House sharing in London

House sharing

House sharing is a very popular option for newcomers to London especially if you’re single and don’t know many people. This post takes a walk down memory lane on my house sharing experience.

When I first arrived on my own in the UK almost 9 years ago I moved into a 5 bedroom house share. It was a great option as I already knew one person in the house and wasn’t too keen to live on my own. As I had only experienced a very brief stint in a house share previously in South Africa this was still a fairly new experience for me. Living in a house share had it’s pros and cons, and some memorable moments too…

The great things about living in a house share

  • It’s an opportunity to meet other people
  • It’s less lonely than living on your own
  • There were always people around keen to have a braai(barbeque)
  • It gives you an opportunity to save some money as your expenses would be less than staying in your own place

The not so great things about living in a house share

  • Learning to live in a house with many people can take some adapting to. If you’re someone that is a loner and don’t really like being around other people this might not be the right setup for you.
  • Living in a house share can mean working with, adapting to and fitting into different peoples schedules so there may be some clashes with using the bathroom and kitchen
  • People have different definitions of cleanliness meaning for some living in a clean and tidy house is less of an issue as it is to others

Funny and memorable house sharing moments

  • The only time one of my housemates cleaned his bedroom was when somebody was coming over… He would spend the entire day washing his linen, vacuuming, dusting, polishing and tidying 😉
  • One morning I walked to the bathroom half asleep and was jolted awake when I bumped into a strange naked lady barely covered with a small hand towel!
  • The day I was asked how many squares of toilet paper do I use… as the toilet paper seemed to be used up quite quickly in the house. A friend told me about a similar house sharing incident but was also asked to do their business at work if possible?!

How to improve the house sharing experience

  • Choose a house share with people of similar ages, backgrounds or professions
  • If possible, choose a smaller house share
  • If possible, choose a house with more bathrooms/toilets
  • Lay down some ground rules such as house chores and guests visiting so that everyone has an understanding of their housemates expectations
  • Be considerate of others

A while later, my boyfriend(now hubby) joined me and we continued to live in the house for almost 3 years. Through no fault of ours it ended sooner than we expected as the landlord decided to “kick us all out” so that his son and friends could move in to the house. This of course turned out to be a good thing as it forced us to move on to the next stage of our lives.

Living in a house share has it’s pros and cons and has been part of my experience of living in the UK. It also gave me the opportunity to save some money and visit some amazing places. If you’re new to the UK and are wondering whether to consider this option then weigh up the positives and negatives. Hopefully this post has now given you some insight on what it’s like to live in a house share.

What are your thoughts on living in a house share? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

16 Comments

  1. 26th July 2016 / 12:23 PM

    Aww I remember when I lived in a shared house in London – it can be real fun, though I haven’t been always that lucky !
    I also blogged about London, check it out if yo like 😊

    • 26th July 2016 / 12:55 PM

      Hi there, thanks for reading and commenting. I shall check out your blog 😃

  2. 27th July 2016 / 9:31 PM

    I remembered when I shared a house with two girls whilst at Uni. It was a good experience but I’m lucky not to have to house share with anyone again. Apart from my husband of course. Hehehe…

    • 28th July 2016 / 5:29 AM

      Hahahaha yes I know what you mean. I suppose it is an experience that teaches you about appreciating your own space 🙂

  3. Roshan
    2nd August 2016 / 11:21 AM

    Hey Natalie interesting article and good summary, like you have pointed out there are many advantages of house sharing but also some disadvantages. I have had some good times with my friends from NZ house sharing but also some interesting and not so pleasant situations sharing with random people, I guess the thing is if you are willing to move into a house share then one of the key things is to have some tolerance for others habits

  4. 9th August 2016 / 6:52 PM

    Love this post! It’s always good hearing from people that have had the experiences I think about. I’ve been thinking of moving to the UK in a few years time and I know the easy way to relocate is through becoming an au pair (not what I want to do) and the only other way I can think of is saving up a hell of a lot of money, trying find a job in my industry (communications) and looking into affordable accommodation options like a house share. Any advice for someone that wants to make the move? It’s all very daunting.

    • 9th August 2016 / 7:04 PM

      Thank you! 🙂 I would say go for it! It is getting harder to get into the UK but if you’re able to get in through au pairing or relocating with an international company from South Africa then that’s your first goal achieved. There are also different visa options to consider. 1stContact is a company that can also help with visas. Please feel free to check out these posts https://whatudidntknow.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/moving-to-london-kickstart/ and https://whatudidntknow.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/moving-to-uk-what-to-expect/

      • 9th August 2016 / 7:06 PM

        Thank you 🙂 I’ll keep my eye on your blog for some insights. It’s such a daunting task but dreams can become a reality, right?

        • 9th August 2016 / 7:07 PM

          Yes of course totally!! Don’t give up on it. If you want it enough then you’ll make it happen 😉

        • 9th August 2016 / 7:11 PM

          I was also just thinking now – your 2 degrees may also play in your favour with a visa…

          • 9th August 2016 / 7:15 PM

            I sure hope so! I was thinking of getting a little experience in SA, save up then find a way to hopefully move over there. I know the opportunities in my industry exist, it’s just securing everything that freaks me out. If I had a friend or family that side it would be easier but I’ll just have to do a lot of research and explore the possibilities

          • 9th August 2016 / 7:21 PM

            Securing everything takes time but I’m more than happy to try and help where I can with any questions you may have. You can find my email address on my About page. I know it may seem overwhelming as I’ve been through it too. There’s also an amazing South Africans in London Facebook group to support people etc. So don’t feel like you’re alone 😉

          • 9th August 2016 / 7:23 PM

            Thank you so much Natalie! I really appreciate it 🙂 You’ve already made me feel a bit more optimistic about it. Safe to say i’ll be a regular reader haha xx

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