Following the feature in last week’s Property section on the length of time before tenants can afford to buy their own place, here’s a list of tips from a top letting agent about how to survive sharing a house when your student days are behind you and you don’t want to live in a dive.

Sally Lawson, president of the Association of Residential Letting Agents says a large proportion of tenants co-exist in shared accommodation for longer than they would have done 15 years ago.

She said: “Whether you are living with best friends or complete strangers, there are plenty of hurdles to face in a house share.”

These are her ground rules to avoid clashes:

Keep it tidy
Ideally share with people who have similar standards as yours. We all have different ideas about what ‘clean’ means. From the start of the tenancy everyone should agree to clear up after themselves particularly in the kitchen.

If necessary draw up a cleaning rota to ensure everyone does their fair share. Otherwise agree to split the cost of a cleaner.

Keep on top of bills – common cause of arguments
When you move in, agree how bills will be paid and split between everyone in the house.

Keep a record of what’s agreed. Set up bank transfers to cover monthly outgoings which are your responsibility. Download an app that allows you all to access and track expenses by logging in from your phone.

Staying secure
Have somewhere in your own room to lock away items you value so they don’t spill into communal areas. Security can be an issue when people you don’t know come in and out of the house.

Consider sharing essentials
It’s a good idea to band together with housemates to pool the cost of food essentials to save you all over-buying. Each month you can agree what needs to be replaced.

Respect others
Respect your housemates’ privacy. Don’t go into their rooms when they’re not there and always knock first. Keep the noise down if you are inviting friends back or coming in late.

Communication is key
Have an established method of discussing specific house matters, for example a Facebook or WhatsApp group. Communicate face-to-face if an issue needs to be resolved quickly.

Choose your housemates carefully
Be honest about your lifestyle – look for housemates with a similar attitude to smoking, tidiness, general values. Conflicting work schedules can grate.

The Bucks Free Press talked to a 24 year old law graduate who shares a houses with four others in Bermondsey.

He said: “I’ve been on both sides of the fence. When I first moved to London two and a half years ago I was looking for a spare room in a house share and last year I was looking to sublet a spare room for six months.

“On each occasion I posted an advert on explaining what I was looking for/subletting and saying a bit about myself.

“That led to a few viewings, however I think you need to spend time with someone in a social setting before deciding if you want to live with them.

“The personality of your housemates can have a huge impact on whether or not you enjoy your tenancy.

“I went for a drink with prospective housemates on a few occasions and I could always tell after half an hour whether I could live with them.

“People are much more open in a social environment. I’ve never been able to get a good read of someone’s personality during a viewing.”

*The pictured four-bedroom three-bathroom (two en suite) townhouse with good sized lounge, impressive kitchen/dining room, garage, off-road parking and south facing garden is the style of property which appeals to house sharers who are well established on their career path but can’t yet afford or don’t wish to be saddled with a mortgage, say the agents.

The house is close to Wycombe town centre and for sale at the Crendon Street office of Wye Residential for £400,000.