Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Different types of shared occupancy
Many people choose to live in shared accommodation, be it for financial or for social reasons. Those considering moving into a shared home for the first time may first wish to familiarise themselves with the options available, before deciding which type of share-scheme to go for.
Flat or House Share?
This type of shared-accommodation is covered by a joint tenancy agreement, where tenants are often 'joint or severally liable'. This type of share means that any and all tenants are responsible for fulfilling their contractual obligations to the landlord, and for paying rent. Difficulties might arise should one house/flatmate decide to leave before everyone else, as by giving their individual notice the tenancy contract is effectively being terminated for all occupants.
Replacing a house or flatmate does not guarantee that a landlord will provide a replacement contract, though often a landlord will allow for someone else to take the outgoing occupant's place. Though not necessarily legally obliged to help find their replacement, it is a common courtesy for the leaver to assist in finding a replacement tenant. It is quite likely that your flatmates will want to be involved in the selection process if they need to replace you as after all, they're the ones that will have to live with the newcomer in your absence.
If the tenants that want to stay-on are unable to find a replacement immediately, they may have to cover the missing person's share of the rent until they do. For this reason it is best to give your flatmates as much notice as possible before you move out.
Room for Rent
Rooms for rent are similar to the situations found in house or flat shares, except that instead of a shared agreement, each occupant enters into a separate agreement on their own. The principle advantage of renting a room over a flat/house share is that leaving is much easier, and does not cause as much inconvenience to your flatmates. The downside is that if one of your flatmates decides to leave, you may be denied the chance to help select a new one.
Because the responsibility shifts to the landlord, it is quite likely that they will be anxious to find a new paying customer as quickly as possible. Consultation of the current occupants is unlikely to be high on a busy landlord's list of priorities, so you may find yourself stuck with a conflict of personalities until your contract is up.
When you are renting a room (or rooms) in a property that you share with the property's owners, you might be referred to as a lodger. Generally, people who share accommodation with their landlords might benefit from having a more express service when it comes to property maintenance. Because you are living in close proximity with the owners however, some find it difficult to relax or are uncomfortable owing to the absence of equality with your neighbours that you have in a house or flat-share.
When it comes to insuring your shared accommodation, if you are sharing with anyone other than your immediate family or partner, you might find obtaining adequate cover more difficult than you had expected. In situations where you are sharing your accommodation with strangers it is particularly important that you obtain adequate insurance cover, not necessarily because you do not know whether you can trust your flatmates but because more occupants means more risk in general. With HomeProtect you can obtain a competitive online home or shared occupancy insurance quote, no matter who you are sharing your home with.