For many, living in a shared apartment (in German called “Wohngemeinschaft” or “WG”) is an essential part of student life. But not only students live in shared apartments. The housing model is also attractive for newcomers, young professionals, or people who prefer to live together rather than alone. In addition, you can save quite a bit of money, because the rent for an individual apartment is usually higher than that of a shared flat. And living in a shared apartment has many other advantages. Of course, not all that glitters is gold, and also in a shared apartment things can get rough. After all, you share a home and there is enough potential for conflict. We have collected the most important tips and rules for having a great time together in a shared flat.
Before getting into the details, it is worth mentioning that in Hominext we created an innovative solution for like-minded people to find each others. You can either search for flatmates and filter them based on your desires and preferences or search for available flats and send a request for renting them. You are always welcome to create an advertise and let other people know what you are looking for.
Is living in a shared flat worth it?
That depends mostly on you and your preferences. Do you appreciate company when you come home? Are you new to the city? Do you want to meet more people? Can you handle it if it gets louder and more turbulent? Besides that, there are many reasons to live in a shared apartment. First of all, shared flats are a great way to make friends for life. Of course, this is not guaranteed, but if you find roommates with whom you get along, the conditions are good that you will have a great, common time, which welds you together. After all, relationships are strengthened by the time you spend together. That’s where life in a shared flat offers perfect conditions. Especially when you move to a new city, a shared flat can be a great starting point for new circles of friends. In a shared flat you can spontaneously cook together, have game nights, celebrate parties, do sports, or chat over a coffee. Life in a shared flat does not get boring so quickly. On the other hand, there are also times when even the most communicative flatmates need their rest. After all, even in a shared apartment, you can always retreat to your own room. In addition, as a group, you can afford apartments that would otherwise be unaffordable for individuals and especially for students. In most cases, the rent in a shared apartment is cheaper than in your own apartment.
Living together does not always mean peace, joy and happiness. As mentioned before, living in a shared apartment also offers a lot of potential for conflict over noise, order and cleanliness, and many other interpersonal reasons.
How does living together in a shared apartment become a joyful experience?
The most important thing in any relationship is good communication. Communicate clearly, politely and openly when something is bothering you. If you have the feeling that work such as cleaning of the community rooms or communal shopping is being shared unfairly, speak up. If there is no improvement, you can agree on clear rules, such as a cleaning schedule. This way there are clear responsibilities and a fair, agreed division of work.
Also, communicate major events with your roommates ahead of time. After all, roommates may have exam periods, important professional appointments, or other reasons why they need to rest on certain days. If you have invited your 5 friends from home and are planning a happy reunion, while one of your roommates is writing a difficult exam the next day that he or she has already failed twice, trouble is inevitable. Therefore, give your roommates a chance to notice in time and find a solution together.
If you need to retreat and rest for yourself, that’s fine. Maybe you don’t want to be in a company all the time and your roommates may sometimes feel the same way. It goes without saying that you should give them the space to do so and can expect them to respect your private time as well. And the most important basic rule – have fun together. Great relationships do not only form by the amount of time spent together, but also by the quality and diversity of experiences shared.
- Go to a bar, pub or club together
- Organize house parties
- Do sports together
- Play video games together
- Cook together
In general, living together requires tolerance. Everyone is different and everyone has their own ideas, values and boundaries that they need to feel comfortable. For one person this means cleaning once a week, for another once every 2 weeks is enough. Stay polite even in disagreements, express your own opinion clearly, respect the opinion of others and find a solution together. In a shared flat dispute can arise, but it is almost always possible to find a compromise that satisfies everyone. Wait a little until the most heated emotions have cooled down and seek an open and fair conversation.
General rules for living together in a shared apartment
Most of this is common sense, but for the sake of completeness, here are the most important rules for living in a shared apartment:
- Take care of your dirty cutlery promptly. The more cutlery you accumulate, the more the next person in the kitchen will be limited and the more you will have to do later. In the end, you’ll have to wash up anyway, so it’s best to do it right after having a meal.
- The last person to leave the shared flat turns off the lights, turns down the heating and locks the door.
- Every household in Germany is generally obliged to pay public broadcasting fees. It is sufficient if one member of the apartment pays the broadcasting fees. If a flatmate already pays the fee, you can report this to the GEZ and be exempted from the obligation to pay the fee. In return, it is right and fair if you pay the accession payer your share in time. Also, in Germany, the tenant is usually responsible for the availability of an internet access. Again, pay your share in time to the contract holder. It’s best to set up a standing order with your bank for both payments.
By the way, when you move in it is a great time to suggest a few improvements to the apartment. When everything is still new and you look at the apartment with a fresh eye, you can quickly think of a few improvements. Especially if your roommates are planning to stay a little longer, they will be motivated to join your improvement ideas.
Living in a shared flat can enrich your life immensely and provide you with many funny, crazy and exciting experiences. You can easily make new friends and quickly find a partner to cook, party or do sports with. On the other hand, you share your living space and have to be willing to compromise. That means it can be louder, dirtier or wilder than when you live alone. From his own experience, the author of this blog can only recommend living in a shared apartment, because here friendships for live can begin.