Freshers listen up: Here’s how to pick your new flatmates and not regret it

These people really do make or break your second year

It’s that dreaded time of year again when freshers begin embarking on the hellish journey that is flat hunting in Edinburgh for second year. To avoid regretting who you choose to inhabit an overpriced, poorly insulated and mice infested Marchmont flat with, here are some top tips for finding drama-free flatmates.

1. Consider how much mess you can handle

Listen we’re all prone to a bit of mess, but if there’s one thing you learn in second year, some people really are on another level. From those who have never learnt how to clean a toilet, have no issue with leaving their dishes to pile up for days on end and never pull their weight with the cleaning rota, you’d be surprised by how quickly standards slip when the pollock cleaners are no longer around to help out.

Before deciding on your flatmates, have a think about your own personal standards and what you feel like you can handle (if you’re the messy flatmate, maybe consider keeping it on the down low). Of course, not everyone needs to be a neat freak, but it’s important that one person isn’t forced to constantly clean up after all their flatmates and physically repulsed every single time they walk into the kitchen.

The reality of most second year kitchens

2. Aim for a similar budget

Have a chat early on with your potential flatmates about your budget and what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to merge a flat comprising of ex-Chancellors residents with those who have become accustomed to the horrors of shared bathrooms, differences may become apparent early on.

You’d be surprised how many people are willing to splash out on an Edi flat in New Town as if it were their familial second home whilst others are unphased by unworkable showers, mice infestations and a ceiling which caves in every other week. It’s vital you’re all on the same page to prevent potential conflict as well as ensure that nobody in your group is overstretching their budget beyond their means.

3.  Don’t rush into anything

The beauty of Edinburgh is that you are afforded the luxury that those living in smaller uni cities such as Durham and Exeter aren’t: time! Those fresher’s friends you said in week three you’d “definitely live with” realistically might not be your best option (if your only topics of conversation are the weather or lockdown chances are they aren’t your forever friends).

Really take time to scout out who you truly get on with, who you see yourself being able to bear sharing a bathroom with and, most importantly, who you can have harsh conversations about rent, bills and living standards with.

 4. Don’t shit where you eat

Basically, don’t live with a couple or somebody you’re sleeping with.

We all know a couple who one minute are all over each other and the next are practically threatening murder, now just imagine living with them. Whilst couples within friendship groups might be common, the likelihood of a breakup (especially given the intensity of living together) is even more common, a situation you definitely don’t want to get stuck in the middle of.

Even worse, nobody enjoys being the awkward third-wheel 24/7 who is constantly reminded how alone they are every time they accidentally walk in on a romantic candlelit dinner date in the kitchen. Similarly, it goes without saying that if you’re considering living with someone you’re casually sleeping with, just don’t.

5.  Be brutal

If you’ve found yourself stuck in discussions about a living situation you feel strongly uncomfortable with, be honest and cut ties ASAP. Some friends might not be flatmate material but don’t be that person that flakes out at the last minute when a flat has been secured and deposits almost put down. Honesty really is the best policy to avoid potentially losing friends in the process whilst also giving yourself enough time to find other people you’d prefer.

6. Accept that you might make mistakes

Second year housing really is all about trial and error. Even if you’ve thought it all through, you still might find within the first few months that you’ve made the complete wrong decision and be seeking therapy after living with the flatmates from hell.

Those people you thought were cleaning fanatics might, in actuality, not even know how to stack a dishwasher and others who originally claimed to be “always organised” might just conveniently “forget” every time they’re due to pay a bill or contribute towards household expenses, but it’s all a learning process. Don’t necessarily expect to get it right first time.

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• Eight ways to actually successfully complain to your landlord