Rent a whole house or flat to share

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One alternative to renting a room in someone else’s home is to rent (or buy) a flat or house yourself and then invite one or more people to join you as tenants in common, or as lodgers in your rented property where you become a landlord.

Buying or renting a property and taking in lodgers

In this case you are the one taking the risk of renting or buying a property longer-term and will be responsible for paying the bills, insuring and looking after the property, but you also get the chance to decide how you’d like to live with your fellow lodgers/housemates.

The best way to achieve this is through a live-in landlord lodger agreement with any tenant you invite to share with you. This is valid for rental of up to two rooms in your own property and does not allow overall occupancy rights but instead needs to specify which areas of the house apart from the bedroom can be used at the owner’s discretion.

Among other things, you’ll need to decide what to include in the rent and what duration of the lodger agreement as well as decide how you’ll get assurances from your new flatmates to pay their share.

The owner of the property will have offered you what’s called a Short-hold Tenancy Agreement, with a duration of at least 6 months, usually with the option to extend this either in 6 monthly blocks or on a monthly rolling basis. There will also be a notice period for each side’s convenience and security of tenure. Typically notice is 2 months to give each party time to find new tenants/accommodation.

A lodger agreement outlines what you’ll pay for the room within a house but also protects the landlord or lead tenant renting the property, to define the rest of the house as belonging to them and enabling them to ask someone to leave according to the terms of the agreement.

Sub-letting rooms

Renting a property to then sublet rooms to friends or other housemates needs the agreement of the landlord, but is usually possible as long as one person (you) takes responsibility for the tenancy and all of the terms included. That’s why it’s your responsibility as lead tenant or owner to manage your lodgers.

You’ll need to arrange for deposits and make sure your new lodger(s) / housemate(s) pay their rent to you on time and that they look after the furniture and overall decor.

In fact one thing to think about is whether you have furniture, because the majority of flat and house rentals are not furnished, whereas room shares are, with the landlord/lady having furnished the room.

Finding suitable housemates and lodgers

If you already have a friend or friends who want to share then you could be good to go. But if you’d like one or more others to join you in a share then you can approach potential housemates using the Cohabitas Find Housemates section.

Using this section you can search and review candidates before contacting your shortlisted group confidentially using the onsite message platform. Meeting up in person for a viewing is essential. A face-to-face meeting is essential, but do not hand over any money or personal details to anyone – the landlord or your prospective housemate – until you’ve viewed the property (online viewing first at this time) and then signed either a tenancy agreement or ‘lodger agreement’.

What if I cannot afford to buy a flat or house?

There are shared ownership schemes available whereby you buy a proportion of a property and the owner retains ownership of the other 50%. here are two useful links explaining how this works:

Shared Ownership Housing –
https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/shared-ownership-housing-schemes-explained

Older Person’s Shared Ownership (Over 55s)
https://www.ownyourhome.gov.uk/scheme/opso/

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