Problems with housemates

Problems with housemates can be hard to resolve. What you can do usually depends on what the problem is and whose name the agreement is in.


If you are living in shared accommodation you must tell those you live with if you:

  • feel unwell and think you may have coronavirus
  • have been advised to self-isolate.

You must minimise visiting shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas as much as possible.

If possible, find suitable alternative self-contained space until you are fully recovered. This could be in the same building.

If there is no separate area, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of infecting others:

  • keep shared spaces well ventilated if possible
  • stay 2 metres from other people and not do not share a bed with another person
  • if the toilet or bathroom facilities are shared, you should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using regular cleaning products before being used by anyone else
  • if a separate bathroom is not available, consider drawing up a rota for washing or bathing, with the person who is unwell using the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bathroom themselves (if they are able or it is appropriate)
  • use separate body and hand towels from other people
  • avoid using shared kitchens whilst others are present
  • do not share crockery and cutlery
  • take your meals back to your room to eat and use a dishwasher (if available) to clean and dry crockery and cutlery.

For up to date Welsh Government guidance on self-isolating in shared accommodation, click here.

What is the problem?

Are they not paying their share of the rent? Are they noisy? Are they not doing their share of the household tasks? Or are you simply not getting on? The type of problem that you have influences what you can do about it.

For instance, if it’s a personality clash, discussing things may help. If talking doesn’t help there may be little you can do to change the situation.

However, if your housemates are making excessive noise or not paying their share of the rent, it may be possible for the landlord or the council to take action. But if you have a joint tenancy, or the tenancy is in the other person’s name, bear in mind that the landlord may decide to end the tenancy for everyone – not just the person causing problems.

Can you agree a solution?

The first step towards solving any problem with your housemates is to discuss the situation. Ensure each person makes it clear what s/he wants – you may be able to reach a satisfactory compromise before the problem gets too serious. Think about inviting an impartial person from outside your household to help negotiate.

Many problems in shared accommodation are to do with mundane things such as the washing-up, the volume of music or smoking in shared space. In these situations, if talking doesn’t help, the only options may be to put up with the situation or move out.

Can you ask the landlord for help?

If talking doesn’t sort the problem out it may be worth asking your landlord for help. In some cases s/he may be able to take action against the people responsible, although you can’t force them to do this. What your landlord can do depends on the type of tenancy you have and the particular problem in your household.

What about extreme cases?

In very extreme cases you may be able to get help from the council or the police. This is only likely to be possible in situations where:

  • another tenant has threatened you with violence
  • the noise or damage caused is so severe that it has become a serious nuisance
  • there is racial or sexual harassment.

If you are in any of these situations, get advice immediately.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: Rhagfyr 3, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.