What's a word to refer to unrelated people living in the same house? By this, I mean that they are not spouses or blood-related.

Basically what's the "house" version of "room-mates"?

I've thought of "cohabitant", "coresident", or even "housemate" but these words give the connotation that the persons involved are related.

  • 4
    Housemates are quite common around here. I don't infer any particular relationship from that, beyond living together. Why do you think it has that connotation? Oct 31, 2013 at 4:13
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    Yes, housemate is the term you want.
    – Jim
    Oct 31, 2013 at 4:20
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    Housemate certainly does not connote relationship. In the US, roommate and housemate are increasingly used interchangeably. If you want a more formal term, cotenant fits the bill if the person shares lessee responsibilities.
    – Jimi Oke
    Oct 31, 2013 at 5:06
  • @BraddSzonye, (2) of dictionary.reference.com/browse/housemate
    – Pacerier
    Oct 31, 2013 at 7:26
  • Strange, I've never heard it used that way, and clearly neither have the other folks commenting. Didn't see anything in the other dictionaries I checked either. Dictionary.com might be in error here. Oct 31, 2013 at 8:51

2 Answers 2


You can use roommate, housemate, flatmate and similar terms to indicate that two unrelated people live together. None of these words imply any particular relationship (unlike cohabitation, which suggests that they have a sexual relationship or partnership).

Wikipedia notes a usage difference between American and UK English:

In the UK, the term “roommate” means a person living in the same bedroom, whereas in the United States and Canada, “roommate” and “housemate” are used interchangeably regardless whether a bedroom is shared. This article uses the term “roommate” in the US sense of a person one shares a residence with who is not a relative or significant other.

Thus, you can use housemate anywhere to indicate that two people simply live in the same house. In American English, you can also call them roommates.

  • What about "cotenant"?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 31, 2013 at 7:25
  • I've never heard cotenant used in conversation. It might be OK for formal writing but otherwise it would sound stilted to me. Roommate or housemate is far more common, probably even in formal writing. Oct 31, 2013 at 8:54

Room renters or bedroom renters is the best term I can think of that describes the individuals who respond to “roommate wanted” ads advertising a bedroom available in an apt occupied by other unconnected individuals who have also moved into the other bedrooms as strangers to each other.

This has become a common practice in the larger cities. If I had to guess I would say NYC was the first place that I knew of that normalized this practice. My daughter lived in a one bedroom apt in NYC with her college sweetheart once graduated from college. When they broke up both of them rented bedrooms within apts with other bedroom renters all unknown to each other. “Bedroom renters”. BTW the landlord usually rents the apt as an apt and not by the bedroom. It’s the occupants that rent out bedrooms to cover the fixed monthly rent.

  • Welcome! It looks like the OP is asking for one word for this. I hope you stick around to take the site tour and familiarize yourself with the help center.
    – livresque
    Feb 3, 2022 at 23:52

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