Share house rules

From money to the menu, here are 5 simple rules to help you achieve share house bliss.

Share house rules news item

Rule 1: Update your address

Once you move in to your new place, make sure you update your address. This includes with us.

If you’re getting a student payment and paying rent, you might be able to get Rent Assistance. By updating your address and rent information, we’ll work out whether you’re eligible for Rent Assistance.

Update your address using your Centrelink online account through myGov in just a couple of steps. It’s quick and easy to do. Once you’re in myGov, go to Centrelink, select My profile, then My contact. Then update away!

Rule 2: Sort your finances

Rent, electricity, gas and internet. You can expect those bills to show up in your inbox each month without fail. You and your housemates need to agree on how you’ll pay up.

Are you a bill splitter? You could split bills as they come in each month with each person paying their share.

If you’re more a set-and-forget type, perhaps a joint expenses bank account is a good option. You could all set up ongoing scheduled money transfers. Once that's sorted, set up direct debits for bills that have a set monthly amount.

What about how much each person pays? You can divide bills evenly or work out amounts based on everyone’s personal situation. For example, if a housemate travels a lot for work, they might pay less for internet. While that housemate with the big room and ensuite might need to pay a little extra rent.

Rule 3: Plan your menu

With your electricity and gas paid, put it to good use in the kitchen. You’ll first need to agree on the food options in your place.

Is it every housemate for themselves? If so, agree on this from the start. There’s nothing worse than prepping your famous lasagne only to come home and find that someone’s used your diced tomatoes.

Alternatively, you could dazzle your housemates with your culinary skills by having communal cook ups. In return, you’ll get a night off cooking at a later date. If you’re going the communal option, you’ll need to arrange a cooking and shopping roster.

And like your tomatoes, fridge and cupboard space can be dicey. The easiest way around this is to give each housemate their own space.

Rule 4: Dish out the chores

Agree on your degree of clean. Is your house full of neat freaks? Or ‘near enough is good enough' devotees? Or a combination?

Work out how you’ll get to your preferred state of clean, especially for areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Who’s going to scrub those lasagne remnants out of the bottom of the oven? A rotating roster is a great solution.

For communal areas like the lounge room, always pick up after yourself. And treat shared furniture or appliances with respect, even if they were an op shop bargain.

Rule 5: Confirm the door list

It’s a good idea to confirm comings and goings at your place. Learn about when your housemates are working or studying, whether weekdays, weekends or shift work. This will help you work out the best times for cranking up your favourite playlist.

While we’re on the topic of noise, are parties something you and your housemates support? Agree on any rules to avoid things getting too unruly.

What’s your position on guests? Whether significant others, mates or family, agree on how often people can stay over. It’s not only polite, it’s also important for safety. You all need to know who’ll be in the house and when. And whether you’re happy for them to help themselves to the lasagne leftovers.

Get more information

Read more about Rent Assistance.

If you’ve got questions about Rent Assistance you can ask them at Student Update on  Facebook.

Find out what other changes you need to tell us about.

Page last updated: 23 July 2019

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