© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


Flatshare nightmares: your housemate horror stories

Posted at 7:15 pm, November 3, 2013 in News

© David Heatley

According to the Office for National Statistics, London house prices have just reached an all-time high. So no wonder more and more of us are flatsharing. Not always easy, though, is it? Not judging by the tales of communal pube shearing, semi-naked bongo playing and rotting goat corpses you gave us when we asked for your housemate horror stories…

‘I spent my university years sharing a house with a death-metal fanatic. He left rape-fantasy poetry in the bathroom, ate kebabs for breakfast and talked at length about how he wanted to buy a sword. The highlight was finding his poem, entitled “(Moth)er”, which was accompanied by a picture of his mum’s head on the body of a moth. Deep.’ Aidan James Robinson

‘The male half of a newly engaged couple living in the room opposite sent me flirtatious emails. When I didn’t respond, he panicked, entered my room while I was at work and used my laptop to delete them. Oh, and then he watched some porn to unwind.’ Clara Belle

‘I once found a note saying “Don’t pee on the toilet seat” stuck to the door with a knife.’ Ross Aylward-Tarten

‘We had a goat die in the hallway of my student house and we couldn’t get it out. It was a big goat.’ Sid Young

‘Twenty-four plastic Coke bottles, filled with wee. That is all.’ Allison Bell

‘I lived with a girl who wanted to create a “Spanish feel” for a dinner party she was having, so switched the heating on full blast. In the summer.’ Emma Lucy McArthur

‘I shared with a dreadlocked Portuguese guy who insisted on loudly playing his bongos in the middle of the night with his door open and his top off. For some reason the last bit annoyed me the most: he had a pretty special body. Bastard.’ Tim Gold

‘I had a flatmate who was too lazy to go to the bathroom and threw her used tampons out of the window. Her bedroom was above the conservatory.’ Gayle Haddock

‘One of our flatmates moved out so we replaced her with a seemingly normal bloke we found on Gumtree. Alarm bells first started ringing when he refused to pay his share of the rent the week after moving in because “The fridge wasn’t big enough”.’ Claire Elizabeth Perry

‘I lived with a Dutch guy in my first year at uni who ran into his room every time anyone said hi to him, had very loud sex with his girlfriend at really odd times of the day and took all my cutlery with him when he moved out.’ Tom Wilding


They’re not all shaving buddies or motherloving psychos: here’s how to get the sharing thing working for you and find great housemates.

Go speed flatmating
‘Could it be live at first sight?’ goes the tagline for this fun and popular approach to residential matchmaking. The concept is simple: the company holds events in bars around the city; people with rooms to rent mingle with those looking for rooms; everyone pairs off with housemates they like and lives happily ever after… That’s the theory, anyway. speedflatmating.co.uk

Market yourself, or your des res
The phenomenal success of the internet dating model is rubbing off on room-filling websites. Companies such as Spare Room, Easy Roommate and Flatmate Rooms now allow you to create profiles detailing your likes, dislikes and the kind of place/sharers you’re looking for. Those with space to fill can peruse the flat hunters’ profiles in the same way as you sift through the empty room ads. spareroom.co.ukeasyroommate.co.ukflatmaterooms.co.uk

Live like a king for a pauper’s rent
If you’re more concerned with your surroundings than who you live with, a building guardian scheme could be the way to go. Companies such as Camelot, Ad Hoc and Ambika place tenants in empty buildings to keep squatters away and maintain upkeep. You can’t choose who else lives there, but the buildings are often large and spacious, and the rents can be cheap and very cheerful. camelotproperty.comadhoc.euambikaproperty.com

Find your niche
Some specialist stores around the capital have physical noticeboards (remember them?) where you can post your ads for the exact demographic you’re aiming to live with. For example noticeboards in Denmark Street’s music shops are thronged with musos looking for an abode, Islington’s Candid Café abounds with arty types needing accommodation, while bike shop like Look Mum No Hands! are perfect if your ideal flatmate is someone who can talk for hours about derailleurs.

Compiled by David Clack. Illustration David Heatley

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,