Moving into a rental with flat mates can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging, especially when you have different lifestyles and expectations. This guide aims to help you find ways to live harmoniously with your flat mates in a rental property.

Establish A Fair Means Of Paying Rent On Time To The Landlord

No flat mate should be penalised for late rental payment because another failed to pay on time, so you'll want to establish a fair means of paying rent to the landlord. You could do this by setting up a third-party bank account, which then goes into the agent or landlord's account via automatic deposit. This way one person doesn't have to chase up with all the flat mates for their share of the rent. Alternatively, each flat mate could have a separate payment schedule with the agent or landlord, so that there is no stress between the tenants down the track.

Plan How Utilities Are Split

Utilities can be a bone of contention between flat mates, especially if someone has an appliance that consumes more electricity than others. In that case, the flat mate with the power-consuming appliance should agree in advance, and preferably in writing to pay for a higher portion of the utility bill. For example, a flat mate with a portable heater or cooler may consume more electricity than the others in the house, so should be willing to pay a little more for electricity. Similarly, if one flat mates cooks every time, in comparison to another that eats out all the time, then it's only fair that the former pays a little more when the gas bill arrives than the latter. Agreeing in advance how utilities should be split will save a lot of disagreements later.

Establish A Common Cleaning Routine

Cleaning is one of the biggest issues faced by flat mates because different people have different perceptions of what is clean and what isn't. A good way to combat this potential challenge is to establish some cleaning ground rules from the start. For example, all flat mates should be responsible for keeping their own rooms clean. Flat mates can take turns every week to clean common areas like the living room, kitchen and bathroom in the rental property. If possible, consider pooling in for a cleaner who can do the work, so you don't have to worry about flat mates not taking on the responsibility (or not cleaning according to your expectations) when it is their turn.

Follow these guidelines to minimise conflict with your flat mates in a rental property. For more information, contact a local real estate agent.