in or not...

    ... but even then it doesn't always work!! I live with the landlord and 2 other lodgers (plus cat!) and the new person is NOT what we expected... in fact, New Arrival is the reason I registered here in the early hours of this morning.

    We realised "Charlie" wasn't particularly bright, what we didn't know is that Charlie just can't deal with life. So we've all been driven up the wall by Charlie's three second memory span and need to do things on the "right days" to make sure they get done... but still leaving stuff in the bathroom and wandering off mid-conversation??

    In short, if you aren't sure don't let them in (and if you notice problems after they arrive, nip it straight in the bud). We're currently at the point of not knowing whether Charlie can be evicted, if we should basically ignore Charlie in their own home, or should get in touch with Charlie's employer??
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    About 10 years ago I shared a flat with a drug dealer, a crack addict and an alcoholic! FUN TIMES!!! We had people banging on the door at all times of the night, you never knew who you would find in the flat when you got in from work and you could never leave anything of any value lying around. The place was always minging and stank really badly.

    They all moved on and one replacement that stuck in my mind was Maff - he was only 15/16 - he didn't eat solid food and lived in a nest he had made in his bedroom. He never washed up his manky pans that he used to cook his rice pudding in and I would have to rescue them from his nest every so often. He was a nice enough bloke, never spoke unless he was drunk.

    I didn't have any say in any of my flatmates, the landlord used to find them (god knows where) and they would just appear on the doorstep with their belongings

    :nervous: why the fuck didn't you move out ... out of interest...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    just live in a huuuuuge house - the more people there the less likely you're going to have problems with falling out with people. if you live with say 3 other people and 2 of you fall out, you're buggered. :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    lucifer devil, that's trange but true... :) Nearly all my freinds lives in all student / all professional houses (never a mixture!) and that works MUCH better than Mr.Office telling Mr.Student that "you hould do the chores because you work less hours than me" at the weekends!!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    lucifer devil, that's trange but true... :) Nearly all my freinds lives in all student / all professional houses (never a mixture!) and that works MUCH better than Mr.Office telling Mr.Student that "you hould do the chores because you work less hours than me" at the weekends!!

    plus if you mix them you have the problem of council tax
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My landlord accepts either, but lays down the Law about standards (which is why I moved here after my last Landlord and is ironicaly now causing such trouble)!! :) He's evicted people before, and doesn't try to be mates with everyone. Strange thing is, he's YOUNGER than two of us!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    otter wrote: »
    :nervous: why the fuck didn't you move out ... out of interest...

    Because by the time it got that bad I had no-where else to go - fell out big time with parents and controlling boyfriend saw all my friends off :( The rent was paid a month in arrears, there was no deposit on the room and I owed hundreds of pounds to the landlord cos of a cock up housing benefit made and I was black listed for credit. When your rent is paid in arrears you basically have no hope (when claiming JSA) to be able to get far enough ahead with your finances to afford 2 months rent in advance for a new place.

    When I fell pregnant the landlord took pity, sorted the place out as best he could and moved me to the downstairs 2 bedroom flat when my son arrived. I had to leave that place when the ceiling fell in on us!!! By that time the arrears were down to a minimum and I was allowed a bank account that could do standing orders so I paid him back monthly from my new posh place.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Because by the time it got that bad I had no-where else to go - fell out big time with parents and controlling boyfriend saw all my friends off :( The rent was paid a month in arrears, there was no deposit on the room and I owed hundreds of pounds to the landlord cos of a cock up housing benefit made and I was black listed for credit. When your rent is paid in arrears you basically have no hope (when claiming JSA) to be able to get far enough ahead with your finances to afford 2 months rent in advance for a new place.

    When I fell pregnant the landlord took pity, sorted the place out as best he could and moved me to the downstairs 2 bedroom flat when my son arrived. I had to leave that place when the ceiling fell in on us!!! By that time the arrears were down to a minimum and I was allowed a bank account that could do standing orders so I paid him back monthly from my new posh place.

    :( ... at least you're somewhere better now
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Pitfalls of interviewing housemates

    I've lived in my current houseshare for nearly 4 years now and seen loads of people come and go. I guess I've been very lucky in that I haven't had anybody truely dodgy move in, though the process of having a stranger move in is always awkward.

    Interviewing prospective housemates can backfire on you. One guy who moved in a few years ago seemed fantastic- he was a freelance graphic designer who used to be in a band. We both liked films, had similar tastes in music and got on well for the first few days. He seemed cut out to be the best housemate ever, and then almost overnight he just turned into a raving paranoid lunatic! He was convinced that I was suspicious of him and that I resented his working at home. He bore a year long grudge at me for having my radio on in the morning once, which he claimed had disturbed his sleep. He worked at home! He didn't even have to get up in the morning! I turned it off and apologised straight away when he complained! He would argue with you about anything to the point where he would become abusive, even threatening physical violence on a few occaisions. If he had a beef with you about anything, no matter how trivial (eg: 'You left some crumbs in the kitchen when you made your sandwiches this morning! Why should I have to live in your shit? You mucky c***!') , he would wait for you to come home and row with you, sometimes very late at night if it were a Friday or Saturday. Occasionally he would perform a miraculous personality change to become nice and engaging, but it was always for the purposes of listing good deeds as capital in later arguments. Moody, unstable and quite possibly mentally ill, everone avoided this collossal toerag who was feared and loathed in equal measure. And the reason he bore me in particular such ill will? I got the truth out of him the glorious day he finally slung his hook. It was because I had 'acted all suspicious of him' on the day he came to view the house by asking too many questions. As I recall the most penetrative inquiry I made was to ask him what kind of work he did.

    Our house works oddly because when a tennant wants to leave they have to find their replacement themselves and get them to pay their deposit to them. So when I moved in I had to pay the outgoing guy 200 quid and when I move out, whoever replaces me will have to give me 200 quid. Because of this, some housemates can't be bothered to interview people and just let the first person who wants the room move in without consulting us. The other side of this is that an outgoing housemate will arrange to have the prospective newbie turn up to meet everyone, and they either can't be bothered to shuffle out of their bedrooms for five minutes or are out. This hasn't been as bad a system as it sounds (so far, touch wood) and some of the randoms who've turned up here have gone on to become good friends. The thing is that a houseshare is never going to be perfect. I bitch about certain other members of the household being tardy with billing and not cleaning up after themselves, but to be honest I'd rather have that than pay through the nose to live alone in a bedsit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    lucifer devil, that's trange but true... :) Nearly all my freinds lives in all student / all professional houses (never a mixture!) and that works MUCH better than Mr.Office telling Mr.Student that "you hould do the chores because you work less hours than me" at the weekends!!

    I would never flat share with a professional whilst i am a student, however i would love to say "you earn more money, you pay my rent"
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