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Student Accommodation

9 tricky housemates and how to deal with them

When you're in uni halls and student houses, you'll discover all sorts of people you never knew existed. From the messy to the spoilt, we'll show you how to handle them!

annoying housemate dirty dishes

Credit: Torwaistudio (left), Paul Michael Hughes (right) – Shutterstock

Your first few weeks in shared accommodation might pass by in a friendly, vodka-fuelled haze, but pretty soon you may end up realising that there are many different types of annoying housemate you never knew existed.

As the dirty dishes pile up, opened cans of old tuna start appearing in the fridge and you run out of clean forks three times a daythe cracks in the friendly house dynamic might slowly start to appear.

Worse still, there's not just one type of nightmare housemate – they fall into several categories. While we'd never encourage stereotyping, labelling tricky flatmates in this way makes it much easier to work out how to handle them!

Being friends and living together are two very different things, and your relationship with someone may be more suited to one than the other. Keep this in mind if you're planning on moving in with your bestie!

How to live with annoying housemates

  1. The Spoilt Brat

    veruca salt spoilt brat

    Credit: Paramount Pictures

    The Spoilt Brat is a common entity at uni, and if you live with one, you'll sure as hell know about it.

    They probably took a gap year to explore their 'inner selves' (and love telling you about it incessantly). They have more designer gear than you can shake a stick at but are constantly moaning about having nothing to wear.

    They're also the only person in the house without a part-time job and are constantly on the phone asking mummy and daddy for money.

    Money's no object to them, so it must be the same for you, right? They'll run up your bills, steal your stuff and refuse to do the grotty (but necessary) tasks of domestic life.

    How to handle The Spoilt Brat

    Unfortunately, being super friendly and rational is the only thing that will work with people who aren't used to being told what to do. Save the outbursts for situations where your patience has been thoroughly exhausted!

    Don't be embarrassed to explain (nicely, mind) to those who have a lot of cash that the rest of you just can't afford to leave the heating on 24/7. If they have any decency they'll understand, and there's a chance that they're so used to not saving money on energy bills that they don't know any different.

    Make it clear that you have to work for your money and can't afford to waste it.

  2. The Nagger

    grumpy cat

    Credit: JStone – Shutterstock

    They're great at sorting any issues in the house, like fixing power cuts or tackling mouse-shaped problems.

    However, you came to uni seeking independence, and sometimes naggers make you feel like you've moved out from under one parent's nose and straight under another.

    They disapprove of your antics, lecture you about your diet, and refuse to participate in any social frolics. Even more annoyingly, they're seriously extra-curricular, making you feel pathetic in comparison.

    How to handle The Nagger

    Be kind. In reality, The Nagger is full of good intentions and they normally have a pretty big heart.

    You need a sensible housemate to add some stability to your hangover-riddled life, and what would you do about the mouse problem if they weren't around to deal with it on everyone else's behalf?

    The trick to getting The Nagger off your back is to befriend them – try going along to a volunteering session with them to enhance your CV. If you can teach yourself to appreciate their enthusiasm, you'll grow to love having them around – nags and all.

  3. The Dirty Slob

    dirty housemate

    Credit: CBS

    Their dishes are permanently covered in mould (when you can manage to stop The Nagger from cleaning them, that is) and it would never occur to them to muck in with the clean-up after a party.

    Why aren't they helping out? Well, they're too busy playing on their PS4 and scoffing last night's leftover kebab or watching Peep Show re-runs in bed at 4pm.

    The smell emitting from their bedroom is overwhelming and they're also responsible for pretty much every stain on the carpet. God only knows how their parents dealt with them back home.

    How to handle The Dirty Slob

    It may sound harsh, but The Dirty Slob needs to be alerted to the fact that they're a slob. The longer they live in this bubble of lazy grossness, the less likely they'll ever be able to pull themselves out of it. Ever.

    No one wants to be constantly reminding The Dirty Slob that they aren't pulling their weight, so the most effective way to shake them into action is to make them aware of what they're doing.

    Making jokes in front of other flatmates (and even friends who dare to come over) about the smell of their room could work. But failing that, a cleaning rota for everything that needs doing will ensure it becomes obvious who isn't doing their bit.

    This may seem a bit excessive, but it's often the only way to keep the house clean and ensure everyone is doing their bit. Make sure you keep up your end of the bargain so that it can't backfire on you!

If The Dirty Slob won't get their act together, just console yourself with the fact that your house isn't quite as bad as this one.
  1. The Party Animal

    pug party hat

    When you need a crazy night out, this is your guy/girl. The only issue is that they always seem to take things too far.

    You pass them in the hallway the morning after, half-naked with toilet roll trailing from the bathroom. Or you'll find them asleep under the kitchen table because they couldn't quite make it up the stairs to bed.

    They make the house smell of stale smoke, and you're constantly being woken up to let them in at 4am because they've lost their keys and need money to pay the taxi driver.

    The Party Animal's lifestyle leaves them perpetually without funds, and you find yourself buying them drinks when you can't even afford to eat meat this week.

    How to handle The Party Animal

    Try being annoyingly chipper when they're lying on the sofa with a rotten hangover. Turn the lights on and hoover under their feet to really hammer home the message that while they're slowly destroying their liver and rinsing their Student Loan, the rest of you are getting on with your lives.

    When you see they're heading out to a club after making excuses for not being able to pay the bills, don't hide how their cheek has left you feeling shocked and appalled.

    Try not to ignore the phone calls too much, as they may actually need your help every once in a while. But should it start getting out of hand, communication is the best solution – sit them down and have a chat about what's going on.

  2. The Drama Queen/King

    Beyonce crying on the phone

    Credit: Columbia

    Everyone is scared of the dramatic flatmate due to their terrifying mood swings. They fly into a rage at the slightest thing, like someone using the last of the milk or borrowing their frying pan and not cleaning it before they sit down to eat dinner.

    You often find yourself being enlisted as their shoulder to cry on or moan at. But funnily enough, they never seem interested in listening to your problems when you're in need.

    The Drama King/Queen also tends to double up as the infamous passive-aggressive flatmate more commonly known as the Post-it Note King/Queen.

    How to handle The Drama Queen/King

    This is a bit of a tricky one. While some people undeniably overreact to things, others may be going through a tough time and it's best to consider that before losing your cool with them.

    Try doing things to cheer them up or distract them, and see if it has any impact on their mood.

    With regards to the post-it notes, the key is to play them at their own game. Start a little chat on your own piece of paper, pointing out something selfish or gross that they've done in the house recently too (there are normally lots to choose from).

    Once they've gotten over the rage at your reply, they'll probably bin both notes and forget that tactic next time.

  3. The Soppy Lover

    the inbetweeners simon carly

    Credit: Bwark Productions

    You might like their other half, but that doesn't mean you want them living with you rent-free.

    You have to lie in bed listening to them talk to each other in stomach-churning baby voices. You get up in the morning and they're in your kitchen eating your cereal with your milk. They've got their own toothbrush and they shower at yours every day – and it's your soap they're using in the morning.

    Let's be honest, they might as well have their name on the tenancy agreement. At least if they did, you could start asking them to contribute to the bills!

    How to handle The Soppy Lover

    As they're your housemate's other half and they're obviously happy, it might be difficult to speak up. But the bottom line is that the rest of you never signed up to live with them.

    Be careful not to criticise the significant other, and just make it clear to your flatmate that if things continue the way they are, they should contribute their fair share – whether that's in bills, milk or helping to clean the shower that they use daily.

    If they argue that they're only hanging about in your house so much because going out is too expensive, point them in the direction of our list of low-cost dates.

    Otherwise, set a sleepover quota so that only have to endure the canoodling and baby voices every other night instead of every night. Make sure you get the backing of your other flatmates before you say anything, though – otherwise it might look more personal than you intend it to be.

  4. The Invisible (Wo)Man

    harry potter invisible

    Credit: Warner Bros

    Maybe it's a full-on timetable, a full-on significant other or perhaps they just go home every weekend. Either way, you haven't seen The Invisible (Wo)Man since the day you moved in, and now you're starting to think you imagined them.

    You think you heard a thud from their room one night, but you can't be sure...

    How to handle The Invisible (Wo)Man

    Just be thankful that he/she actually does exist! In a busy student house, a ghostly flatmate can be a blessing in disguise. They pay their share of the rent yet never wake you up with loud music.

    On a serious note, take a moment to consider why they're not being more sociable. Are you and the rest of your flat being the best housemates that you can be, or are you committing some of the co-habitation crimes that we've listed here?

    Or are they struggling with their mental health? If you think they might be shutting themselves away because things are getting on top of them, reach out and have a chat. A problem shared is a problem solved!

  5. The Music Lover

    anchor man loud noises

    Credit: DreamWorks Pictures

    We all love a banger, but when it's 4am and you have a lecture in five hours, it's understandable that you're not so keen on having it blaring through the walls.

    Who knew that the delivery of a new pair of speakers could feel so much like death?

    How to handle The Music Lover

    The thing with The Music Lover is that they pretty much always want to listen to their tunes at maximum volume. However, chances are that they don't even realise how much it infuriates you, or that your schedule is so vastly different to theirs.

    If you don't want to tell them outright (which probably wouldn't be as bad as you think, by the way), just make it clear to them when you've got stuff to get up for in the morning. A loud "I'm going to bed now" can work wonders!

    As a last resort, a surprise gift of some headphones (courtesy of a flatmate whip-round) is probably worth the expense. Whatever you do, don't turn this into an argument – otherwise you'll never get a peaceful night's sleep again.

  6. The Prankster

    impractical jokers

    Credit: truTV

    Waking up to find your door handle has been removed is hilarious the first three times. But once you've been pranked for the 12 millionth time, the laughs start to dry up.

    To make matters worse, The Prankster will continually think their jokes are hilarious, even if you're on the verge of tears.

    How to handle The Prankster

    You could just prank them right back, but the chances are that this will spiral wildly out of control into a prank war of unseen proportions.

    In reality, it's probably better to just stop laughing at their rubbish jokes and pranks. A lot of the time, if they don't get a smile or a laugh, they'll get bored and take their pranks elsewhere.

The most important lesson you'll learn when you share a living space is the necessity of compromise, to have a little courtesy for others, and what you are prepared to put up with from other people (and what you aren't).

Poor living conditions won't help either, so check out our tips on finding the perfect student house to make the transition as easy as poss!

Comments

Anonymous

What if your housemate is most of them? Mine is a spoilt brat (except she's poor) - they steal stuff and wants the heating on all the time except they never pay their bills and they throw a tantrum every time they have to do her chores. They're also a slob. They leave stuff everywhere and I don't know how many times I've asked them to move their bike outside! They have no respect, and won't do anything you ask them to! They're also a party animal, and they have their SO basically living with them!

What do you do then?!

Jill

I think this is a serious subject and could do with some serious advice. What if your flatmate (not someone you have chosen to live with) is suffering from mental health issues and is paranoid that you have moved her stuff and wants to argue all the time?

Jake Butler

Hi Jill, I would suggest that you contact someone at the university or student union if you think this is a serious issue. Mental Health is not something to be taken lightly and it's best that the person gets any help they need straight away.

Omar

how about the flatmate who point blank disrespects your laundry day arrangement just to prove to herself that she's above compromise?

Ryan Ford

How about the 'screamer' or the 'loud shagger?'. Housemates who have no regards to others sleep quality, keeping others awake with over theatrical moaning and head-board tapping! Infuriating!

Billy

What about the passive-aggressive walking blindspot who whinges about literally everything under the sun when it comes to their housemates when they themselves are guilty of everything they whinge about?

S

Had a massive argument with a male version of those and despite cleaning house top to bottom, more then he does when he only does it for his gf visit every other weekend, there he is refusing my mail!

Daisy

A flatmate who leaves dishes out, and then complains and tells people off when there is a mess. Someone who leaves passive-aggressive messages in a group chat, or comments on the fridge, and sends nasty texts to your phone. A flatmate who is openly rude to your friends, even if they've never been introduced. Someone who goes into your room and messes with your stuff, locks you out, and then refuses to apologise afterwards because "it was just a bit of fun, you should try it some time:)" Above all, a flatmate who targets you, in a house with 3 other people, and is allowed to do so by the other flatmates, all of whom agree that her behaviour is unnecessary and spiteful. And yet, they all support her behaviour and won't call her out on it when you are around. Highly specific, but she really deserves her own category.

Jordan

Honestly not that specific, I live with a guy who is a combination of this and the drama king. Except he doesn't go into my room. I honestly feel your pain here.

Hugh Meizu

How do you deal with not so affluent spoiled brats though?

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