If you’re all good with one of your flatmates damaging the flat, not paying rent for months, and then heading home leaving you to pick up the bill, feel free to skip this article.
A flatting agreement basically sets out how you are going to live together in the flat and what your responsibilities are. This will help you all understand each other’s lifestyles and flatting preferences and (hopefully) avoid the use of passive aggressive post-it notes. If you would like some help putting a flatting agreement together get in touch with OUSA Student Support.
Make sure someone keeps notes on your discussion. At the end get everyone to look over it to ensure it accurately reflects what you talked about. Once that is done, sign it at the bottom. It’s definitely a good idea to pick up a full flatting agreement from OUSA Student Support and work through it with them, but here are some things to consider as a starting point:
- Bedrooms: Who gets what?
- How will you pick rooms, what if someone isn’t happy?
- If any rooms are better than others, should this be reflected in the rent?
- Flat account: Which two flatmates will manage the flat account and how much will each person put in per week?
- Will it be for power, internet and utilities (e.g. toilet paper and dishwashing liquid), or will you also use it to purchase shared food items?
- Bills: Who will be responsible for the different accounts (e.g. power, internet)?
- How will you make sure they don’t end up having to chase everyone up or get stuck having to cover other peoples’ share?
- Will bills be divided up at the end of the month or will everyone put a set amount each week into the flat account? Don’t forget to budget for winter!
- Out of town: If someone goes out of town, will the costs be split? How?
- Should they pay as usual, pay nothing, or pay a smaller amount? Will this depend on how long they are gone for?
- Cooking: Is this a shared expense?
- Will you have flat meals? How will you budget and roster these? Or will you just do your own thing?
- Are common items like oil and spices bought together, or does everyone have their own?
- Cleaning: Tenants are responsible for keeping the property reasonably clean and tidy.
- Will you have a chores roster, and if so, what’s the timeframe for completing chores?
- Get an idea of everyone’s standards of cleanliness and negotiate some reasonable requirements. What will the consequences be if someone slacks off?
- Visitors and partners: What’s everyone’s expectations and comfort level around guests?
- Some of the flatties want to have mates over for drinks but you have to get up early for work or have to study, what happens then?
- Will you have no party times e.g. during exams?
- Can friends and/or partners stay over? How often can they stay before they are expected to contribute to costs? How much notice should the flat be given before someone sleeps over?
- Can people crash in the lounge or should they stay in someone’s bedroom?
- Drugs, alcohol, smoking:
- What is and isn’t ok? When? Where?
- Red Cards:
- When can they be pulled? Is anything off-limits?
Some parts of a flatting agreement are designed to help flatmates be kind to each other. Other parts (like monetary agreements) can be legally enforceable i.e. through the Disputes Tribunal. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a flatmate not holding up their end of the agreement, talk to OUSA Student Support as soon as possible.