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Top tips for finding the right flatmates to live with

10th June 2013

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If you are in a house where you can choose a flatmate, you will have to go through the process of interviewing flatmates.

FlatmatesMy advice to you is to ask some of the questions below. If you do not want to ask them directly, make sure you lead the conversation into the subject you want to find out about. It's pretty much like a lottery because you never know what the person is going to be like when living with them. Here are a few basic questions you can ask them.

 - What is your job?

This normally is the first question they ask. Also, you need to find out if the future flatmate will be coming home late and how late. Bar staff, for example, work different shifts so they may arrive late at night. If you have wood flooring, the noise can be an issue as well as the noise that showers make, especially when there is complete silence in the flat late at night.

- If the bills are shared

If you have to share the bills, do not be embarrassed to ask if they pay their bills on time. Tell them that if they fail to pay the bills on time three times, they will be asked to leave. Do not be afraid to say things upfront.

- Do you smoke?

If you do not smoke and if this is an issue for you, make it very clear that he or she will not be able to smoke at all in the flat, or only in the garden. Agree in advance with the other flatmates and make it very clear in the ad too.

- What are your habits or eccentricities?

When you first start living with a partner, you may learn that your partner hates clothes left on the floor, or cannot sleep with the wardrobe door open or picks his ears and then smells his fingers! When interviewing a flatmate, make sure you ask if they have a different habit (apart from the normal ones).


If they say they are clean freaks (which is good in a way) or they like to fall asleep watching TV, this is something you should know about. Harmonious flatsharing is when everyone is aware of the habits of their flatmates and respects them.

- Do you drink? If so, how much and how often?

If the prospective flatmate smells of alcohol, do not waste your time talking to them. You should really ask how often they drink because it will show how often they like partying, socialising (and if they bring a lot of people to the flat).

- Do you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend?

This question is very important because you need to define how often the partner can stay over.
Sometimes, single people do not like the idea of sharing with couples. If you are renting a room (as a single, not as a couple) but have a partner, make sure you agree on how often the partner stays, especially if the bills are shared.

- Do you have friends over? How often?

This should be defined as soon as you decide to invite someone to move in. Make sure you explicitly say that you do not want friends over after a certain time of the night, because you have to wake up early next morning. If you think the person will clash with the timetable of the flat, choose someone else.

- Do you mind cleaning?

If there is a rota for the cleaning in the flat, there should be an agreement on what is supposed to be cleaned and when. If the candidate is not very keen on cleaning, ask him or her if they would pay for a cleaner instead. If there is a cleaner already in place, just share the cost.

- What's your view of sharing food without permission?

Unfortunately, some people think that sharing a house means sharing everything that is in it, including the food. If you want to start an internal war in your household, eat everyone else's food. Nothing kills the friendly atmosphere of a flatshare faster than a mouse-mate!

- Tell us what, in your opinion, is a bad flatsharing experience.

In my opinion, this could be a good way to find out what the future flatmates will be expecting from you too. It's a two way street, of course. Be prepared to hear questions back. They also need to feel they are moving into a place they will feel comfortable.

Rafael dos Santos is the author of ‘Moving Abroad – One Step At A Time’ (£9.99 Panoma Press) which is available from Amazon and since 2005, he has run a successful small property company LondonUP. For more information visit:

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