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Student Accommodation

12 most annoying housemate habits

We've all got our own pet peeves, and our latest accommodation survey has uncovered the most common housemate gripes.

angry woman with cleaning supplies and toilet paper

Credit: Irina Fischer, Anatoliy Karlyuk, Best_photo_studio, Gemenacom – Shutterstock

Most of us end up sharing a house or flat with other people at some point in our lives, whether at university or as young professionals. You may live with your best friends or people you don't know, but inevitably your co-habitants will sometimes rub you up the wrong way.

It can be difficult to let them know how you feel – especially if you want to avoid tension in the house. And even if you do tell them, sometimes they just won't listen!

Below are the most common problems students have with their housemates. Do they sound familiar?

We also asked students what housing problems they have, and the results are shocking...

Most annoying things housemates do

According to our National Student Accommodation Survey, these are the most common annoying housemate habits:

  1. Leaving dirty dishes out (65%)
  2. Not helping with cleaning (55%)
  3. Leaving lights/appliances on (44%)
  4. Being too loud (44%)
  5. Leaving food to rot (41%)
  6. Not removing hair from plug holes (31%)
  7. Stealing food (26%)
  8. Not changing the toilet roll (26%)
  9. Leaving windows open (23%)
  10. Leaving the toilet seat up (23%)
  11. Taking long showers (22%)
  12. Moving a partner in (15%).

There is one overwhelming conclusion from these stats: anything unsanitary will likely anger your flatmates. And, while we all enjoy the first taste of freedom after living under our parents' roofs for the first 18 years of our lives, it turns out that some of their house rules were actually pretty sensible.

Leaving dirty dishes out and leaving food to rot (as 65% and 41% of surveyed students respectively reported their housemates did) is almost an open invitation to bacteria. Not to mention, it's very frustrating if you're trying to find room in the fridge, or space to work on the kitchen counter.

But it's not just issues of hygiene that wind people up. Evidently, anything that adds to the bills can boil the blood of housemates, too.

Leaving lights and electrical appliances on (44%), leaving windows open (23%) and taking long showers (22%) are all unnecessarily wasteful habits that drive up your energy bills. And, in the case of leaving windows open, it can undo all your best efforts to protect your house from burglars.

And, of course, there are some habits that, while not damaging to your health or bank balance, are downright annoying.

Over half of those surveyed (55%) said their housemates didn't help with the cleaning, with 26% saying theirs failed to change the toilet roll after finishing it. They're both annoying behaviours, but nothing when compared to leaving hair in the plughole – a toe-curling habit that, sadly, 31% of students in the survey said they have to deal with.

If it's mouldy food in the fridge that's got your blood boiling, use these tips to find out how to keep food fresh for longer.

How to deal with bad housemates

We're never ones to highlight problems without offering some advice too. Shared living presents lots of issues, but the solution is rarely a blazing row, nor is it to quietly simmer away in your room letting your frustrations take a toll on your mental health.

Our guide to dealing with annoying housemates has tips for resolving disputes with all the most common difficult roomies. But, there are some general tips which are worth remembering, too.

First off, if you haven't already made the decision, consider whether or not living with your friends is the best plan.

There are pros and cons of living with friends.

One of the main arguments against living with friends is that annoying housemate habits and the money issues that come with sharing a home can put a real strain on a friendship.

That's not to say you should live with people you hate instead. But, maybe take a moment to think about what your friends are like, and what they may be like to live with, before signing that tenancy agreement.

What if you're already living with people who are grating on you? It's best to be honest.

Sit down with all of your housemates and discuss how all of you would like your house share to work. This is best done when you move in, but if things are reaching a breaking point after that, it's definitely the most diplomatic approach to take.

Discuss things like heating (and other bills), cleaning and buying communal products. Make a fair plan which means no one person is putting in any more work or money than another to keep the house running smoothly. Oh, and avoid the passive-aggressive post-its – they never go down well.

No matter how bad things get, chances are your home won't be anywhere near as bad as the student house from hell.

Tom Allingham

WRITTEN BY Tom Allingham

Tom joined Save the Student in 2017, initially heading up the editorial team before becoming Communications Director. He has appeared as a Student Finance expert on a range of TV and radio stations including the BBC, ITV and Sky, sharing his top tips for saving money and cutting student bills.
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