Whether it's just you moving or the whole household, leaving a share house can be a time of stress and unnecessary conflict — even for the best of friends. In an ideal world, everyone would agree on good housemate conduct. In reality, all you can do is communicate clearly and try to do the right thing yourself, and hope that it's reciprocated.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of pointers to help you move out of your share house as amicably as possible.
Give appropriate notice
This one seems obvious, to most people. There are, of course, the deluded few who think that saying "Hey, I'm going to move out this weekend" is acceptable.
Ideally, you would have spoken about a notice period when you first moved in. But if you didn’t, somewhere between 2-4 weeks is usually the norm, depending on the circumstances, including whether or not you’re an official leaseholder. Tenants Victoria has published some good resources for co-tenants which cover everything from lease issues to sub-tenancies.
Pack your stuff like a pro
We get it. You’re busy juggling work, study, life etc. But don’t be ‘that person’ who takes forever to pack, leaving the other housemates worrying about whether or not you’re going to get your gear out on time. Get organised early — have you got moving boxes? Packing tape? Help or a removalist booked in? Make a list and get on it. The quicker you get it done, the sooner you can move into your new pad and the less stressful it will be for all.
Don't leave traces of yourself behind
While of course you want your legacy to live on, there is nothing worse than a share house accumulating unwanted clutter in the form of remnants of former housemates. Unless they're genuinely keen on keeping your beloved memorabilia, then don’t leave it behind.
Use this time to re-evaluate your possessions
Moving time is a good opportunity to re-think what you own, and cull and/or donate wherever possible. Countless studies have shown that there are benefits to your mental health from having less clutter and fewer unnecessary possessions. The other bonus is that the less stuff you have, the easier it is to move.
Nobody likes a grub. Pick up the vacuum
Whether you’re all ending the lease collectively, or you’re just moving out of your room, make sure you put in your fair share of the cleaning. If your housemates are staying on and it’s just you moving out, then give your room a good vacuum and dust and leave it as you’d like to find it. This one can cause grief well out of proportion with the amount of effort needed to sort it, so make sure you tidy up.
Pay up promptly
If you agree to pay rent and bills by a particular date, then make sure to honour your commitment, or communicate your intentions as soon as possible. For your own sake, keep some kind of record of what you've paid and when, especially if there are multiple housemates sharing several utilities.
Be the bigger person if needs be
Some of your former housemates will become lifelong friends. And some you will hope to never have to see again. The realities of trying to co-exist under the same roof with a raft of personalities mean that great relationships go hand-in-hand with conflict-riddled ones. If the move-out breaks down, save yourself the hassle of 'winning' and be the bigger person — life goes on.
Surely there is some kind of housemate’s karma system whereby the way you treat people comes back your way, right? Regardless, it's a good idea to keep it positive and dignified.
Where to get advice
Tenants Union of Victoria 03 9416 2577
Residential Tenancies Bond Authority 1300 137 164
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