Embarking on your university journey can be an exciting yet daunting experience. It's perfectly natural to feel a touch of apprehension as you navigate unfamiliar surroundings and strive to build new friendships. While the lecture halls and seminar rooms may already seem intimidating, the prospect of cohabitating with unfamiliar roommates adds an extra layer of uncertainty to your academic adventure.

At Hausi, we understand the importance of making this transition as smooth as possible. Whether you and your housemates become fast friends or face some challenges along the way, it's crucial to be well-informed about the structure of your tenancy. This knowledge can have far-reaching implications for various aspects of your university life.

On this page, we aim to provide you with valuable insights into the considerations you should keep in mind when sharing your accommodation. Our goal is to empower you with the information you need to make the most of your shared living experience while ensuring a harmonious environment throughout the academic term.

Typical tenancy arrangements

Tenancy arrangements in shared accommodations can take on various forms to suit different preferences. The most common scenarios include:

  1. Joint Tenancy Agreement: Under this arrangement, all residents in the property sign a single tenancy agreement. While you share the property and its amenities, no one has exclusive possession of any specific part of the property. In practice, you might decide to occupy particular bedrooms and make individual contributions toward the rent. This arrangement is referred to as a joint tenancy.

  2. Sole Tenancy Agreements: In this scenario, each individual in the property holds their own tenancy agreement. They have exclusive possession of their assigned room while sharing other facilities, such as the kitchen, with fellow residents. Each person enjoys a sole tenancy, providing greater independence within a shared environment.

Your rights and responsibilities will vary depending on whether you have a Joint or Sole tenancy or if you have a tenant serving as your resident landlord. We are here to assist you in understanding and navigating these arrangements to ensure a comfortable and harmonious living experience.

If you share accommodation and have a joint tenancy

In the case of a joint tenancy, all tenants enjoy equal rights and responsibilities. Each tenant shares both collective and individual accountability for adhering to the terms and conditions outlined in the tenancy agreement. This legal concept is referred to as "joint and several liability." Please feel free to reach out if you have any further inquiries or require additional information. We're here to assist you in any way we can.

Paying the rent

In the case of a joint tenancy, it's important to understand that you share collective and individual liability for the rent. In practical terms, this means that any one of you, or all tenants collectively, can be held accountable for the entire rent amount. The allocation of specific shares among tenants is not a factor that can be contested.

In the event that a fellow tenant fails to contribute their portion of the rent, the remaining tenants are collectively responsible for covering the shortfall. Failure to do so will result in joint and individual responsibility for any accumulating rent arrears. Your landlord has the authority to take actions such as deducting funds from the deposit, initiating eviction proceedings against the entire group, or pursuing the debt from any single tenant or their guarantor.

We advise all tenants in joint tenancies to maintain open communication and financial responsibility to ensure a harmonious living arrangement. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help and ensure a positive rental experience for all.

If one of you wants to leave

When your joint tenancy carries a fixed term, typically spanning, for instance, an 11-month duration, it is typically essential to obtain consent from both your landlord and your fellow tenants should you wish to terminate the tenancy prematurely. In the event that your landlord declines an early termination request, the responsibility for fulfilling the entire fixed term falls upon the tenants or until a suitable replacement tenant has been secured. The same principle applies to the landlord; they cannot terminate the tenancy early without the unanimous consent of all parties involved.

In cases where only one of the joint tenants wishes to depart during the tenancy's duration while the others intend to stay, you have the following options:

  1. Approach your landlord and request a new tenancy agreement that excludes the departing tenant. The likelihood of your landlord granting this request may increase if you can find a suitable replacement for the departing tenant.
  2. Maintain the existing tenancy arrangement without modifications. Consequently, the leaving tenant remains responsible for rent payments, or alternatively, the remaining tenants may choose to cover the departing tenant's portion of the rent.

These options provide flexibility and cooperation among tenants to ensure a smooth transition in such situations.

If you want one of the other tenants to leave

As joint tenants, you all have exactly the same rights, so one tenant can’t simply be forced to leave. If you have a problem with another tenant your landlord is unlikely to want to get involved and you’ll have to sort the problem out yourself. An independent third party may be able to help you to resolve any difficulties, for example, a common friend.

Replacement tenants

Finding a replacement tenant can be a good option if you want to leave but other tenants want to stay.

Your landlord and all joint tenants need to agree before any new tenants can move in. This can be documented and authorised via an amendment to the contract, although it is not legally binding until all parties have signed and the conditions are carried out.

Hausi are able to help with the tenant search however a Tenant Finder Fee is payable. DISCLAIMER, this service is never guaranteed or should be solely relied upon to find a replacement tenant. Full contractual responsibility is still bared by the existing Sharer until a replacement has been found and all paperwork submitted to officially complete the process.

Follow us on Instagram @Hausi_Living  for more useful tips.

Living in the Student Property

Living out of halls and in a shared student property most definitely comes with many advantages; some of them being that you now live in a space that is a lot more home like and you have a place to relax that isn’t your box-room or on those kitchen chairs you had in halls. You also have the added incentive of not having to share a house/flat with people you don’t get along with, instead you can choose the friends you’ve made whilst at uni to create the ulimtiate Uni-squad!

With electricity, make sure all applainces are turned off at the plug when not in use and only keep lights on that are needed, especailly when leaving the proeprty when going to lectures or home for the holidays. The heating should be on during the winter months to help keep you all toasty and ensure that damp is kept at bay, at a temperature that’s to all housemates liking.

When it comes to gas, again - make sure it's being used responsibly. Keep the boiler clean and free from debris and it’ll be less likely to malfunction. The same applies to central heating and showers. Whilst on the subject of keeping things clean, when your house begins to look untidy, it’s worth getting together with your housemates and cleaning it together. Perhaps you could allocate tasks evenly, that way every room is taken care of. That way, no one will feel as if they’re doing more work than others.

Finding the Right Housemates to Live With 

When living with people you’re familiar with, you can avoid that awkward phase of getting to know each other and you'll know a lot of their strengths, weaknesses and boundaries which is key to getting on. If however, you’re in the position where you have to find people to live with, why not ask potential housemates to tell you a little about themselves. It could allow you to gain greater understanding of whether they would be good to live with or not.

Another way of figuring out if your prospective new housemates are right for your house-share is going out with them for dinner (and/or drinks). You’ll be amazed at how much alcohol can help lighten the mood and get people to relax. That way, you’ll get to know them a little better and if they move in with you, they’ll get to know you as well, so it’s a win-win. 

Getting on with your new Housemates

Arguably, this is the toughest part of trying to make a house-share work, you’ll undoubtedly remember the best and worst people you have ever had the privilege of sharing a home with. What you want to do is ensure that, no matter how different you may be to your new student housemates, that your accommodation works well for all of you.

Split The Bills

In Hausi properties, you never have to worry about electricity, gas, water or Wi-Fi bills, but there are some things you have to pay for, namely food and drink. At the start of each week, make a shopping list and then split the estimated cost between you when in the supermarket.

If that’s not to your liking, perhaps it’s worth writing up an individual shopping lists and ensuring that no one eats one another’s food without the permission. It might seem a little bit over the top for some, but a labeling system could work by putting your name on everything in pen.

Remember, essential cleaning equipment is the tenant's responsibility so factor this in when doing your weekly shop. Nothing worse than running out of sponges and using an old one.

Splitting costs between you could also apply to things like taxis on the way home from a night out, drinks and any soft furnishings you add to the house.  

Respect Everyone's Privacy

This is something that helps you and your housemates to feel comfortable. Whether you’re studying, on the phone or just having some quiet time, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by someone making a ton of noises. Having some sort of verbal agreement in place where you promise to give each other personal space will keep you all happy and free to do whatever you please. There's nothing wrong with chilling in your room and shutting the door for down-time.

To make sure that you respect the privacy of your housemates yourself, think of it from their point of view. Would you appreciate it if one of them came into your bedroom without an invitation whilst you were busy studying? Or do I really need to turn my music up full-volume at 11pm at night when my house mate has an exam in the morning.

To be on the safe side, some signs to hang on the door of your room saying things like ‘I’m busy. Knock if it’s important’ for example, might help to give you the space you need. That will give you some much needed quiet time for those essay deadlines that are fast coming.

Go out (or stay in) Together

Finally, to really get to know each other and get on throughout the year, it’s worth having organised days/nights out and some nights in together. You’ll be amazed at how this can help you all to bond and share some great memories. For nights out, decide on a venue or event, such as a gig or comedy night and stick with it. In the name of equality, let one housemate decide on where to go each time.

As for nights in, these are a piece of cake to organise. All you need are some snacks, a few drinks and something like a DVD (or Netflix subscription), board game or computer game and you’re set. As with a night out, either decide between you what you’d all like to do or let each housemate pick a film or game every time you have a night in. You could spend a whole night watching films, playing Playstation or just chat and catch up on each others live. This is so much cheaper than a night out and chances are you'll most likely remember the night's events the morning after!

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