This article is brought to you by RAC Renters Insurance. In this piece, we look inside some Perth sharehouses.
Perth is Australia’s sharehouse capital. Why don’t people talk about this more? The rent is cheap, which means you can live in a huge place close to the beach and the train, even though you just work part time in a cafe while playing in three different bands. The weather is perfect for backyard shows and impromptu gatherings on the porch, and landlords are largely chill with dogs. Everyone knows everyone, so rooms never go unfilled, and groups of friends swap in and out of the same crumbling red brick bungalows for decades on end.
From Fremantle to Leederville to Maylands, Perth is a sprawling paradise of weirdly opulent suburban '80s sharehouses built in better economic times. We asked local photographer George Foster to interview some fellow West Coast twenty somethings who are co-living the dream.
Broderick (26), Jack (25) and Sam (26), Fremantle
VICE: What are the upsides and downsides to sharehouse living?
Jack: Upside? My parents don’t live there. Downside? It costs money.
Broderick: Living with your friends is amazing, especially if you’re all involved in the same things. But sometimes if you know each other too well then you know what you can get away with in terms of housekeeping.
Describe your sharehouse dynamic.
Jack: I live with some of my closest friends, and I play in a band with two of them. It’s quite relaxed, sometimes messy and sometimes clean, sometimes silent, and sometimes someone bashing the drums. Lots of space. It’s really cheap and never lonely.
Sam: It's very mellow, lots of coffee-drinking and constant music. Living with my pals is good, working on projects together. Jordan has a great spice rack and Jack is very nice to look at.
Selina (20) and Stella (26), Fremantle
What’s your sharehouse situation?
I live with my partner George, his beautiful pupper Misha, and a friend. It does sort of have a holiday house vibe. It’s like a secluded haven, sometimes I have to force myself to leave the house to do things because it’s so great––a super supportive and caring safe space.
So no downsides to sharehouse life?
The worst thing about it is having to take responsibility for your own mess. Can’t really ignore the reality you’re an adult when you live in a sharehouse. Not for long, at least.
What’s good about living in a sharehouse?
Board game nights and family dinners.
What’s bad about it?
Skid marks. Not always my own.
Verity (21), West Perth
Where do you live?
Verity: West Perth, but it’s on the border of North Perth, so we call our sharehouse North West. It’s a rundown place that’s destined to be knocked over to build some flashy apartments but the rooms are big and the rent is cheap so I can’t complain.
Do you hang out with your housemates?
Yeah, we have a big backyard so it’s good for parties and we have a soccer field behind us so we’ll watch the games through the fence on Sunday mornings. Everyone is still quite fresh out of their parents’ homes so we are relatively chill and tidy, no-one has left passive aggressive notes in the kitchen yet.
Alice (19), Mount Lawley
What’s the secret to being the perfect housemate, Alice?
The one golden rule if you live anywhere with anyone and use anything within the realms of kitchen appliances, spoons, cups, knives, plates, zoodle graters, or burnt pans: WASH THEM!
Jasmin (23) and Nic (26), Fremantle
What do you like about your sharehouse?
Jasmine: The best part is your housemates can become a family. Flatting with your friends is a lot of fun––call your neighbours over, have a little gathering. You get to meet new people and it’s quite amazing how close you can become with someone when you look back after six months. All because they answered an ad!
Nic: Sharehouse living requires you to take a bit more responsibility in your life. You generally end up meeting new people and getting in situations you normally wouldn’t.
Jasmine: You learn how to pay bills––bonus points for paying on time. You learn how to be more domestic, and learn how to pick your fights. Is it really worth bringing up the piles of half-eaten food lying around the house?
This article is brought to you by RAC Renters Insurance. You can find out more here.