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Finding a flat share when you’re autistic

Finding a somewhere to live can be difficult because there are so many things to think about:

  • Where am I going to live?
  • Do I want to live in a house, a flat, by myself, with people I do know or with strangers?
  • How do I find somewhere to live?
  • How do I know the people I might be living with are the right people for me to live with?

It can be more difficult when you’re autistic or are moving in with someone who is autistic as they may have additional needs or concerns. Having these additional needs or concerns isn’t something negative, it just means you have some extra things to consider that have as much right to be thought of as who gets the biggest room or the shower rota before work.

The Youth Patrons and Sarah and Sarah talk about thinking about where to live and who with. Ideal Flatmate has some really useful quizzes to find out what your compatibility is with potential roommates and matches that with rooms available, amenities and location.

It’s really important to think about who you are going to live with- hopefully before you live with them, some people move in as an established group, some may form a group from various social circles and some might be fillers for lease dropouts or movers.

Jack (@MrJW18) thinks that autistic people do have the opportunity to live with others and with a fair amount of independence, they just need the opportunity and the trust that they can do so. Jack enjoyed filming the videos for Ideal Flatmate, for autistic young adults this was a chance to smash some stereotypes:

“Many of us will carry the impression autistic people cannot live independently or will require some form of support in order to make this option as a reality.”

Autistic people aren’t that different from their non-autistic peers and often just need a bit more thought or a bit longer to think about a situation which is really important in flat hunting.

The Youth Patrons have some top tips for flat and flatmate hunting:

  1. It’s okay to be friends with someone but not want to live with them because you’re complete opposites. Tidy people living with messy people or those who love to go out late with those who get to bed early can be the cause for arguments. Save your friendship by keeping their habits that annoy you somewhere that isn’t your home.
  2. Think about the practical aspects. Supermarkets, transport, bills, green spaces, busy roads, how long your commute will be and connection to things you actually want to do is as important as the space you live in.
  3. Check out the flat if you can, even though properties go quickly you never know if that weird angled picture was hiding mould, a lack of heating, dodgy floorboards, a broken kitchen or a giant flood in the bathroom. Some people think one picture is enough but realistically you’re giving up a huge portion of your salary to live somewhere so it’s better if you like it.
  4. Be reasonable about what you can afford. There is no point spending all your money on a nice room but you then can’t afford to enjoy yourself or pay your bills, there is also no point living far away from everything you need to get to just because it is cheaper either.

If you are an autistic person or are moving in with an autistic person thongs to take into account are the general worries that many people have about value for money and the state of where you’re moving into. The main extras to think about are the sensory environment in and around where you want to live, who you are going to live with and structure supports you may want in the place you live (cleaning rotas can save many arguments).