“In the future, we will see living experiences curated around a shared lifestyle.”
Joe Gebbia, Designer
Advantages & Disadvantages of Shared Living
Shared living has become increasingly popular over the past decade. Since rents are rising in many metropolitan areas, people have to find cost-efficient alternatives instead of living on their own.
Apart from the many other advantages of shared living, there are also many downsides to this concept. In this article, the pros and cons of shared living are examined.
Advantages of Flat Sharing or House Sharing
- Shared living can save you money on rent
- Money savings on utility costs
- You will have company from your roommates
- You can make good friends over time
- You can learn from your roommates through shared living arrangements
- Can be especially beneficial for students
- You can throw nice parties
- You can help each other
- Good for people who can’t be alone
- Your roommates can become your new family
- You have someone to talk to in difficult times of your life
- You will socialize in a natural manner
Shared living can save you money on rent
One important advantage of shared living is that you can save plenty of money on rent. In many big cities, rents have significantly increased over the past years and will likely continue to do so in the future. Therefore, many people simply can no longer afford living alone. Instead, more and more people decide to live with a roommate in order to save large amounts of money on rent in the long run.
Hence, if rents will continue to increase in the future, shared living will likely become even more popular in the future since many people will no longer be able to financially afford living on their own.
Money savings on utility costs
If you live in a shared flat or a shared house, you can not only save money on rent, you can also save part of the utility costs since you will share a living space and some other facilities and therefore, the fraction of the utility bill you will have to pay will be lower compared to a state where you live alone.
Consequently, not only can you save significant amounts of money due to lower rents, you can also save money due to lower utility costs through shared living.
You will have company from your roommates
Another upside of shared living is that you will always have company from your roommates. Especially if you live in a shared house with many other people, chances are that at least one person will always be at home.
Hence, if you are a person who really loves to have company and wants to talk to people on a regular basis, chances are that shared living arrangements will be the way to go for you.
You can make good friends over time
Some of your roommates will also become really good friends in the future. Especially if you live together for many years, you will develop a deep connection with each other. Over time, you will talk about many different topics, eat together, watch the same movies and so on.
All those experiences will lead to a state where you don’t want to miss your roommates and even after you finally live on your own, chances are that you will still stay in contact and spend plenty of time together.
You can learn from your roommates through shared living arrangements
Shared living not only provides you with company, it also gives you a great opportunity to learn from each other. We are all different and have our own strengths and weaknesses. Hence, if you live together with people who have different characteristics, you will be able to learn many different skills over time.
For instance, time will come when your washing machine or other devices break down. In such a case, you may not know what to do. However, one of your roommates likely will and you can watch how he or she will solve the problem. In turn, chances are that you will be able to solve this problem in the future on your own instead of having to rely on other people.
Therefore, if you are eager to learn and to progress, shared living can give you the opportunity to really learn additional skills, which can be quite beneficial for you in various parts of your future life.
Can be especially beneficial for students
Shared living is also quite popular among students. Students are often on a budget and do not have too much money to spend on rent. Moreover, students also often love company and want to spend their time with other people as often as possible.
Thus, especially for students, those shared living arrangements can make quite a lot of sense and are a good alternative to dorm life.
You can throw nice parties
Another benefit of shared living is that you can also throw nice parties with your roommates and you can also invite many new people to your party. In fact, parties with your roommates and their contacts can be quite a lot of fun and can often also be more enjoyable than going out to a bar or a club since you have all the amenities you want to have at home.
You can help each other
When you live together with roommates, you can also help each other out in case there is a problem. For instance, you can help each other with doing college assignments or help with various other things of daily life.
Since all of us have different strengths and weaknesses, you can do your roommates favors in the areas where you are really good at and can get help from your roommates in areas where you are rather weak.
In turn, everyone can profit from the knowledge of each other and life can become much easier.
Good for people who can’t be alone
Especially if you are an extrovert and want to connect and to talk to people all the time, shared living will also be the way to go for you. In fact, there are some people out there who just feel not comfortable at all to be alone.
Hence, if you are one of those people who urgently need company to feel good, shared housing will likely be the way to go for you since you will often have many people around you with whom you can talk about various things that bother and interest you.
Your roommates can become your new family
If you stay with the same roommates for a quite long time, you will develop a quite deep connection with your roommates. In fact, after a few years, you will consider your roommates as kind of part of your family since you will see each other on a daily basis and will spend so much time with each other.
This can be quite beneficial, especially in case you need help later on in your life and know that there are people out there who really care about you.
You have someone to talk to in difficult times of your life
From time to time, everyone of us experiences times in life where everything seems to collapse around us. In such times, it can be crucial to have people around you who really care about you and who can help you with pushing through those difficult situations compared to a state where you are sitting alone in your flat and have to deal with all your problems on your own.
Therefore, also in this regard, shared living arrangements can make quite a lot of sense.
You will socialize in a natural manner
Another chance of shared living is that you will be able to socialize in a natural manner all day long. You don’t even have to go out to a bar or a club. You will have people around you all the time when you are at your shared house or your shared flat.
Thus, you will always have the chance to interact with other people and since humans are rather social creatures, this can help you to stay mentally stable and healthy in the long run.
Disadvantages of Having a Roommate
- You may not like your roommates
- Your roommates may be quite noisy
- Hygiene can be a problem
- Shared living can affect your sleep
- Problems if people in shared living arrangements are too different
- Hard to find shared living opportunities
- Shared living may lead you to hang out with the wrong people
- You have to make compromises
- You may feel like a mom or a dad who has to manage the whole household
- Legal issues related to flat sharing
- Shared living can be stressful
- Extensive discussions regarding who can use shared facilities
- Your housemates may not be trustworthy
- Confined housing space
- You will get annoyed sooner or later
- Overall level of freedom will be lower compared to living alone
- Privacy can be a problem
- Cleaning the shared living space can be disgusting
You may not like your roommates
Apart from the many important benefits of shared living, there are still some issues related to this concept. For instance, one problem with shared living is that you may simply not like your roommates.
People are different and if you don’t share some common core values, it will be quite difficult to live together in the long run and conflicts may occur sooner or later.
Therefore, if you decide for shared living, make sure that you carefully select your roommates in order to avoid any unpleasant consequences in this regard.
Your roommates may be quite noisy
Quite often, you will also have roommates who will be rather noisy and this can significantly lower your overall quality of life in the long run. Especially if you live in a shared house with many other people, chances are that there will be at least one person who thinks that he or she doesn’t have to care about noise at all.
This can be quite annoying, especially if you want to prepare for an exam and the noise level at your shared house will be quite high. In turn, you will not be able to focus properly and chances are that your exam results will be rather poor.
Hygiene can be a problem
Some of your roommates may also not care about hygiene too much. This could mean that they leave their hair in the shower or don’t clean other facilities in a proper manner. In turn, you may feel quite uncomfortable at home, especially if you are a person who really enjoys a clean and tidy home.
Hence, if you are a person who wants to have a quite high hygienic standard at home, shared living arrangements may not be for you.
Shared living can affect your sleep
Another disadvantage of shared living is that it can also negatively affect your quality of sleep. If your roommates are noisy in the middle of the night, chances are that you will wake up and may not be able to fall asleep again. In turn, you will have less energy during the day and your overall mood may also suffer quite a lot.
Sure, you can use earplugs or other things that might help you sleep better. However, you will likely still suffer from a certain negative effect on your sleep in shared housing arrangements.
Problems if people in shared living arrangements are too different
Especially if you have roommates who have completely different preferences and views on the world, chances are that living together with those roommates can be quite difficult. In fact, shared living can only work if there are certain commonalities between roommates. This doesn’t mean that everyone has the same attitude, it just means that people respect each other’s values and their ways of life.
However, if people are too different, they will often not respect each other due to religious or other aspects. In turn, chances for conflicts and tensions in those shared living arrangements increase quite a lot.
Hard to find shared living opportunities
Since shared living has become quite popular in many big cities all over the world, it is often quite hard to find shared flats or houses since the demand is often much higher than the supply. Consequently, even if you are fine with the disadvantages of shared living, you may still simply not find a shared flat or a shared house in your preferred area and may have to live alone instead.
Hence, if you urgently want to live in a shared flat, make sure that you apply for vacancies early in advance so that you have enough time to search and to find a suitable shared living arrangement.
Shared living may lead you to hang out with the wrong people
Many studies have shown that the people with whom you hang out with have a huge influence on your behavior. This also implies that if you hang out with the wrong sort of people, chances are that you will adopt many negative characteristics over time.
It is therefore crucial that you pick your roommates wisely so that you will not hang out with the wrong people and don’t adapt unhelpful character traits from them.
You have to make compromises
Shared living arrangements also imply that you will have to make many compromises. In fact, you will have to respect the preferences of your roommates and have to make sure that your behavior is in line with the rules of the respective shared living arrangement.
In turn, this also implies that you will not always be free to do what you want to do, which can significantly lower your overall quality of life.
You may feel like a mom or a dad who has to manage the whole household
Especially if you are much older than your roommates, chances are that you will feel like the new mom or the new dad for your roommates since you will always have to manage and lead your roommates. When problems occur, you will often be the one who has to fix those issues.
Hence, if you don’t want to take care of the problems of your roommates, shared living may not be the way to go, especially if your roommates are still quite young and don’t know how to stand on their own feet yet.
Legal issues related to flat sharing
Another downside of shared living is that there are also some legal rules and regulations related to it. Quite often, one of the roommates will have to sign a contract in which he or she declares that he or she will be responsible for paying the rent and taking care of the flat.
If you are the person who signs this contract, you may also be potentially liable for the damage other roommates may do to the flat and therefore, this can lead to serious negative financial outcomes for you in the long run if you are not careful what you are signing.
Shared living can be stressful
In general, shared living can also be much more stressful compared to a state where you live on your own. This is due to the fact that your roommates will often have different plans than you and you will have to compromise quite a lot.
Moreover, you will also have to help your roommates from time to time, which can be rather stressful, especially in times where you have enough going on in your own life and don’t have too much time to solve the problems of others.
Extensive discussions regarding who can use shared facilities
Especially in the morning, there may also be serious discussions regarding who can use the bathroom at what time. In fact, there will be an ongoing discussion regarding who can claim the shared facilities at what time of the day.
Therefore, if you want to avoid all those discussions, living on your own may be much better for you compared to living with roommates.
Your housemates may not be trustworthy
In some cases, your roommates may also not be trustworthy at all. In fact, there had even been cases where housemates have stolen things from each other. Therefore, if you decide to go for a shared living arrangement, make sure that you vet your potential roommates quite carefully in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the long run.
Confined housing space
If you live in a shared flat, you will also not have too much space for your own. In fact, your room may be rather small and you have to get used to this, especially if you have grown up in a big house with a big garden where you had plenty of space. Consequently, if you are a person who needs an extensive private space, shared living arrangements may also not be for you.
You will get annoyed sooner or later
Even if you share similar values and interests with your roommates, time will come when you will really get annoyed in shared flats. Sooner or later, people are fed up with each other and especially if you live in a rather limited space, chances for conflicts with your roommates increase significantly.
Overall level of freedom will be lower compared to living alone
In general, if you decide for a shared living arrangement, your overall level of freedom will be much lower compared to a state where you live on your own. This is due to the fact that you will always respect the wishes and preferences of your roommates instead of just doing what you want to do.
In turn, you may feel quite confined in your freedom and if you are a freedom-loving person, chances are that shared living is just not for you.
Privacy can be a problem
Privacy is another issue when it comes to shared living arrangements. Especially in case you are in a relationship, you will not have the level of intimacy in shared living compared to a state where you live alone or together with your partner.
In the long run, this can lead to a point where you break up with each other since without intimacy, relationships cannot work out too well.
Cleaning the shared living space can be disgusting
Especially if your roommates are rather messy and don’t care about hygiene too much, chances are that cleaning the flat will be quite disgusting. In fact, from time to time, you will also have to clean the toilet and other shared facilities and you will not happy about it at all if your roommates don’t care about a certain level of hygiene.
Top 10 Shared Living Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Shared Living Pros||Shared Living Cons|
|Shared living can help you socialize||Shared living can be annoying|
|Shared living can be cheaper||Shared living can be stressful|
|Can help you to find new friends||Roommates can be quite noisy|
|Your roommates can support you||You may not be able to focus on studying|
|You can learn from your roommates||You have to make many compromises|
|Shared living can make you mature||You will only have confined space|
|You can save money on utility costs||Lack of privacy in shared flats|
|You can throw parties in your shared home||Shared living can lead to conflicts|
|Your roommates can become your family||Will not work out if people are too different|
|You can help each other||People will move out sooner or later|
Shared Living vs. Living Alone – Which One Is Better?
As we have seen before, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of shared living arrangements. In the end, you should evaluate all the pros and cons of flat sharing carefully in order to determine whether this is the way to go for you or if you rather want to live alone instead.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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