Chances are student homes and shared houses will be your first taste of freedom. The first place you can call your own, where you can do your own thing away from the watchful eye of your parents or the university authorities policing the university accommodation. But that doesn’t mean you can go crazy. In many ways it can mean the opposite, bringing a new level of responsibility as you work to get on with your new neighbours and become part of your local community.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun; it’s all about balancing your lifestyle with those around you so you can all enjoy living in Lancaster, whether you are students, young families or older people. It’s all about being a good neighbour, and that’s really easy to do if you start off on the right foot.

Say Hello

Introducing yourself to your neighbours is the most important thing you can do when you move in to student homes. It gets everything off on the right foot and helps you make a good first impression. You don’t want your first meeting to be when they come around to complain about the noise. Say hello, introduce yourself and your housemates and give them your phone number so they can get in touch directly if they have any problems.

The more you know about your neighbours, the more you will be able to act considerately. For example, if they have young children or an early start for work, you’ll know when to turn the TV or the music down a bit. Even if you live in a street that is just student homes and shared houses in Lancaster, it’s worth getting to know your neighbours because they may not be the same party animals you are, or they may not appreciate how much you need to concentrate on your course.

Party Time

Being a considerate neighbour doesn’t mean you can never have a party. It’s all about how you manage it. If you let your neighbours know in advance, and perhaps even agree with some rules such as what time the music is turned down, then there is much less chance you’ll annoy the neighbours and get complaints.

Keep the doors and windows closed and avoid loud music in the garden in the summertime. Remember that everyone will have their windows open for the heat so any noise nuisance will feel that much worse. Make sure that your guests leave quietly and use taxi apps so their ride home doesn’t honk their horn when they arrive in the small hours.

Keep In Touch

Being a good neighbour in shared houses and student homes takes more than just your initial effort. You need to touch base with your neighbours regularly to maintain the relationship. This will help you gauge their mood and see how you are doing.

A regular chat is much better than a slowly festering grievance that eventually boils over into a full-blown row. Once your landlord, or even the university, are involved, it can be hard to scale things back and repair the relationship, but you’ll still have to live there for the rest of the year.

Try To Fit In

Fitting in doesn’t mean blending blandly into the background. You can still make your mark and have a positive effect on your neighbourhood. Fitting in means following the rules on things like parking and bins – the every-day workings of your street.

If you do have a car, find out where you can park and stick to it. Blocking driveways or parking in other people’s spaces (even if they aren’t officially theirs), will just cause unnecessary friction. Forgetting bin day means that when you put the bin out next time it will be overflowing all over the place and make the place a mess. And don’t forget to bring your bin back in so it’s not the only one left in the street.

At the end of the day, a good way to think of your own behaviour is to think about the kind of neighbours you’d like to have, and to try to be like that. If late night rock and screaming laughter would wind you up, then chances are it will wind up your neighbours too. We all want a peaceful life, and with a bit of consideration, we can all have one.