Don’t pee in the bath……………………

The joys and adventures of living in shared accommodation

Never again……

720a Leytonstone High road, E11, this was my address after graduating and landing my first full time job as a graduate engineer.

It cost me, just about 30 years ago now £38 per week to rent a room in a shared house, with no shared living space apart from the kitchen and bathroom.


It was the best I could find at the time – living in a room next door to a young man who though seemed very nice, also had some serious issues with alcohol, which was particularly noticeable whenever he opened the door to his room.

I then moved to rent a couple of rooms with let’s call him Dave and you can read more about my adventures here at

My next move to Debden, in Essex wasn’t too successful either, we were burgled pretty early on and then to top it all I kept coming across BNP stickers and posters at the station, which kept reappearing as fast as I could tear them down.

So I was very glad to leave all that behind and move to Walthamstow, E17 where I found a room to rent in a lovely house. Couldn’t believe my luck, but there was just one small problem – I was in my opinion sharing a house with a slightly ‘mad’ housemate who was over the course of a few months to become the ‘bane of my life’.

I picked up ‘the vibe’ from the moment we met and it ‘kinda’ went down-hill from there, in any case I am not going to dwell on that today but rather to consider the etiquette needed to live harmoniously with others.

Particularly as I consider my daughter and the likelihood that she is likely to spend far longer renting and sharing her living space, than her parents.

So in no particular order here are a few things I learnt (the hard way) during my time as a lodger………..


  • Leave all and any shared space better than you found it, regardless. It is just possible that the people you are sharing with, will notice and move up to your standards.
  • Don’t allow things to ‘fester’ so that your time is spent quietly seething with resentment until you explode. Far, far better instead to deal with things whilst you can still do so with a smile, rather than a snarl or through ‘gritted’ teeth.
  • Don’t do as one person I know did, pee in someone’s bath, if someone is irritating you that much maybe it’s time for at least one of you to move out.
  • Conversely, probably wise not to leave the bathroom unattended if you have just run a bath. With regard to my friend a whole host of irritations and resentments came to the fore, when presented with this ‘golden’ opportunity.
  • If someone leaves a chair full of cuddly toys directly outside your room, probably best to start a conversation rather than persistently and stubbornly ignore it.
  • Avoid at all costs, having a screaming match with your flat mate, really doesn’t make for a harmonious coexistence.
  • Be wary of ‘live in’ landlord owners looking for more than a lodger, who needs the hassle and the added complication?

Think that’s probably about it, be happy to hear about your ‘renting adventures’.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

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