10 Ways To Screen Potential New Housemates

4th June, 2016

For any number of reasons, your current house or flat share could be disrupted by one member leaving for pastures new.

This leaves you with the difficult task of finding a suitable replacement for your outgoing friend. Thankfully there are more people house sharing than ever, so it’s less a problem of finding a person, as it is finding the RIGHT person.

So how do you decide which stranger will fit in with you and your current housemates? Well, at Room Buddies we want you to have the best living experience possible, so to help you out, we have put together this list of ten ways to screen potential new housemates.

1. What Do They Do?

This person is going to be sharing the rent and bills for the same home as you, therefore, one of your first questions should be what they do for a living. If they offer up a routine 9-5 then you’re in business, if they say they are “between things” then you have reason to be sceptical.

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2. What’s Their Background?

Obviously, it’s rude to ask too much of someone, but there are certain things which you are entitled to ask.

It’s fair to ask anything from where they are from and what they have previously done (work wise) and realistically you’d want to know if they’ve spent the last five years in prison wouldn’t you?

3. Do They Smoke?

This is a big bone of contention for certain people depending whether the rest of your housemates smoke or not. Most landlords won’t allow smoking in the house, so if they do it’s also worth contemplating where they could smoke if they did live with you.

4. What Are Their hobbies?

This can be a great bonding point, as you may find you both play sports, or that you love live music. Alternatively, you could find that they play the drums or like to practice DJing in the early hours of the morning which might be slightly more difficult to live with.

5. Socialising

It’s important to work out what their socialising habits tend to be. Depending how you and your current housemates operate, particularly on weekends, it’s worth finding out whether they intend to spend time out of the house, or prefer having friends over, which may or may not be an issue for you.

6. Do They Have a Partner?

Something which can either be great or utterly disastrous is a new housemate in a relationship. Some may be easy going, may pass by with their other half from time to time and largely not bother you.

Others might essentially move in as a couple, overcrowding your bathroom, kitchen and living room, not to mention making you incredibly uncomfortable if/when an argument breaks out.

7. Their Intentions

In the wonderful world of house shares, people might need a place for just one month or for the foreseeable future.

You have to consider what is best for you. If you agree to have someone only looking for a short-term solution, you have to respect the fact you’ll be going through the same process in a couple of months.

8. Do They Work From Home?

In the modern world, many more of us are able to work from home instead of commuting to the office. However, in the confines of a snug flat share, this might become a problem if a number of you operate from home.

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9. Housemate Test

Let’s be honest, you don’t have to find your future best friend in this person, you just have to find someone who you can comfortably exist under the same roof with, so why not have a bit of fun in the screening process?

Perhaps write a short and sweet housemate quiz for them to fill in with questions like ‘which food are you willing to share’?

If you are big hot beverage drinkers, why not test their tea-making skills, or test their practicality by asking them to change the fire alarm batteries.

10. Do They Have References?

The world is unfortunately full of very talented liars; therefore, it is worth asking for references from previous landlords or housemates that can vouch they aren’t complete nightmares.