Rules for shared apartment

Many students will share their apartment with others at least part of the time. Sharing an apartment is a social way of living and you can get great benefits out of it if you just keep an open mind.

  • Always SAY HELLO to your flatmates and introduce yourself when you first meet.
  • ASK how the others are used to handling their chores.
  • AGREE with the others on common rules.
  • UNDERSTAND that others are different and share your views with them.
  • ENJOY living in a different environment – create good memories to cherish in the future!

In order for there to be common rules, you have to agree on them together. However, the rules and regulations of the housing company and the general terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement apply to everyone, and you cannot override them with your own rules. For example letting extra persons stay in the apartment is strictly forbidden. When you make the rules, you have to remember that even a shared apartment is a home for everyone living in it.

Moving in with a new roommate

Roommate contract

Cleaning

Cleaning the common areas is a shared task and if it isn't done properly, all tenants may have to pay for it. A weekly cleaning keeps the apartment clean and tidy without too much effort. You can agree on a specific day when everyone helps to clean, or you can set up a system of weekly cleaning shifts. The easiest way to deal with dishes is to agree that everyone should do their own dishes after using them. Taking the bins out is everyone's responsibility. You cannot leave your rubbish on the balcony or anywhere else inappropriate. It may be worth deciding together who takes the rubbish out and when. You should also regularly check the refrigerator and freezer and throw away any spoiled items.

If one of the tenants moves out, you should remember that if the common areas have to be cleaned professionally, the bill will be split between all tenants.

Cooking

Agree on mealtimes together. For example, cooking very late at night or very early in the morning and making noise in the kitchen can disturb the other tenants.  There are different ways of cooking and strong smells can disturb others in the apartment. You should set common rules about cooking and speak up if you have a problem. It might help to agree that cooking should be done in the evening at the time when the range hood is on full power, or that the kitchen should be aired out after cooking.

Also keep in mind, that you must not take or borrow someone else's ingredients or dishes without first asking for permission.

Guests

You should agree on a policy for having guests and set rules on how to deal with a situation where one tenant's guests a disturbing the other tenants. Please remember that every tenant is responsible also for disturbances caused by their guests. It is ok to have parties, as long as you all agree together when to have them. When you have a party, always remember that you must still respect the rules and regulations of your apartment building, for example concerning quiet times.

Please remember that a shared apartment is not a place for your boyfriend or girlfriend to live or hang out all the time. If your situation changes and you'd like to cuddle up to your sweetheart every night, you can apply for a family apartment together.

Your property and shared items

Everyone will have their own items in the apartment so please, remember to respect the property of others. The tenants can agree together about the rules on what they can share and what belongs to each person only. It would seem a little silly to have three vacuum cleaners, three hair dryers, three toilet brushes, etc. in the apartment. Also remember that all tenants are responsible for having a working fire alarm in the apartment.

Problems

If you encounter problems while living in shared housing, you should try to discuss them first with your flatmates. It is difficult to remedy the situation if the person accused did not even know their actions were considered disturbing. Some problems may be caused by misunderstandings or different backgrounds leading to incorrect interpretations of gestures, customs or things that were said. Please also read the tips on this page about cleaning and inviting guests.

Also remember that even if others neglect their duties, it does not entitle you to do so. Living in a shared apartment requires each tenant to make compromises and be a little flexible. If the problem cannot be solved by talking or is otherwise recurring or serious, you can be in contact with exchange student services, exchangestudents[at]hoas.fi or submit a written complaint to Hoas.