Health and Wellbeing

Living with others

Find out about living with other people and dealing with disagreements.

Living with other people can be a minefield, particularly if you don’t feel you have anything in common with them.

Our Community Standards can help you live well together, and students agree to these when they move in.

However, there are things you can do to encourage a positive living environment:

  • Make a cleaning rota that everyone has to stick to with a light hearted penalty if not adhered to e.g a bonding activity like cooking a meal for everyone.
  • If someone is not doing any washing up, try doing just your own and then politely ask them to do their own if it is still there after 24 hrs.
  • Arrange group activities such as house meals or film nights – taking turns to cook or learning to cook together. Sharing food is a significant bonding ritual in many cultures.
  • Respect your housemates’ privacy. Always knock before entering their rooms and don’t pry into their personal lives
  • Keep low-level problems within the house – don't canvas friends for support and don't mention disputes on social media
  • Be cautious about becoming romantically involved with one of your housemates – if you don't stay together then living together can be difficult
  • Decide whether you want to buy food individually or together – if you think someone is eating your food because they can't afford their own, ask them to contact the Student Life Centre for hardship support
  • look out for each other – if you notice your housemate is neglecting, isolating or harming themselves ask if they need help or talk to the Student Life Centre.

Disagreements

To resolve conflict, it often helps to talk things through to understand each other better.

Try to have these discussions at a reasonable time of day and not after drinking.

Some guidelines include:

  • Listen and try to understand each other’s rationality
  • Sit down and make eye contact
  • Acknowledge when the other makes a valid point
  • Stick to the matter in hand
  • Cease talking and separate if it becomes heated
  • Don’t say deliberately personal or hurtful things
  • Don’t generalise or bring in other people’s opinions
  • Don’t bring up old unresolved disputes
  • Don’t argue about something for more than an hour
  • Don’t walk away without deciding when discussion will be resumed.

In University-managed accommodation

If you are struggling to resolve a disagreement with housemates, the first step is to contact your Residential Advisor. If this does not improve the situation and you want to move out, you can put yourself on the swap list in the Housing office. Consider this carefully as a last resort because there is no guarantee that you will find the accommodation you move into any better.

Students with welfare issues, or who are worried about the behaviour of a housemate, contact Campus and Residential Support by emailing campus-support@sussex.ac.uk.

If you need it, there's a 24-hr reception desk in York House. You can find a Residential Community Coordinator there between 10am and 10pm weekdays. For out-of-hours emergency support, contact Security on 01273 87 3333.

There is a student discipline procedure. You may want to discuss this with the Student Life Centre or with the Support and Advocacy Service run by the Students' Union.

Renting privately

To get off to a good start, you may want to:

  • introduce yourselves to your neighbours – they might be able to offer you support if you need it
  • be mindful of your neighbours when you're coming home late at night and let them know in advance if you're planning a party
  • get involved in neighbourhood activities.

Between yourselves, you might want to set up a joint account from which bills can be paid. Get all housemates to set up a standing order or transfer into this account so there isn’t pressure on one particular person to collect the money for the bills. This helps split bills and rent equally.

It is much more difficult to switch accommodation in the private sector as you are likely to be bound by a legal contract. To discuss your options and to help you resolve any disputes, contact the Support and Advocacy Service.