14 horrors of shared housing

Among many, here are our top 14 horrors experienced in shared housing. You don't know someone until you've lived with them, right?!

For those fortunate enough to have never shared a house, flat or room with another, then this page of hate is not for you. For all students or first-time-flat shares, here is your outlet to voice and share horror stories with fellow victims.

It's true what they say - you don't know someone until you've lived with them: you learn exactly how long they like their tea bag dipped, their preferred breakfast time, whether they're a shower-er or a bather and how they like to hang clothes on the airier.

Living with your best friends for the first time can be amazing, but it also becomes apparent how anal you are about the way you do things and how everyone else does them differently.

Here are our top housing horrors that usually ended in a bottled-up bang of an argument.

Any to add?

Fear of the loo roll

When new toilet paper is kept in the cupboard downstairs, this situation is a real inconvenience caused solely by the culprit before you.
However, when they have gone to the trouble of collecting a new roll, used it themselves and then placed ON TOP of the old barren tube, people become infuriated! Is it that hard to change?

Shared shelving

Fridge, cupboard and freezer shelves are your sanctuary. So when people begin to invade your area with a carton of milk here and a bunch of bananas there it feels like an invasion of privacy. Mix that with a few ‘oh I ate them, I thought they were mine' and you have a serious problem on your shelf, but do you want to be the post-it-note marker of the flat...

Flick that switch

You will never pay as much attention to a plug socket as you will when you share a house. That beady red mark or ‘on' switch stares at you from the corner of your eye after someone has pulled the electric device out but not quite finished the job. Is it that hard to remember to flick the switch off?

Tea towel utility

Tea towel: a piece of cloth intended to dry wet instruments.
Not a scourer to scrub at dried food, not a mop to clean up spilt beer, not a fire extinguisher and not a textile to polish shoes. Housemates appear to expect a lot from this tiny piece of cotton, but let's try keeping it for its intended purpose - drying.

Internet ownership

Anyone who has lived with a gaming addict knows the struggles of internet usage. When the landlord assured you that bills include
‘enough internet to keep an office going for a year', he either lied or haven't met your housemate. Wi-fi wonderers who hand out the secret code to all your friends are just as bad too...

Dirty dishes

We don't expect you to create a Ramsey masterpiece then leave it on the side to go cold whilst you clean up. What we do expect is that your plates, pots and pans are cleared within an hour, a day, a week of the meal in question. And don't even think about asking to use someone else's sieve because yours is dirty.

Turbulent tunes

Everyone loves music - a low hum whilst working, some tunes whilst entertaining or whale sounds to send you to sleep. Word for the wise, fellow housemates don't appreciate pop music at 8 am, nor do we like R&B at midnight when we have an early start. Listen responsibly.

Communal cooking

No one enjoys eating alone so when another housemate wonders in to begin cooking at the same time, that's great. However, once another turns up to cook followed by another to make a cuppa, you all of a sudden have a party in your galley kitchen. Why can't just two people cook at once? Someone needs to create a cooking schedule at this point.

The. Bin.

That dreaded plastic tub, spilling over in the corner so that it mimics a piece of modern, Tracy Emin art. It is a fact that everyone hates taking the bin out, juices seeping galore, but everyone needs to at some point.
And don't even get us started on the recycling robots or that annoying culprit who empties her bedroom bin into the kitchen one!

Bound-less housemate

There will be that one housemate who operates with a no-knock policy and just swans in. It's great to be close with roomies and boundaries will naturally be broken down, but when we're changing, working or spending time on our own, really?! Take the closed door hint and come back later.

Sink stealer

One sink amongst 4, 5, 8 or even 10 of you requires meticulously planned usage rights, but there will be a secret soaker amongst you. She'll soak her potatoes, soak her bowls, soak her clothes; she's a soapy soaker. You can't even remove her wet products because there's nowhere to put them as her next round of soaking sits on the side.

Machine monopoly

The washing machine: the dreaded dalek that invariably causes clothes to come out dirtier than they went in and 10 times smaller. For such a hated machine, it is also most fought over. You will all experience someone who loves to wash three loads of clothes a day on the longest, and noisiest, cycle.

Heated debates

Between spilt toothpaste and wet towel arguments, the bathroom holds the most arguments - most infuriating of all is hot water distribution! Bathing twice a day, spending an hour in the shower or applying your make up under the ‘great lights' of the bathroom are no longer luxuries for you, make way for the housemates.

Rise and shine

Of course we all need a gentle nudge to wake up in the morning, and some may be heavier sleepers than others, but when it sounds like a helicopter is landing on your landing then a noise complaint is coming. To all hard-for-hearing housemates, please be respectful of your sound levels and turn them off immediately!

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.