25 Rules You and Your Flat Mates Must Follow


With the beginning of University looming and all the students moving back into their new flats, we thought it might be the right time to pass on some knowledge of the unspoken rules of flatting. Everyone has their pet peeves, such as not doing the dishes, clogging up the sink or keeping everyone awake at outrageous times in the morning. It’s these little things that you might not even be aware that you do, that can create tension amongst your pairs or even worse, a secret hatred. Whether you have lived with them before or it’s your first time sharing an apartment, it pays to know these unspoken rules as they can help prevent the likely hood of inter flat domestics.




  1. You must announce when you are making a trip to the supermarket. People will most likely want to come with you.


  1. If someone does announce they are going, you can ask them to get one or two things for you, but that is the max. Any more and you can just go with them.


  1. You must ask before you take any food. Flatmate has a fantastic tartar sauce that will go with your fish? Or are you in dire need of just a splash of their milk? Well, make sure you ask! They will most likely say yes anyway, it is just the courteous thing to do.


  1. However please don’t ask if it is the last of it. If you know, you using the milk will finish it off, meaning they will have to get more for their cereal tomorrow morning, then don’t ask. The person will most likely reluctantly say yes and then bear the burden of their actions. But you should never put them in that situation.


  1. As a flatmate, it is your responsibility to prevent drunk texts being sent. We are all guilty of them from time to time, so we need to be careful of others and help them, even when they don’t want you to.


  1. If your flatmate’s parents come into town, you must all help clean up. They’re away thinking you’re still the neat and tidy person you were at home. So it’s best to help your flatmates keep up this illusion so they can do the same for you.


  1. You must all do your equal share of cleaning. If you see Larry cleaning the toilet, you should be right beside him scrubbing the shower. If you come together as a team when it comes to cleaning, you will have a much easier time, and it will eliminate the arguments of who contributes the least to the flat.


  1. Once the cleaning is done, you should take the time and admire your flatmate’s efforts. Say nice job or give them an ice-cream or something. Simply give them credit for their work and make it less of a chore for them.


  1. You must empty the bin and take the rubbish out. There are only so many times you can crush the contents further down, making the job even more difficult for the next guy.


  1. Keep your showers short and morning routines consistent. Everyone needs to be somewhere in the morning so have others learn your routine so that everyone can get into the bathroom when needed.


  1. You cannot let your boy/girlfriend practically live in the flat if they aren’t contributing to the bills.


  1. No passive aggressive messages in the flat chat. Posting when you are in your room, “Can we please start cleaning the pots once finished with them instead of leaving them dirty on the element lol.” Putting lol at the end of a message does not make it O.K., it just makes it awkward, and besides, the flat will all know who the message is for.


  1. You need to designate equal space in your freezer and cupboards for your flatmates. You all should be entitled to equal space if you all pay equal rent. And don’t be one of those guys that have their parents provide the freezer for the flat so therefore claim it’s their freezer their rules. These actions create wars and others may have contributed things for the flat too.


  1. Use Headphones when listening to your music or movies. Nothing worse than when most of the flat is watching a movie, and you have old mate beside you watching Shortland street with the volume right up.


  1. Establish a spare key outside or a protocol if someone miss places their key or doesn’t take it with them on a night out. There is always one flatmate who does it, meaning you have to pay the price of letting them in at 3 a.m. after being woken by loud drunken banging and shouting.


  1. Respect the sleep of others, plain and simple.


  1. A closed door should mean privacy. Can only be opened after knocking and receiving permission


  1. Make sure there is always a stock of toilet paper, everyone should always keep tabs on how much is left.


  1. Have a conversation and decide early on how the toilet roll should be placed. Over or under, small bits of communication can go a long way in establishing connections.


  1. Must support each other on social media. If one flatmate posts a selfie, you should expect to see an X amount of likes which is equivalent to the X amount of flatmates you have within one hour.


  1. Be careful with your noise when you know someone has to get up early the next day. If you plan on staying up and binge-watching, ‘How I Met Your Mother’, please just keep it down. You friend Andy right beside you might have an early start or an important test the next day so don’t keep him awake.


  1. Some programs you can all watch together and some you can’t, majority rules come into play for what goes on the T.V. If Kardashians win, then so be it. Swallow up your pride and get ready for an hour of listening to Kim’s feelings and how one of their pregnancy is going.


  1. Don’t be that flatmate who tips food into the sink. We don’t know if this is a common thing or just happens at one of our staff’s flat. But if you don’t finish your meal and you want to biff it, please put it in the rubbish and not on top of the sink full of dishes. Yes, the dishes need to be washed, but no one is going to do them when they have to hand-pick all your leftovers out first.


  1. Please if you smoke, just do it outside! Not everyone is a smoker, and the smell does linger. No one likes being the guy to tell you off or to say no when you ask. So please just take it outside, your flatmates and landlord will thank you.


  1. Also most important of all, you should consult with your flat about joining NZCU South for their Christmas Saver club. Don’t keep all the benefits for yourself! Start one as a flat and save up for the end of the year. That way you can have a fund sorted for a big leaving party or else extra funds to cover missing rent or excess damages.


Those are some basic rules that can help get you through your flatting arrangement. All though these rules seem like common sense, you will be surprised by the lack of care that people have when they leave the nest and taste the freedom of a new housing situation. We advise you to establish these rules early or perform them yourself so that others can get a fair idea of how they should act. We cannot guarantee their success as we too have these internal struggles in our own homes. But it pays to develop these common habits and lay down these rules. As people talk and word can spread if you become, ‘that’ flatmate.

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