Privately rented households in England fell in 2020 by 0.6 percent compared to 2019. 18.7 percent of households were occupied by private tenants, according to a survey by Statista, and around 4.44 million households were privately rented in England in 2020.
A portion of these properties is house shares. While many younger people choose to share a house or a flat with others to save on rent, the coronavirus made this difficult. In a flat that is shared by many people, maintaining social distancing and safety measures can be nearly impossible.
However, now that lockdown restrictions are coming to an end and many people are vaccinated, shared accommodation may become popular again.
Some things to consider when renting a room in a shared house or flat
Tenancy agreements are not the same for all properties, but there are some common ways in which shared accommodation is usually organized.
Instead of one person signing the tenancy agreement and renting out rooms to others, each person may sign individually and pay the rent directly to the landlord. In many cases, this is the better solution, since you will have the same rights as the other tenants and are protected by the law. In general, it is always a good idea to sign a contract to make it easier to settle any disputes, if necessary.
In case of a joint tenancy, you will rent the flat or house as a group and don’t have the right to a certain room or space. Some landlords offer sole tenancy of a room and include shared rooms such as the kitchen or a living room.
What is your induvial responsibility and collective responsibility when you share a house?
Sharing a property comes with some responsibilities. Any upgrades or changes made to the accommodation usually need to be discussed with others in a joint tenancy. Some repairs may need to be carried out by tenants, others, such as work on the exterior walls of a house, may be covered by the housing association/the landlord.
It’s important to keep the property in good condition in order to avoid costs on repairs and tenants contents incorporating liability insurance can protect in case of accidental damages. Depending on the agreement, you may need to contribute to certain repairs if you are renting a property together with a group of people. If damages to a rented home or personal belongings within that home occur, you may be individually or collectively responsible, depending on the terms that you agreed to.
This is the reason why it is so important to sign an agreement before moving in. You may get along very well with your flatmates in the beginning and expect things to go smoothly, but problems can always come up and a contract will protect you from having to pay large sums of money for something you may not even be responsible for later on. It also helps to not have to argue about who is responsible for certain costs or damages and makes living together more enjoyable. After all, living in shared accommodation can be a lot of fun.
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