You know that it’s important to check references before asking a new flatmate to move in, but are you confused where to start? Checking the references of your chosen flatmate is similar to checking references when a person is hired for a job. It lets you confirm that you have chosen the perfect flatmate for you or alternatively, lets you find any hidden surprises before it’s too late.
The process of checking references starts as soon as you ask for references from potential flatmates. Ideally, you should ask for 1–2 references during the flatmate interview and ask to speak to former flatmates. Previous flatmates can give you the best idea how it would be like to live with your chosen flatmate. If they are unable to give you references from previous flatmates, you may wish to ask why they are no longer in touch with them.
If you’re unable to speak to any former flatmates, ask for references from friends and family. They can often given you a good insight into your selected flatmate’s personality and living habits. For example, your chosen flatmate’s brother or sister may tell you that they always have an untidy bedroom. You can compare this answer to your selected flatmate’s answer and decide if they are still the flatmate for you.
When you talk to the referees given to you by your chosen flatmate, you should start by verifying basic important information. This means you need to confirm the:
- referee has been a flatmate of your chosen flatmate
- number of flatmates living in the share house
- dates the flatmate lived at the address
- reason your selected flatmate no longer lives in the household
Once you have verified these basic facts, your next step is to find out about the referee’s experience of living with your chosen flatmate by asking relevant questions. It’s important to be aware that the referee may give you biased information but by asking the right questions you should be able to sort out fact from fiction.
The key is to ask questions that let you find out factual and objective information about how it would be like to live with your chosen flatmate. It’s a good idea to decide which questions you would like to ask before you speak to each referee. Here are some sample questions.
- How long did you live with this flatmate?
- Why do you no longer live with this flatmate?
- What are the 3 worst habits of this flatmate?
- What did you enjoy about living with this flatmate?
- Did the flatmate pay the agreed rent and expenses on time?
- Did this flatmate cause any problems while living with you or other flatmates?
You may need to ask some tough questions because after all, you’ll be the one that will be living with your chosen flatmate. Just remember, checking references is an important part of finding your perfect flatmate. By checking flatmate references through asking a few simple questions, you’ll soon be on your way to choosing the right flatmate for you.