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5 Things You Should Check With Your New Housemates

By George Hadgelias

When we move into a share house – especially if it’s already established – we often accept the current state of play as the status quo. But old ways of doing things can be challenged. 

It’s not uncommon to find people sharing homes into their thirties and beyond.

So, while a certain level of organisation and, er, ‘household management’ may have been acceptable in your twenties, you may expect something more the older you get.

We’ve made a list of things it could be worth checking with your housemates. After all, a reset can be as good as a holiday — for them too!

How are chores divided?

Most experienced sharers will know to ask this question. But it’s never too soon to find out how the house stays clean and what are the expectations.

Who unpacks the dishwasher? Who cleans the toilet? How often do you do a deep clean? When was the last formal inspection? Do you get a cleaner and what do they cost? Does anyone tend the garden or mow the lawn? Seriously, how old is that mop?

You don’t want to find out too late that there’s one person who thinks it’s ok to leave dishes in the sink while they go to work, while you’re more inclined to, well, not.

What is your internet plan?

Depending on your online activities, you may want to ask about the internet plan. Most share homes will have an unlimited service but it may not have the bandwidth you’re after. Furthermore, ask if you’re getting the best deal. You may be getting the cheapest deal, but it could also be unnecessarily slow and painful to use. It could be a great time to consider a new home internet alternative.

If there are a lot of you in the house (or even if there isn’t) you may want to consider a plan like Optus 5G Home Internet. If available in your area, you could nab an unlimited plan for $75 a month with typical busy period download speeds of 77Mbps (7pm-11pm), plus one month free.

Optus 4G and 5G Home Internet plans are both plug-and-play, meaning you can simply unbox and plug in with no need for landlord approvals or technician appointments. This can be very handy when starting a new share house.

What are the work/play schedules?

While this may not have been a huge deal a couple of years ago, with many of us now working from home, it can be good to check what the expectations are around schedules, noise and play.

If someone sits at your dining table every day and takes Zoom calls, ask yourself if that’s something you can live with.

Is there an expectation that you’ll be quiet after 6pm because so-and-so is doing their PhD? Does old mate spend all their time in their room or do you socialise as a house?

These kinds of questions can be key to finding out if this living arrangement is going to work.

What are the lease terms?

If you’re starting a new house, you will get a copy of the lease. However, if you’re joining an established home, you can either ask to join the lease or perhaps just get across a few vital points. For instance:

  • Are you due for a rent increase?
  • Are you in a fixed-term agreement or is it week-to-week/month-to-month?
  • How long is left on the lease?
  • When was your last inspection?

Not only can you avoid getting saddled with a rent increase just around the corner, it can also help you with answers to the following question…

What’s the deal with the bond?

If you’ve moved into an existing share house, you may be facing a sticky situation should everyone choose to depart shortly after you’ve moved in.

While this is just part and parcel of renting, you may want to know ahead of time what is happening to your bond. Are you liable for damage caused by a previous housemate or over the full length of the lease? Who are you paying your bond to and who is paying it back?

Legally – and to protect you against any future issues – you should always lodge a bond with your state’s housing board. You can do this even if you’re joining an established share house.

CLICK HERE for more information.

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