Our dear friend and flatmate is moving out and we have no one to replace him. Looks like we’re turning to Moveflat.com or Loot to fill his room, but could you tell us how to figure out who will be right for living with us?
Set aside a weekend and ask those interested to come at appointed times. (You’ll find your schedule will get disrupted, but at least they won’t turn up all at once.) A few minutes alone with each person will give you a chance to get to know them a little, as well as get them interested in living with you (this is especially important if your flat is rubbish). Ask your candidates why they’re leaving their current home, what they do for a living, if it’s possible to get a reference from a former landlord or flatmate, and anything else you think might clue you in to their financial and psychological security. We know someone from an all-veggie flat who would present potential flatmates with two bowls of olives and instruct them to determine which was the organic variety. If you’re as uptight about whom you live with you might want to consider a similar test. But for the record, we think that type of supercilious behaviour is lame.
You should also be clear with your potential flatmates about what life is like in your house. Keep in mind when living with strangers it is usually more pleasant to have stricter cleaning rules than when living with friends, so you may want change your current habits. Will your new flatmate be expected to cook dinner sometimes? To put up with your smoking habit? Your crack-smoking habit? You don’t want to live with someone you think is a drag, and more important, you don’t want to do another flatmate search for a while. Some helpful phrases: “We all kind of do our own thing,” or “we share our groceries and think it’s much nicer that way.” Most people look at a lot of flats and only pursue ones they’re interested in. What will probably happen is that you’ll click with one of your visitors, and that will be that. Meeting as many people as possible will make the selection process easier.
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