How To: Be A Less-Worse Flatmate Than Me

I am a constant source of irritation to my flatmates. I hair dyed the bathroom wall, I broke a sofa, I accidentally threw up on some builders, I threw dried rice all over myself and lived for ten months with dried rice under my bed.
Publish date:
December 10, 2012
renting, stevie martin, living in london, flatmate, how to be a good flatmate

I knew it was bad when my last flatmate told me I would die if I lived alone and I said, bursting with indignation, “that’s not true, I’d be great at living alone” and he pointed out that I’d left my yoghurt in the bathroom cupboard.

I am a constant source of irritation for not mopping the kitchen floor. Once my mother gave me 3kg of dates from the United Arab Emirates (don’t ask) and my flatmates kept finding date stones in teacups all over the living room. I hair dyed the bathroom wall. I broke a sofa. I accidentally threw up on some builders. I threw dried rice all over myself when filming something (nothing blue, don’t get excited) and lived for ten months with dried rice under my bed.

Upon entering my friend’s flat for the first time, I went upstairs and scratched my bag all the way up the landing so he had to repaint the whole thing. It’s painful to admit all this because I’m trying to get my act together but it’s like walking uphill with no legs and the hill is made of downwards escalators.

Can I just add that I’m sometimes good fun, easy when it comes to TV programmes/DVD selecting, readily share food, never have people round without consulting fellow flatmates and am considerate when it comes to amount of time spent in the bathroom. That said, it’s unsurprising I’m saving up for a studio flat right now.

In order to learn from mine and others’ mistakes, I’ve collated a not-in-any-way exhaustive list of ultimate Housemate Do’s and Don’ts based on anecdotes from my, probably tidier, friendship pool.

Read, laugh, add your own and, most importantly, learn. Remember folks, it’s never OK to scream so loud that a cat wets itself.


DON’T leave grated cheese on the Xbox.

DO clean up when you’ve defecated on the bathroom floor. DON’T leave it there for a week.

DO prevent your cat from climbing on your flatmate’s bed and urinating on her face. When she asks you to stop, DON’T respond: “But Misty is a free spirit. Who am I to hamper her life journey?”

DON’T be arrhythmic while having loud sex. It’s even more annoying.

DON’T set fire to the carpet and lose your housemate’s house keys. Especially not when you're only staying there for two months.

DON’T leave a slice of cake in the bathroom for 16 months.

DO clean your sick up within 24 hours. DON’T leave your housemate to find it while he’s walking the landlord around the house to inspect damages.

DON’T only eat food from bins behind M&S and then leave it to rot in the kitchen. DON’T let the swarms of flies get so thick nobody can use the microwave as they get in and explode, forcing the only normal flatmate to lived off canned goods in his bedroom.

DO dispose of used, ripped condoms. They DON’T go on the floor in the kitchen. Ever.

DON’T scream so loud a cat wets itself.

DON’T play the Champions League theme tune every time you indulge in some solo self love private sex time.

DO lock your door when living with a 40 year-old Romanian lady who enjoys standing in the doorway of bedrooms and watching people sleep.

DO check for a fire when the fire alarm goes off, as opposed to going back to sleep.

DON’T scream at someone for ten minutes for leaving one flake of cereal on the counter.

DON’T have offensively racist themed house parties.

DON’T tell flatmates they’re a tad untidy by emptying the contents of the bin into the shower and onto the floor.

DO clean the cleaning sponge if you’ve used it after experiencing an upset stomach. DON’T leave it on the toilet covered in the fruits of your labour.

DON’T get drunk and eat your friend's flatmate's advent calendar. [oooh - topical! --Rebecca]

DO make cakes properly, as opposed to making them out of raw cake mix in order to save money by not turning the oven on.

DON’T take naps on the floor in the middle of the day in the living room and shout at anyone who disturbs you.

DO let your housemates cook fish. Being “afraid of fish” isn’t a thing.

DON’T claim the shower doesn’t work so you can use it as your personal laundry room and DON’T tell everyone the freezer doesn’t work so you can store food you’ve stolen from your fellow flatmates.

DON’T eat your flatmate's personalised birthday cake bought by her boyfriend. With your hands.

DO come clean about the time you made a candle move using transparent thread. Especially if it was in 2003 and she still believes it was a ghost.

I think I’ve just about got it. And I also feel a hell of a lot better about myself.

So hey rent-friends- who's the worst housemate you've ever lived with? Or, are YOU the worst?

Let's collate a scrap book of terrible memories and sit around reading them with a glass of wine in one hand and someone else's licked cheese in the other. Against a white wall backdrop smeared with spilled wine and licked cheese pieces.

Tell Stevie she's a good housemate and a great person at @5tevieM.