B47 - Going Flatting with Others
You may have been flatting when you were younger, or this may be the first time you've considered going flatting and sharing a house with others.
Whatever the case, you need to think about the number and type of people you'd like to live with, but keep an open mind to being pleasantly surprised when you start exploring
You may find an arrangement that suits you that you never thought of before you started looking.
Your biggest outgoing when you go flatting will be what you have to pay up front, before you move in. It's usual to pay a bond that's refunded once you leave the flat, provided
you leave the flat in good condition. The bond is often up to four weeks' worth of rent, and your landlord must lodge it with Tenancy Services within 23 working days of you taking
up the tenancy. You may also need to pay two weeks' rent in advance, as well as any letting agency fees (usually the equivalent of one week's rent, non-refundable).
Check out how much you'll be expected to contribute to power, phone, internet and possibly water bills. This will vary from flat to flat. You'll also need to know what furniture,
if any, comes with the flat. You may also want to investigate contents insurance cover for your personal items.
Check if there's a flat-sharing agreement that sets out flatmates' responsibilities and obligations. Even if there's no written agreement, it's a good idea to ask questions like:
Can I use common areas of the flat to host my own visitors (eg, the living room)? Can I have people over to stay and is there a restriction on the number of consecutive nights a
visitor can stay? How much time will we spend together as flatmates (eg, will there by shared dinners and how often)? How are the different chores around the house distributed among
Here are some easy rules to help ensure everyone gets along in the flat:
- Live with people you can talk to easily - communication is really important.
- Decide who is responsible for what.
- Split all the household bills (eg, internet, power) evenly.
- Respect each other's privacy.
- If you're not sure about security, put a lock on your bedroom door.
- Get things in writing (eg, an agreement about what rent you'll be paying).
- If there are pets, it's important to know who's responsible for them.
- Going flatting can provide you with companionship in a household of people who interact with one another, whether you flat with existing friends or move in with people you
don't know that well.
- You can share household expenses with others.
- Flatting offers you the flexibility to move and experience new neighbourhoods.
- The landlord is responsible for all costs in upkeep/maintenance on the property.
- If a landlord rents out the rooms separately, you may have little control over who else stays in the house. Check this out and choose an option that suits the way you want to
- Sometimes things go wrong - personalities clash or people just decide they can't live with others any more. Don't wait until a small problem becomes a big one. Seek out help
early on, just like you would do with a family problem in a household.
- Just like any accommodation, if you stay in a flat long term, there'll be normal wear and tear. Some landlords may not take this into account when you move out and withhold
some of your bond repayment.
- Your rent can go up over time.
- Private rentals are often less stable and you may be required to move and find a new flat.
- It can be difficult to get home modifications made to rental properties, for example, a wet-area shower or a ramp, as any modifications must be approved by the landlord.
What do I need in order to take this option?
- Appropriate flatting options need to be available in your area.
- You need to be willing and flexible enough to live with strangers.
- You will need to work out how much you can pay in rent.
- If possible, get at least two references for any potential flatmate that tell you what their previous flatmates have thought of them. You may also want to do an internet search
on them to find out if there's anything important you should know about their history.
- You will need to have the finances to cover your bond, other set-up costs and rent before you move in.
Could this option limit my future choices?
No, it may help you to stay living independently while providing you with some company.
For more information