As I interview people for the book I’m writing, I’m hearing stories about the nightmare housing situations. The best way to avoid the nightmare housemate is to understand your needs before beginning the housemate selection process.
The Nightmare Situation
What is a nightmare situation? It’s when the comfortable feeling between housemates breaks down because of conflict that is unresolved, and communication stops. It is really awful. Home becomes a battleground. If you have lived a nightmare situation, it’s very, very understandable that you’ve had it with sharing housing and will choose to live alone. It seems so much easier than potentially walking into another bad situation.
In ALL the stories I’ve heard the first mistake was in the interviewing process. The person telling me the story either didn’t investigate thoroughly what living with person would be like, or they didn’t stand up for themselves in negotiating the use of the house or setting expectations. They ignored a little warning from their own gut – often because they could help the person, or they were desperate to find a place to live.
Avoid nightmare housemates by paying attention to your instincts. Talk to the person about all the different areas of living together: kitchen, furniture, closet space, parking, cleaning, rent, utilities, guests, pets etc. Check references. They should be able to give you the names and phone numbers of two people who can tell you what sort of housemate they are. If they can’t do that, they probably aren’t a good bet as a housemate. Right?
So what if you are desperate? and do choose to ignore you instincts? Be prepared. You may not want to establish yourself in that house. Keep looking. Good luck.