The worst flatmate habits - as voted for by students


If you’re living with flatmates for the first time in your life, you’ll know by now that it can be fun and frustrating all at once. But what’s the worst thing a flatmate can do?

Well, we surveyed 2,000 students to find out what really causes resentment between them and their flatmates. From mop wars to mould, you won’t believe the horror stories that we've heard.

But first, here are the worst flatmate habits, as voted for by students:

  1. Not doing the washing up (41%)
  2. Not taking the bins out (26%)
  3. Not throwing away food that’s gone off (21%)
  4. Leaving hair in the shower plug (4%)
  5. Taking long showers (1%)
  6. Other / All of the above (7%)

There’s one overwhelming conclusion from the results, which is that no one likes a dirty, messy or mouldy living situation. Not surprising, eh?

But what sort of situations had the students we surveyed found themselves in? How messy is messy? Well, here’s a small selection of the stories students shared…

A few were on the silly side…

“We had an argument about cleaning and it ended in us duelling with two dirty mops.”

“One flatmate tried to iron a t-shirt whilst still wearing it.”

Probably not the worst habit, but dangerous nonetheless.

“We had a party with confetti guns which took weeks to get rid of.”

Some were quite revolting…

“My flatmate left a chicken curry in the pan for 24 days.”

“A plate wasn't moved for three weeks and it was pure mould.”

“Rotting pumpkin stunk the living room out for about a week.”

We’re not sure if this was a pumpkin carving gone wrong, but we think that student must be very glad that Halloween is over (for now).

While others were just confusing…

“The flat was full of strangers at all hours of the day.”

“One guy made cakes every day and never shared them.”

How rude!

“My girlfriend’s flatmate had a cockatiel that pecked half her shoes, then she moved in with another girl who also had a cockatiel that pecked at her shoes. My girlfriend lives by herself now.”

WOW. No one saw that coming. We’re a little shocked by these stories, too.

But don’t panic, it’s not all bad! Out of all the students we surveyed, almost half (45%) hadn’t ever experienced issues with their flatmates. One student commented…

“We were all a bit messy, but we got along really well.”

And among those that had experienced issues, here’s what caused them…

  • We disagreed about cleaning (31%)
  • We disagreed about noise levels (11%)
  • We just didn't get on (14%)

So, cleaning, noise and personality clashes were the main causes of arguments. At some point, most of us will end up entangled in a flatmate drama that could have been avoided. And we’ll all inevitably do something that annoys others, whether it’s a habit or a one-off.

“There was a huge clash of personalities. However, staff helped us overcome this.”

Contacting staff at your student residence is certainly a sensible way of tackling a situation that’s already escalated and simply can’t be resolved between you and your flatmates. But how about avoiding issues in the first place? Well, we asked students what they thought was the best way to prevent arguments from occurring whilst flatsharing. Here’s what they voted for:

  • Clearly communicate with your flatmates (71%)
  • Implement a cleaning rota (14%)
  • Avoid confrontation (9%)
  • Write notes to your flatmates (4%)
  • Cook for your flatmates (1%)

We’re not too sure about the note-writing (as this behaviour can sometimes be interpreted as passive aggressive), but in a nutshell, students recommended communicating, cleaning and cooking nice things. We agree that doing these simple things can help prevent confrontation (a batch of home-cooked brownies can solve almost anything!).

But the one conclusion that really stood out to us was around clear communication with flatmates. Some students shared tips that have helped them with this in the past…

The key? Don’t be a stranger

“Have fun and always involve each other.”

“Talk things out.”

“By getting to know your flatmates, you can definitely get along better with them. It’s so much more comfortable to live with friends than strangers.”

Absolutely! When you and your flatmates have become friends, you'll feel less scared about confronting them to address any issues you may have.

“Be friendly, be reasonable, be firm and be fair.”

“Always advise your flatmates if you have friends staying for two days or more, they will appreciate it.”

“If two people are fighting, try not to take sides. You don’t want anyone to feel left out.”

So, after hearing these words of wisdom, now you know how to be the perfect flatmate. All that’s left to do is find the perfect flat, right?

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