Most students in the UK live in houses that they share with a couple of friends or class mates. Indeed, "shared living" has a lot of advantages for students, both practically and personally. First of all, it can significantly reduce costs for rent and utility bills, as each tenant only pays for his/her fair share of the total amount. Secondly, it can be a lot of fun to live with a group of like-minded people of the same age. You may move in with some old friends or make new ones by sharing a place with some fellow students. In sum, sharing a student house is a valuable experience for many young adults.
However, you will need some skills in household management and "house mate diplomacy"; otherwise shared living can quickly become a source of stress and conflicts. You should thus keep a few things in mind before you agree to move into a shared student house.
Know Your Housemates (Or at least try to...)
If you come from different part of the country -or even abroad- and you need a new place to stay a.s.a.p., you do not always have the chance to meet your future housemates before moving in and carefully assess whether they would actually make a good fit. Nevertheless, if you can manage to meet the people who might be sharing a roof with you, then please do it! Try to learn more about your house mates and how they tick and then decide whether it really is a good idea to move in with them.
Know Your Duties and Stick to the Rules of Conduct
Living with other students only works if all involved parties stick to a set of basic rules and share all responsibilities that come with renting a property. Truth is, this is sometimes easier said than done. It can take some serious skills in household diplomacy in order to make shared living a success and not a nuisance. You should discuss everything important regarding payments, cleaning- and maintenance duties and other relevant issues right at the start and seek a fair solution that shares all responsibilities evenly. Moreover, tenancy agreements mostly include certain rules of conduct that shouldn't be ignored. Each occupant has to know what he or she can and cannot do, when his or her share of the bills needs to be paid, and when it's his or her turn in cleaning the bathroom, taking the trash out etc. Organinsing all of these issues in a fair and efficient way will ease life for all tenants.
Enjoy (But do not let your degree suffer...)
Living in a student house can be a lot of fun and a great way to make lifelong friends. Usually, there is always somebody around for chat or who you can cook , watch movies, play games or "hang-out"/party with. There are countless ways of having fun and making your student experience a ball. Indeed, this is one of the main benefits of shared living: it gives you. However, this should not impede your academic progress! Try to find a reasonable balance between hang-outs and work. Organise your week accordingly.