House share options for mature adults

So the benefits of sharing, or what is known as co-living these days, should now be clear to you. If not look at this related story about the broader benefits of house sharing and co-living and this article about what you can save by house sharing.

But what type of co-living is right for you? Everyone is different and each type of co-living environment has certain characteristics to consider. This article is designed to give you an over view and then you can look in more depth at other articles as well as hear from those who have experience of each type of shared living.

Alternatives vary generally by time taken to organise and amount of commitment as follows:

Renting a room – Easily organised by finding a room in a house where there are already people living and where they are looking for a new housemate. You can choose the districts in which you look and what standard of accommodation you are after but they will have their way of doing things established and are looking for someone to fit in. Depending on the size of the house you are renting you can expect to use some of the communal areas including kitchen and lounge. You can choose to share with one or more people with larger groups being more sociable and varied. Room rents usually include all utilities and broadband costs and if you’re lucky pay TV. Use our 'Find people' matching engine and use the ‘Advanced option’ to find those who have a room to rent.

Renting a flat yourself and inviting one or more people to join you – this is the reverse of the situation above. You are the one taking the risk of either buying or renting a property long term and then inviting people to share your place. It can work very well but you’ll determine the sharing rules and what you’ll include in the rent as well as what notice period to offer. You’ll need to take a deposit and make sure your new house mate(s) pay their rent on time. Best to get to know them first of course. Use our Find people option to find suitable candidates and then you can contact them via IM (Instant message) to chat before deciding whether or not meet up at one of our events or a meet-up you organise yourself.

Renting or buying a flat jointly with others (up to 4) – you may decide that you want to live in a bigger group. Having a bigger group really makes the financial savings even more attractive and allows you to find very good quality properties and to share things you couldn’t otherwise afford like gardens, additional living rooms and even swimming pools associated with the property. You might even arrange to have a cleaner or handyman come in each week.

Renting a larger house or flat (with 5 or more people) – this option is the same as above but can take longer to organise and may require more commitment over a longer period to make it worthwhile. This is because of the complexities of the legal and financial side of things, especially when buying. Building society mortgages are not designed to be shared by more than 4 people for example and finding more people able and willing to make the same financial commitment can take time. Check out our article about the financial aspects of sharing larger properties.

Join a co-housing scheme or community – in your part of the world you might be lucky enough to have one or more existing co-housing schemes. These could be in the form of an Almshouse run by the local council or a privately established development like the development in Barnet. They can also be multi-generational which is more typical, but there are ones for older residents only. Often these are well-known locally but hard to get into unless you have lived in the area for a while. Private co-housing schemes typically have waiting lists and normally applicants would already be quite well known to some of the existing residents before being invited to join. Offering individual living units, they feature communal living areas, laundry, and gardens, plus of course like-minded cohabitors. We have a list of co-housing projects on the site and are adding new listings daily but you should check yourself locally.

Create a new co-housing group or community – if as is more likely you cannot find a suitable co-housing project or there is not availability for new residents within the scheme, then you can consider forming a group of your own in your local area. This may seem daunting but it is surprising what a group of people can achieve when they get together! The benefit of course is that you can decide what type of group to establish (women only, vegetarian, eco-friendly, horse racing fans), where to focus and what sort of finance you want to invest. Plus you can get help from Cohabitas to form a group and from organisations like the Cohousing Network to offer advice if you’re stuck for ideas or advice. Use our ‘Find people’ Advanced option to find people interested in co-housing and then set up a group using our Groups function to organise your first meetings.

Hope this has given you some ideas!

Can co-living solve the Housing Crisis? This Wired magazine article is a really good read.


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