Flatting nightmares and what to do about it

A flatmate from hell can be a nightmare, especially when they think everything that's yours is theirs.
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A flatmate from hell can be a nightmare, especially when they think everything that's yours is theirs.

Ever had a week's worth of unwashed dishes, dirty bathrooms and clothing that mysteriously "disappears" out of your closet?

It seems to be a rite of passage that everyone must experience at least one bad flatmate in his or her lifetime.  

From inconvenient pranks, to borrowing your personal belongings, here are a few stories about flatmates from hell.

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THE PRANKSTER

Flatmates that create weird rules, or spend hours playing pranks (see what the red cups spell) can be tiresome.
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Flatmates that create weird rules, or spend hours playing pranks (see what the red cups spell) can be tiresome.

After coming home from a holiday, Holly Anderson discovered her prank loving flatmates had filled her room with 540 cups of water, all neatly arranged to completely cover up the floor.

"Coming home to 540 cups of water in my room, when I had a lecture half an hour later, wasn't exactly ideal. I guess they all had a lot of time on their hands!"

THE BORROWER

Flatting with other people often results in a lot of sharing. However, Amy O'Leary says one of her flatmates took "sharing" to a whole new level - her flatmate would constantly use her towels, shampoo and even her toothbrush.

THE ENERGY CONSERVER

It's important to keep an eye on your energy usage, but Larissa Anne's flatmate took extreme measures to make sure their power bill remained low.

"I lived with a girl who said that our power bill was too high, even though it was no higher than normal, so she insisted that we could only have one light on in the house at all times," she says.

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THE ONE-NIGHT-STAND SCAMMER

When news.com.au asked Australians to share their most outrageous flatmate stories, their Facebook was flooded with replies. They included countless shudder-inducing tales, such as this one about a flatmate who wasn't the best at choosing his "lady of the night".

"An old flatmate of mine invited a 'lady of the night' back to our house over Christmas. Aand after he passes out in a beer coma, she robs the house, including $500 worth of my clothes. Flatmate of the year slept through the whole thing and couldn't give the police a name or any details. Safe to say I moved out within the week."

THE MEAT PIE FANATIC

We can all appreciate the joys of eating a hot mince pie. However, one reader told news.com.au that their flatmate ate them a little more often than most people would.

"I had a female flatmate; she didn't work and she would sit in her room all day long and eat no-frills home-brand meat pies! Six a day all cooked in the microwave. I'd offer to cook her a meal and try to help her but nothing I could do would help this poor girl."

THE OVERLY POLITE BATHROOM USER

"This lady didn't like to knock on the toilet door because she considered it rude. Our toilet door had a habit of closing by itself because of the wind from the window," an anonymous commenter wrote in.

"So one day, busting, she doesn't knock, nor does she use the other loo that was in someone's open ensuite. Instead, she pooed her pants, and then had the nerve to get angry at ME because she thought I was in the toilet that whole time."

HOW TO HANDLE BAD FLATMATES

Sara Chatwin, a life performance specialist from MindWorks, says it's inevitable for people who live together to have occasional disagreements because we all experience situations differently.

However, she says there are a number of steps that flatmates can follow in order to minimise conflict situations.  

1. Make a decision to keep communication pathways open.

"You should always allow people to feel like they can ask questions and are comfortable communicating any issues they have."

2. Plan to have discussions.

"It's important to set aside the time every few months so that everyone can communicate and get things off their chest."

Chatwin recommends that flatmates plan their meetings at times when people won't be stressed, such as Sunday afternoon, so everyone has had time to unwind after the working week and can approach the discussion with an open mind.

3.  Nip things in the bud early.

"This is important because bad feelings and resentment can escalate over time and lead to an explosion if left unchecked. Have courage to be open with your flatmates and don't be afraid to air your concerns, but remember to always be mindful of the other person's feelings."

However, Chatwin also recognises some flatmate disagreements cannot be helped. "If you pass the point where an agreement can't be reached with a particular flatmate, it may be that the culture of the flat isn't for them."

 - Stuff

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