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Newhaven LighthouseListening to someone coughing the gunk up off their lungs every morning, isn’t the most pleasant of things to wake up to, is it? Flat sharing has both its good and its bad points. I’m sure a lot of people have gone through the experience of flat sharing at some point or other and have their own stories to tell. Here’s one of mine.

It’s been a long while since I’ve shared a flat with anyone. I was renting a studio apartment in Amsterdam for the best part of seven years. It was small: about 25/30 square metres in a fairly central part of the city. I enjoyed having the place to myself but still had a good few friends to call on if I felt lonely. When I moved to New Zealand I shared accommodation with other people for two years. Now I’m in Edinburgh and have been sharing a flat with two people for the last two months.

I was in Ireland at the time when I found the flat share in Edinburgh and moved over here at the end of July. My initial plan was to stay in this flat temporarily (five weeks or so) and hopefully find other, longer term accommodation by the end of August. I hadn’t met the two people who were staying here and hadn’t seen the flat either, so I took a chance on it and hoped it would work out. The girl did send me photos of the place and it looked ok and fairly clean and tidy. She did say that it was small but cosy.

Now I can handle a certain amount of mess in a house, for a certain amount of time. When I moved in, the place wasn’t the tidiest but it was ok. There was a guy and a girl sharing the flat with me. The guy had quite a big springer spaniel dog called Ninja who lived in the house with us. Within two weeks of me moving in, the sitting room- come-kitchen was very messy and the guy had practically turned it into his bedroom, with clothes everywhere, loose tobacco all over the floor and on the dining room table.

His dirty dishes sat on the counter beside the sink for days. He spent nearly all of his free time in the sitting room, with the curtains drawn, either watching television (in Spanish) or playing games on his laptop, so I had no access to that area of the flat. Only once in two months did I see him brush the floor and the dog was lucky enough to be taken for a walk once a day. Poor Ninja!

There were two fridges: one of them didn’t work properly and the other one, whichNewhaven Lighthouse at dusk was packed with their food, hadn’t been cleaned in months. The worst thing though was listening to him every morning, trying to cough the gunk off his lungs from smoking. It sounded like he was dragging muck from the tips of his toes, through his lungs and up his throat. I know smokers can cough a lot but this was repulsive.

The girl said she gave up trying to clean the place because within a few hours, the place would be as bad as ever again with his mess. She told him to move out by the end of September, otherwise she was going to get the police. She was the one who paid the rent and the bills and then we paid her. He eventually moved out a few weeks ago. THANK GOD!

There are a lot of components that can play a part in a good flat share. The location, the price, access to amenities like supermarkets, green areas, pubs, transport and the people you share with are all important factors. When you go to look at a place you can usually get a good idea of what the flat is like. Though mind you, you can’t very well, on the first visit, ask to see the inside of their fridges, can you?  I’d like to though, because the state of someone’s fridge is a good measure of what the rest of the house is like.

It’s harder to get an idea of what the people you’re sharing will be like until after you’ve moved in. I’ve lived in various places with different people and I could tell you some stories but I’ll leave that to another blog post. Some people I’ve shared with have been very nice though and I’ve made some good friends through flat sharing. I’m moving tomorrow to another flat share and I think it will be a lot better. One good thing about the last few flat shares though is that I’ve been lucky to share houses with some feline friends. I love cats and did get attached to some of them. The girl that I’m going to share with has a cat too and I’m looking forward to that. I’m hoping within a few months that I’ll  find a long term, better paid job than what I’m doing at the moment and my intention is to look into getting my own place.