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Communal Living

By bzellie 18 Aug 2020

If in student accommodation, you will be staying in shared flats/houses that include sharing kitchens and toilets (different for ensuites and studios). If you have never shared a flat or house with someone you don't already know, we're sure you have some questions!

We have put together several questions which are commonly asked and have answered them for you here!

1. Who cleans the toilets/kitchen in the house or flat?

The cleaning team comes by once a week to clean all the shared areas: kitchens, toilets and hallways. If you are living in an ensuite or studio, your toilet (and/or kitchen) is your own responsibility. The cleaning team will not be responsible to clean them. 

2. How to share the kitchen space?

There should be enough space in the kitchen for each person staying in a house/flat: a small and a big cupboard and a shelf in the fridge and freezer. Please do not place your belongings in more than the given number of cupboards/shelves as it is divided equally. If you see that someone is not using it and you have a lot of belongings, you could ask them nicely if you can keep your things there temporarily.

a cup of coffee

3. What are Quiet Hours?

This is a rule set by Residences which basically sets a time where students are expected to remain quiet. This is because some students could be on placements and must get up early or simply that someone is trying to get some sleep. The time to keep it down is between 11PM and 7AM every day. Please be as considerate to your neighbours as you can!

4. Who takes out the bins?

When the bins are almost full in the kitchens and toilets, it is your responsibility to take them out. To make it fair for everyone, we suggest you make a bin rota and divide it amongst yourselves. If you do not take the bins out within the time ranges set by Residences, then each resident will be charged £5 for the removal of waste by the Residences team.

5. How to keep the kitchen clean?

In order to have a nice and tidy kitchen, we recommend taking extra care to always clean up after yourselves. If you cook and accidentally spill or drop something, it's a good idea to pick it up and clean it there and then. Even though the cleaning team will take care of the kitchen, if it is in a bad state, they will not clean and they will also charge you for it. They normally post warning letters in the first instance and if the issue persists then charges will be applied. These can start from £30 but will increase depending on the scale of work required. Check out Residences' tips for keeping the kitchen clean here.

6. How to share bathrooms?

A toilet is the most frequently used shared facility in communal living. To maintain clean and hygienic bathrooms, you should clean after yourselves. Leave it ready for your flatmates just the way you would like it yourself. Another tip is to be mindful of how much time you spend in the shower as others may want to use it too. Check out Residences' tips for keeping the bathroom clean here.

7. I have a problem with one of my flatmates, what should I do?

The best way to resolve any issues within your flat is through effective and open communication. We've put together some tips for having difficult conversations with flatmates here. If you feel you need further support with this, you can reach out to our team through the Student Connect Portal so we can do our best to help.

If the issue is impacting you or your flatmates' wellbeing, you can also contact Student Connect to be signposted to specific wellbeing support.

8. Is it okay to use other people’s belongings?

Since most of the students leave their utensils, plates, food, etc. in the kitchen, it's important not to assume you can use them. If you made an agreement with your flatmates to use each other’s belongings, that is great! However, if someone did mention not to use their items, this is probably not personal. They probably do not prefer sharing what they own for many reasons.

cutlery in a drawer

For more tips on cleaning, check out our How to... clean your flat article!