Prevent Shared Housing Nightmares!

With the cost of housing on the increase, many people in Australia and overseas are turning to live in shared houses. Quite popular for singles, students and even couples, it is often just too expensive to rent a single home for yourself. While shared houses have been around for years, the following information outlines some common problems to watch out for.
1. Selecting Your Housemates
Whether you are looking to move in with housemates or selecting a candidate to help share the rental pressure, this is a very important step. Selecting a co-tenant with similar habits, values and even schedules will reduce the likelihood and frequency of disputes about noise, tidiness, chores, relatives who come to stay and so on.
If you are a student, consider living with other students. If you share the same interests you will also be able to get along and start a new friendship. Do they clean up after themselves? Will they share chores such as lawn mowing or guttering? Are they party animals likely to stumble in at 3:00am on a Tuesday night? All these points should be mentioned in the interview so you can both get a clear picture of what the arrangements are going to be like.
2. Who Goes on the Lease?
Is the lease going to be in one person’s name or four? Putting everyone on the lease means they’re all equally responsible for any problems which may occur. If you are the only one on the lease, your co-tenants are free to move out before the lease is up, and if this happens, you may have to carry the rent until the lease is up or until you find a new tenant.
Even if you take a bond from your co-tenants, if they don’t have any lease obligations, they can move out with only the bond to cover any lack of notice. Many people think that if they move in with friends, no formal arrangements are necessary – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Formalising your arrangements sets out a clear picture of what is expected and shares the responsibility – true friends should be more than happy to complete this formality.
3. House Guests
Some people have a constant stream of visitors and would like them to sleep on your living floor or wherever they can find a space for a sleeping bag, while others never have visitors at all. This puts pressure on bathrooms and kitchens and may mean that when you finish work at night, the house is not a relaxing place to come home to. This can be hard to deal with if your co-tenant offers you the same rights in return – especially if you don’t often have family or friends who come and stay. It is worth working out rules for this one – no one wants to refuse a friend a bed for the odd overnight stay, but people who come from overseas and camp for a month in your living room are stretching the relationship. Be clear about what is fair to everyone in this instance – before you move in together.
4. Talk it Out
With any new living arrangement you can be certain your co-tenant will irritate you at some point and likewise, you are likely to irritate them. This is normal – everyone is different. It is important to have a method to resolve these issues. For example, an informal “house” meeting can be arranged to discuss these issues, or a suggestion box can be created which can be read out and resolved once a month.
During these meetings, it is important to hear everyone’s opinion and to let each other speak. A third party could be a great way to achieve this.
Next time you interview a co-tenant in Liverpool, or when you are interviewed, remember these points to set out clear expectations of the rental agreement, ensuring the tenancy goes as smoothly as possible.