Finding a Flatmate in the UK.............Not that Easy

Moving out of student halls and into your own rented flat or house gives you a huge sense of freedom, but can also leave you with a huge pile of bills. Flatmates provide the perfect solution.

If you thought getting to university was a chance to spread out in your own space, then think again. Understanding how to live with other people's quirks and characteristics is part of life, especially at university. That's why it's so important to live with the right people - and the right "flatmate wanted" ad can guarantee you find someone who doesn't make you dread being at home.

The Perfect ad

When looking for a flatmate, it's usually easiest to start with people you know. Failing that, you can post a free ad on a website (Gumtree is particularly popular in the UK), or even on notice boards around campus.

Don't just say that you're looking for someone – anyone – to live with. Give some information about yourself and other people in the house/flat, such as how old you are, what you're studying and any perks about where you live (swimming pools, games consoles, bus stop outside the door). Also, specify things like whether you want non-smokers, dietary requirements and how long the room will be available for.

When you start getting enquiries, get your other flatmates together and meet the people who are interested in taking the room. Decide on a list of questions to ask (this is your chance to find out about music tastes, cleanliness and whether or not they only eat sardines), and explain about the costs they'd be expected to share. After you've met a few people in this way, take a vote and decide which one you want to invite into your pad.

Be honest

It may seem like successfully living with someone is all down to the sort of person they are, but it takes some understanding of the sort of housemate you are, too. Ask yourself not just easy it is for you to live with others, but how easy is it for them to live with you?

Things like squeezing the toothpaste from the middle may drive you insane, but how do your housemates react to the fact that you go for a run at 6am, save your washing up until the weekend or hang your laundry in the living room?

Each group of flatmates has its own way of working well together, and it's important to find out what yours is – this will keep everyone happy, and focusing on studies rather than personal conflicts. Your flatmates can end up being some of the best friends you'll make at university, so have fun and enjoy the experience!

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