House sharing with people who aren’t friends, family, or a significant other may sound strange, but it’s a common practice all over the world. When you’re temporarily sharing a house with others, etiquette can be tough to navigate. Each household has their own unique way of doing things, but here are some universal etiquette tips that should be appreciated anywhere.
1.) Cleaning Up
No one likes to live with a slob, and not doing your fair share of housework will inevitably create friction in a house sharing situation. If you’re the guest, you aren’t responsible for taking care of the entire house, but you are responsible for cleaning common spaces that you’ve dirtied. Do your dishes, wipe off counters after using them, vacuum and sweep up your crumbs, and even scrub the toilet you use from time to time.
If you’re the host, you may want to consider coming up with a chore schedule to ensure there are no grey areas on communal cleanliness. Do your part to keep common areas clean for your guest so they feel comfortable, but you don’t have to be their maid, either.
2.) Cooking and Groceries
Let’s face it, people can get territorial about their food. In a house sharing environment, it’s important to discuss meals and groceries. If the host (or guest) likes to cook big family dinners, plan out grocery funds ahead of time to ensure costs are balanced. If the guest likes to prepare small meals for themselves, work out storage and kitchen scheduling to avoid confusion on who is cooking what and when.
3.) Pet Care
Anytime a pet is introduced to a new household, tensions can be high. It can take a while for a pet to adjust to new people, and depending on the people, pets can be a hard adjustment for them, too. When pets are involved in house sharing, it’s a good idea to establish expectations for the pet’s behavior and care. Is the pet not allowed in certain rooms? Can they have table scraps? Is everyone okay with taking care of the pet as needed? It’s important to have these discussions in the beginning of the house sharing partnership.
In a house sharing arrangement, it’s highly likely that at some point, the host or guest will want to invite friends, family, and/or significant others to the house. Before visitors arrive, it’s crucial to have discussions about the number of visitors, frequency, noise levels, and occupying communal spaces. Throwing a party is a lot different than a hosting a weekly study group or book club, so it’s helpful to let the other members of the household know what to expect and what boundaries need to be respected.
When you enter a house sharing agreement, trust is fundamental. For a host, they must be prepared to hand over house keys or garage security codes to their guests. Both parties may have valuables that need to be respected. In the digital age, things like Wi-Fi and Netflix passwords come into play as well. To ensure the entire household feels safe, it’s wise to work out security details early on.
Need more tips? Connect Room & Board has an entire page on conversation starter ideas to facilitate these discussions. Click here to learn more!