According to a study conducted by Barclays Money Mentors, flatsharing Brits are not only losing out on friendships but also £552 per year due to unreliable housemates who fail to contribute financially. The research, which surveyed 1,200 individuals currently living in a house-share or who have done so in the past year, revealed that 54 percent of respondents felt worse off due to their unreliable flatmates. This amounts to a staggering £434 million annually across 747,000 households.
As a result of these experiences, 66 percent of participants admitted to being hesitant about living with close friends, fearing that it may ruin their friendship. Despite the good intentions of 31 percent of flatsharers who open shared bank accounts with their housemates, 37 percent reported needing to regularly remind their flatmates to contribute their share of the funds.
The tipping point at which individuals would confront their flatmates about their debts was revealed to be £46. However, this confrontation often led to 46 percent of respondents experiencing strained friendships as a result of living with a friend. In situations of household disharmony, 47 percent of housemates would wait a month to see if the situation improved before addressing it, while 25 percent would speak up immediately, and 15 percent would give it three months before taking action.
Relationship expert Jo Barnett, in partnership with Barclays, provided tips on regaining household harmony amid the ongoing lockdown in the UK. She emphasized the importance of maintaining positive relationships with flatmates and offered practical advice for keeping conflicts at bay.
The research also identified the most annoying behaviors exhibited by flatmates. For 35 percent of respondents, the top pet peeve was housemates not cleaning up after themselves, followed by stealing food without replacing it (29 percent) and inviting friends over without permission (28 percent). Furthermore, 30 percent of respondents expressed frustration when flatmates failed to contribute to shared household items like toilet paper, tea bags, and milk, while 27 percent became upset over flatmates not paying bills on time.
The study revealed that 66 percent of people living in shared households found it more challenging during the nationwide lockdown in March, resulting in intensified arguments. Sixty percent of participants even reconsidered their preferences for a flatmate due to the impact of the lockdown.
Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, a millennial finance expert at Barclays Money Mentors, encouraged individuals facing financial struggles in shared accommodations to seek free and impartial financial guidance through the Money Mentors sessions. These virtual appointments, available to members of any bank, aim to help resolve financial conflicts among flatmates.
In addition to the study’s findings, relationship expert Jo Barnett shared her top tips for maintaining household harmony, including setting house rules, establishing a house WhatsApp group, budgeting, organizing face-to-face chats, practicing kindness, and introducing friendly competition within the household.