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It pays to be fussy when choosing housemates

6th October 2010 Print

As the new University term kicks off and thousands of students across the country are about to move into new house shares, new research by Endsleigh, the number one student insurance provider, has revealed that it can pay to be fussy when choosing your fellow housemates.

More than half (56%) of the 2000 people surveyed, said that living with a friend in the past had either put a strain on their friendship or had even resulted in them falling out altogether.

According to the study, the most common reason for housemates not seeing eye to eye, was down to basic living habits, with 75% stating it was because their housemate was untidy or didn't clean up after themselves. The second biggest reason was pinching food or drink without asking, with 43% saying this was the main cause of conflict.

Other reasons for causing tension between housemates include being tight with money or not contributing to household bills/items (39%), coming home too late or drunk (19%), playing their music too loud (19%) and not getting on with fellow friends or partners (17%).

The research also showed that the majority of people think mixed sex house shares work best, with 63% of respondents agreeing with this statement.

Commenting on the findings, Body Language and Behavioural Expert Judi James who has regularly appeared on Big Brother's Little Brother said: "House sharing can be great fun especially if you were friends beforehand, but it can also be challenging. It's common for people to look for housemates that are a mirror image of themselves, but this can often be a recipe for disaster as similar people don't necessarily think or act in the same way.

Choosing to live with strangers instead can mean broadening your horizons and will help you learn the art of compromising, persuading and negotiating. You also get an incredible chance to network, as friends from different backgrounds and career prospects often end up keeping in touch and for many years after. Overall, my advice would be never share with a friend who you haven't survived at least one holiday with - as this is the best litmus test for house-sharing."

Creating a household environment where chores like washing up and cleaning are shared is also very important. One of the jobs that no longer has to be a hassle is arranging house insurance, since Endsleigh has designed a house sharer policy specifically for groups of students living under one roof.  This allows students in shared accommodation to insure general contents throughout the house under one policy. It protects £3,000 worth of possessions for each housemate, with each student having a unique log-in to choose from a range of specific top-ups for their unique situation. Up to ten people can be included on one policy.

Vicki O'Connell, Endsleigh spokesperson added, "For many students, moving into shared housing, for what is normally the very first time can be stressful. Making sure your possessions are protected isn't normally the first thing you think of. However, it is important for sharers to have adequate cover, particularly in multiple occupancy accommodation, as it can often be a target for thieves because of the higher number of valuables inside.    

We've developed the house sharer policy to be a quick and easy way for students to arrange for their possessions to be protected throughout the house. Everyone can sign up individually online, under the name of the property. And it encourages the housemates to work together, because the more people who join, the cheaper it is."