A guide on Shared Accommodation

Is shared accommodation the right move for you?

Choosing who you want to live with is just as important as choosing where you’d like to live. A living environment should be a safe and secure space that we have tailored to our personal preferences. If you are living with housemates, they will play a huge role in your comfortability, so picking people that are most suited to your personality can help to create a home away from home, especially if you are living far away from family members.


But what are the important factors to bear in mind when choosing shared accommodation? Well, we have created a quick guide to help you prepare for this fairly daunting but exciting process…


1. Types of shared accommodation

The most common type of shared accommodation is where a group of sharers will sign under either a shared or by the room AST on a house or flat.

-A shared AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) is when the property is rented out as a group and a joint contract is signed by all tenants and the landlord. This option would be preferred by a group of friends who know one another well.

-An AST by the room is when each tenant will have an individually signed agreement with the landlord. This option would be favoured by a group of tenants who are unfamiliar with one another as they will not be responsible for each other. One downfall of this agreement is that if one tenant leaves, the Landlord will be able to fill that free space with whoever they see fit.

Renting a room from a live-in landlord is also an option for tenants who are searching for affordable living. This is where a landlord (and possibly their family) also lives in the same property with you. It is great for someone needing simple accommodation; however, it may feel difficult to relax as your landlord will always be nearby.

Subletting is the process of you renting out your room to another tenant whilst you are in an AST. Generally, subletting isn’t allowed in most tenancy agreements although some landlords may agree to it with a good enough reason. It is a risky decision on your behalf if the tenant you have chosen doesn’t pay the rent, as you will most likely lose your rights and put your own tenancy at threat. 


2. Choosing your housemates

If you are going into shared accommodation with other tenants that you don’t know, you should make sure to find out as much as you possibly can before committing to an agreement which has the potential to turn sour.

Arrange a couple of meetings with all the tenants before you sign onto a contract, you can then take some time to get to know one another and find out whether you hold the same basic morals and any similar interests. Remember that living with people can be intense at times, but if you do meet housemates which seem easy-going, fun and reasonable, then you will likely have a smooth tenancy whilst also having met some lifelong friends!


3. Staying safe

Most shared tenancies can be found online, and it may sound obvious, but be sure to never share your private details or make any payments before having met the other tenants, the landlord and the property.

Stick to using legitimate sites such as Openrent or SpareRoom,  and if you are still worried about an advertiser you can make searches on Google and LinkedIn to see if they are who they say that are.

Keeping safe in these situations typically comes down to common sense and trusting your instincts, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t let the pressure of finding a property force you into making silly decision, if you come across accommodation which is being offered at a particularly cheap price, think twice, and don’t rush into anything.

Another thing to remember before going to a viewing is to check out the location beforehand. If you are unsure of what you may be turning up to, take someone with you just to be on the safe side. 


4. Sharing bills

Once you have found your new housemates and a property, it may be within all your best interests to set out a plan for how you are going to pay your shared bills. No matter how much you get along with your housemates, nobody wants to be chasing one another for late payments or to be paid back. 

Companies like Glide provide a service that simplifies paying group utility bills. They are a specialist energy supplier who bundle each payment into one simple fixed monthly e-bill.


5. Being sociable 

After choosing your rooms and gradually getting settling into your new accommodation with your housemates, the fun can commence! 

Shared living can be a challenge at times, but it can be much more interesting and safer than living by yourself. You will have the opportunity to become more sporadic by joining your housemates on days or evenings out that you may not have done before, and likewise with them joining you. Group meals and communal areas are also a lot more amusing when there are a mix of different personalities and stories being told, so embrace the chaos and go with the flow.


Everyone should have time and space to themselves if they request it, but the main goal is for every housemate to simply enjoy the time together and make it a great experience for all.