The Pros And Cons Of House Sharing
Oh, the joys of housing sharing! For some, that it is a literal statement - sharing a home with others is a fantastic, fun part of their housing journey. For others, it’s simple sarcasm, a necessary evil at a time where renting is more unaffordable than ever, especially for students and those living in larger cities like London, Bristol or Manchester.
First and foremost though, what is an HMO? It can be useful to understand the proper terminology, especially in terms of understanding your rights as a tenant.
HMO stands for ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ AKA, in more common words, a shared house or flat, in which you live with, and share facilities with, people that you aren’t related to. As such, you’ll share a toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen facilities with other housemates. Most commonly, those who live in HMOs are students or younger people although nowadays some people share housing right into their 30s, 40s and even beyond.
What are the advantages of house sharing?
- Shared housing is, of course, generally much more affordable so is great for students, those starting off with graduate salaries or individuals living in large and more expensive cities such as London.
- It’s less hassle. Often, bills and other expenses are included in your monthly rent, so budgeting is made simpler.
- There’s less work to do. Your landlord will need to keep your house or apartment in a reasonable condition, repairing things that get broken, and ensuring your living conditions are clean and safe, with no hazards to your health. This can save you time, money and stress.
- Shared responsibility. Cleaning and chores can be shared between you and your housemates or, you can put into a kitty, and share the expense of a cleaner.
- Life will never be boring. Housemates can easily become close lifelong friends to you and you’ll never feel lonely.
- It can be a smart option if you are saving up to buy a property of your own.
What are the disadvantages of house sharing?
- Personal space issues. If you desperately need your own space, beyond your bedroom that is, and don’t like other people touching your stuff, a HMO probably isn’t ideal for you. In many cities, small studios can be affordable too for students or those on a budget as well.
- Clashing personalities. It’s a tough gig finding flatmates you get along with. To live successfully together, you’ll need to find individuals who share common values and lifestyles to you.
- Lack of stability. Generally, students and others renting share houses move around a lot. While you may love the initial housemates you move in with, they could soon be replaced with others you’re not so fond of. It’s always awful falling out with the people you live with!
- Landlord troubles. HMOs are big business these days. Many landlords benefit from significant profits (through multiple rent payments) with little other costs (e.g. less maintenance compared to say, having multiple one-family rental properties). As a result, HMOS, especially large HMOs, do sometimes attract less-than-favourable landlords who don’t always follow the strict rules in place to protect tenants. While the law protects tenants, it can be a pain fighting for your rights if your landlord doesn’t want to play fair!
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Content correct at time of publication.