Student Life: How to choose housemates

Many students start their higher education career in halls of residence where they have very little choice over who they live with. Come the second year, though, once they are settled into their studies and have a better feel for their local town and surrounding areas, it is time to move out of halls and into what is typically shared accommodation with other students. This can be quite daunting so we’ve put together these top tips for how to choose your housemates, both when you first move in and in the event that one moves out and needs replacing.

Group of people sat round a table having a meal


There’s every chance that some students are OCD in their need for things to be clean and tidy, there are almost certainly others who are less fastidious and more relaxed. The last thing a neat and tidy person wants is to live with someone who will always leave dishes unwashed or not muck in when cleaning the property. The last thing the more relaxed person wants is to be nagged to tidy up all the time. Ensuring that each housemate is at least relatively close to each other on the tidy and clean front will certainly make living together a lot easier.


Perhaps an easy point to overlook, but what is your day to day Uni contact time like compared to your potential housemates? What if you are in Uni 8 hours a day and they are only in a few hours a week? On the one hand, the property is likely to have someone home, making it more secure, but the person at home has the heating on, the TV on, the lights on, will be cooking and also generally using the property more. How do you then go about apportioning bills or even who pays towards the wear and tear? Ensuring your housemates have similar schedules will head off any need for these complex considerations.


Are you a book worm who needs to study hard as much as possible? Are your potential housemates party animals and want to just socialise or play loud music? Whilst the social side is extremely important, we all need some “downtime” large differences in social needs can cause tension in a property. What if the person is just a little more unreliable and pays their rent late? Do you want to have to pay for their arrears as you are joint tenants? Choosing housemates with similar values will head off any potential future clashes.


This is never a fun thing to have to consider, but there will always be financial disparity in society and this is no less true in student life. You might be tempted to move in with your new best friends, but what if their budget is much larger than yours? Can you afford to move into the property they want and still pay your fair share? You need to cut your cloth to suit your purse and choose housemates who have the same or a similar budget to you.

When choosing your housemates, you don’t need to choose people from your degree course or even ones that you go to clubs with, although actually having something in common with them is a step in the right direction. Make sure, when choosing your housemates, that they are people you can get on with, who share the same overall values as you where you won’t drive each other crazy and also are on a similar budget as you. It can be hard to get it right, but life at university is an amazing experience and one to cherish not dread.