Avoid a flatmate from hell

in 4 simple steps

by Domain Property Agents, May 24, 2017 



If you’ve ever had a bad flatmate, you’ll know it’s not a mistake you want to repeat. So what can you do to avoid a case of history repeating itself?


It may be painful but step one requires you to stop and think about what it is you actually don’t like about your problem flatmate.  Is she messy? Does he invite people over without notice?


After months of built up frustrations, this might be tough but it will definitely go a long way to helping avoid similar scenarios happening in the future.


Step two is realising that you’re not alone. In fact, research shows that tension between flatmates often comes up around the same issues. They include:


  • Bills
  • Chores
  • Borrowing
  • Overnight guests
  • Noise


Step three is negotiation. Now that you know why you’re mad at your flatmate, you can easily solve the problem?


In some cases, it may not be so simple. Asking someone to start paying bills on time after months of being late is unlikely to change their behaviour. The same is probably true for that flatmate who listens to music on full volume late into the night when you have work the next day.


Instead, the solution is to iron out potential problems before you move in. Make it clear when bills are due and how they need to be paid - this includes making sure you get receipts for any of your payments. Have set rules outlined for sharing chores and property along with set dates for moving in and out of the property.


Another important tip is to be honest about what you want in a flatmate - sometimes it's better to live with someone reliable who pays the bills on time as opposed to your fun but perhaps a little too carefree friend from uni.


Step four. Leave. If you can’t resolve issues with your flatmate through dialogue, you may need to consider leaving.


There are different ways you can go about leaving your flat or sharehouse. For co or head-tenants, one way is to give your landlord and fellow tenants written notice that you are leaving. The amount of time you will need to give may change in each state, however, an example would be 21 days written notice and 14 days at the end of a fixed term contract.  Just be sure to check your state’s laws so you aren’t caught off guard.


If your co-tenants and landlord agree, you can also transfer your tenancy. Again you will need to make sure you have given the appropriate notice and that you have transferred any bills in your name.


For those who are a sub-tenant, you will also need to give written notice, and if you’re on a fixed term contract, to make sure you aren’t leaving before the end date. If you are leaving early, you may be liable to cover certain costs such as rent until the end of the contract.


If you have any questions about your own rental agreement, feel free to talk to one of our real estate agents for expert advice.




General disclaimer: The information contained in website is general information only and does not constitute legal, financial or compliance advice. As the laws relating to rental applications  may have changed we recommend you check with the relevant State or Territory government department. We also recommend that you obtain your own independent legal advice about matters relating to landlord obligations, tenant rights and any legal disputes you may have with a tenant(s).