House Sharing A Tenants Guide

House Sharing is becoming more popular across all demographics of the UK population, from fresh graduates who have just planted their foot on the first rung of the career ladder, under 35’s who are being forced to house share due to changes to housing benefits or more mature members of society who are no longer able to afford to live on their own.  Demand for house sharing is only going to increase as our islands population continues to grow and place an extra strain on our limited housing stock.

House Sharing main benefits are it is a great way to meet people if you are new to an area. House sharing offers a social life as well as place to live (we recommend multi let properties with a communal area) and financially it makes sense as bills are either included in the monthly rent (easier to budget each month) or split between all tenants.

Where to find a House Share

There a huge number of online mediums to find a house to share, sites include:

www.spareroom.co.uk

www.uk.easyroommate.com

www.gumtree.com

www.housepals.co.uk

www.roombuddies.com

www.kangaroom.co.uk

There are also sites geared toward specific geographic locations in the UK, such as:

www.intolondon.com

www.housesharewales.co.uk

As well as sites offering specific ethnic, gender and other preferences:

www.indianroommates.in

www.gayflatshare.net

So whatever you’re chosen location there will be a site and house share to suit your specific needs.

House Sharing: Arranging a Viewing

It is very important to view the property before committing to enter into a house sharing agreement.  When viewing a property it is now law that you are shown a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use and energy costs and provides recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.  An EPC provides an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

Even if bills are included in the monthly rent and EPC will provide a snap shot at the overall condition of the property as often a more energy efficient house will have a modern boiler and double glazed windows which will be of benefit in the winter.

Other certificates to look out for are a Gas Safety certificate (renewed annually) and Electric Certificate (Valid for 10 years) and HMO License (mandatory if the property is 3 or more storey and houses 5 or more people) any House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) you visit should have a notice board containing the landlords contact details, house rules and certificates on display.  This is a good indication the Landlord understands and takes their responsibility to tenants seriously.

 What is the ideal number of Housemate

When embarking on your house sharing journey it is important to meet your potential housemate and decide upon which house share best suits your needs. Although there is no absolute “best” number of housemate when house sharing it is good to avoid two or three together as two housemates can create an intensely inwardly-focused and dependent situation, and falling out or pairing off in other relationships often happens.

Three same sex housemates can lead to accusations of favouritism or ‘ganging up’ against one housemate.  House sharing with four, five and even six mixed-sex housemates often promotes an environment that is high on flexibility and offers non-intense rapport that helps avoid dangerous arguments and fallings-out.

Obviously when house sharing with five or six housemates amenities need to be taken into account and I would recommend looking for a house share with more than one shower room and a separate WC or a house share that offers ensuite facilities.

Questions to ask potential housemates

What time do you get up in the morning?

What time do you go to bed?

Do you smoke?

How often and how would you clean a toilet?

What is the price of a large sliced loaf/jar of coffee?

What experience have you had of working in a team?

 House Sharing Legals

You’ve found the perfect house share; you spoken with the landlord and housemates, now the fun begins.  As previously mentioned you should have already seen a copy of the EPC during your viewing as well as the Gas safety Certificate.  Other factors to consider are a bond.  If the landlord or agent offers an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and requires a bond legally they are required to protect your bond within one of the following tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes:

Your bond must be protected in one of the above within 30 days of receiving the bond payment and  the landlord or agent must provide you with a Prescribed Information Certificate containing the Terms and Conditions of the chosen TDP scheme.

More information about TDP Scheme can be found on the Government Gov.uk site:

https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview

AST or License

If you are house sharing with a live in landlord chances are you will be provided in a License rather than an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) as a form of housing contract.  Please be aware a housing license offers less protection from eviction than an AST.

If your chosen house share doesn’t have a live in landlord and you do not have a main UK residence other than your new house share the landlord or agent has no option other than provide you with an AST whether it be a written or verbal contract.

The charity shelter provides a wealth of information relating to AST and Licenses her:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/renting_and_leasehold/renting_agreements

Rooms in Cardiff in a specialist provider of HMO and multi let services to landlords and property investors in Cardiff and throughout South Wales.

We are also a source of information for those interested in house sharing and a great place to come if you are looking for a housemate or Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  and across South Wales.

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