How to Solve Disputes

Home sharing is a business relationship with an unusually strong emotional component. To get along with your new partner, you’ll have to learn how to share your disagreements agreeably. For example, when reacting to a stack full of dirty dishes that your housemate “forgot” to clean and put away, try to remain calm and diplomatic.

Most shared housing experts believe housemates should have a monthly “family meeting” to discuss their current living situation and update their agreement. When conflicts or disagreements arise, the National Shared Housing Resource Center suggests the following “Ten Commandments” for solving disputes:

1--Clearly state the problem as you see it, how you feel and what you’d like to have done to change the situation.

2--Discuss one issue at a time without being defensive.


3--Make sure you agree on what the problem is.

4--Listen carefully to what the other person is saying, thinking and feeling about the problem.

5--List different solutions and steps for resolving the problem. Don’t disregard or reject any ideas.

6--Discuss possible solutions, listing the good points about each and the drawbacks.

7--Choose a plan you are both comfortable with.

8--Decide how you will implement the plan. What are the steps? Who will do what, and when?

9--Decide on a time to discuss progress or other problems.

10--Take pride in working out the problem.