Have you ever flatted in your life?


15 Dec 2021

Flatting has definitely been one of the most interesting experiences of my life, I must say. When I had just moved to NZ, the term ‘Flatmate’ was kind of weird for me, ‘Flat-Mate’! It basically means, a bunch of people living together in a flat/house to save or reduce their living expense. It can be sharing a house with the owner or main tenant of the house. You pay rent for your room and either split the bills with flatmates or sometimes bills are included in your rent. It is different for different flats.

If I count all the flats I have lived in, just in NZ, I am in my 10th flat at the moment! I know! It is insane! Many reasons contributed, but mainly the fact that, I have lived in 3 places in NZ – Auckland, Tauranga and now, in Hawkes Bay, had a big part to play in this. Some flats were temporary until I found the right flat and in other cases, the people were not right for me or I had to move because of work and change cities.

If you have ever flatted in your life, you would agree to this, it is hard to find a good flatmate or a good flat in general. And when you do find a decent flat, you need to treasure it.

House can be flash or real basic, it all comes down to who you share the space with.
I can confidently say I’ve got sh*t tonnes of advice for anyone who is looking into flatting or is currently in a bad flatting situation. I’ll try and not go overboard, but here is what I have learnt throughout my flatting experience.

You need to respect shared spaces and pull your weight. It is only fair if everyone chips in and shares responsibility of keeping the house tidy and reasonably clean for everyone else. You made a mess, clean up after you! Simple as that. From my experience, there is always a clean one stressing about cleaning roster (and yes, I am that one) and one who is the messiest or just don’t give a flying fish nugget about cleaning. Passive aggression is not healthy for anyone, so just talk through your expectations with all flatties. Chore rosters has been helpful in my experience, but they are only good if all flatties are on board.

So yeah, communication is key. Organise flat meetings if you need to! I mean, would you rather sulk and be miserable for the time you are in a flat or would you just have that awkward conversation one time and live peacefully afterwards? Just discuss with everyone who is comfortable doing what chore and allocate duties around the house. Your room is your responsibility so, it is only just common areas. Unless you live in a massive mansion, common areas should be fairly small. Communication also comes in handy, when you are sharing bills with others and are comfortable is discussing what are the expenses and how you split them. Love this about flatting, you don’t have to pay bills just on your own when you can just split them, they feel less painful!

Third thing I want to discuss is, cooking shared meals. Unless you have great understanding with the flatties, I would recommend, do your own thing. It will save you from putting expectations on other and you are responsible for your own meals. Planned shared meals every now and then could be great flat bonding exercise but every day planning meals together could be stressful. So, get your own groceries and sort your food out yourself.

Now, how does one find a good flat/flatmate? Well, a good starting point is finding out if you have any shared interests with the flatties or not. I mean surely, people with different interests can live in the same house, but having activities you enjoy as a flat, is a bonus! Not only you live with them you actually enjoy their company and can have a good time with them.

The best thing that has come out of all this flatting experience is the people. I have met so many amazing people and got a great opportunity to connect with them in a way, I didn’t think was possible in today’s time when we all struggle to make friends as adults. Solid adult friendships can be rare and I am super grateful, I could make these great bonds, especially living away from Home (India) and not having family here.