Housemate Etiquette

Thinking of moving into a house next year? The Tab warns you of the potential pitfalls and the less rosy side of renting.

Freshers, beware…

Think that you’ll be living the dream in Lenton or Beeston? After a year of hall dinners that could surprise even Heston and noisy neighbours with a penchant for pre-lashing and post-Ocean coitus, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were moving up in the world.

But think again. Prepare yourself for the inevitable conflicts with housemates over the most basic rules of student house etiquette.

Horrific Kitchen Mess



Within less than 24 hours of the kitchen being bleached to levels even Kim and Aggie would approve of, somehow you will still seem to come down in the morning to explosions of noodles and crusty milk stains.

There will always be that one particular housemate who manages to spray bean juice across the ENTIRE kitchen but, as baffling as it may seem, remain entirely ignorant of the impact and promptly flee the scene. You’ll naively wander down the stairs, expecting to find your Kath Kidston paraphernalia sparkling, in which you can dotingly prepare house tea, only to find complete destruction.

Treacherous Food Thievery

Marker pens may not be enough...

Marker pens may not be enough…

Many homes, after prolonged negotiation, reach the settlement that in order to avoid identifying which milk belongs to them amongst the 20 million cartons in the fridge, by their sense of smell, fear and bravely alone, it will be labelled with marker pen. Good thinking, yes? It seems a simple yet effective process that, if scrupulously applied, allows no room for error or strife?


This can be made worse by the offender having not even bothered to hide the evidence and left your carton, empty, in the middle of the counter in plain view for all to see. It’s like someone having sex with your wife and then sending you the video, seriously. On top of that, their own carton may well be be sitting half-full in the fridge. If you’re going to steal a housemate’s food, you might as well make the effort to cover your tracks and instead suggest they may have taken up sleep-eating.

Labelling your food will not be enough to deter hungry housemates. Plan for this.

Ungodly Noise

You may have come home from lectures, holed yourself up in your room to tackle the mounting piles of work and deadlines whilst swaddled in fur to battle the arctic conditions of your house, when suddenly some unexpected noise floats from across the landing.

What you may think was the creaking of pipes; “Ah, a housemate must have lovingly turned on the heating to spare my frostbitten toes.” Don’t be so naive, my friend.

The clanging and banging of pipes may in actual fact be a metal headboard against the adjoining bedroom wall. If housemates are going to do the dirty in the middle of the day, you would realistically expect them to provide adequate warning to others confined within the house or, failing that, move to a quieter safe zone of the room. Alas.

Vanishing Loo Roll


A classic problem

One night, you will be awakened from your sleep by the bursting need to use the toilet, only to find the roll empty. This is a constant, recurring problem among housemates. How hard can it be to remember to replace a roll after you use it…especially if a fresh pack of loo rolls is sat bang outside the bathroom door waiting to be admitted inside? Very, apparently.

Moreover, why leave the cardboard carcass there when it would take as much energy to not leave it next to bin as it does to leave it in the bin? You’re not reserving kilo-joules or opting for a less labour intensive proposal. You’re doing the exact same thing, except the former option pisses everyone off more.

Moving into a house is a fantastic act of independence, but make sure you keep an eye on your housemate’s etiquette. Don’t be victimised in your own home and, most importantly, don’t be guilty of these heinous crimes yourself.