While offering or finding share accommodation can be fun, it is important to take some steps to make the whole process safe and simple for everyone involved.
Tenants and landlords can find it difficult discussing responsibilities and rights especially when sharing a house with someone they do not know. It can feel uncomfortable setting out your needs and requirements. But it is necessary. Understanding each other’s expectations and agreeing to responsibilities make an uncomfortable situation happy and comfortable right from the start.
There is nothing to fear from dealing with contracts, legal documents, residential tenancy and share accommodation agreements. It is easy and you only need to take a few simple steps to protect yourself and new living situation. A brief understanding of the law protects you from loss of the bond or rent, property damage and misunderstandings. It sets out the obligations and right of everyone involved with the property.
While this is not a legal requirement, checking the property and meeting the other housemates is a vital step in the process. After all this may be your new home. You need to see it and meet all the people living there before moving in. Meeting everyone and seeing the property is the only way of knowing what it will be like living there.
When you live too far away to visit in person, organise a video call and take a Skype tour and meet all the housemates. Another way is to book into a hostel or hotel when you first arrive from interstate. This gives you the time to meet your future housemates and view the property.
Take a friend with you if you feel uncomfortable going alone or meet at a coffee shop for a casual meeting.
You can avoid most issues by discussing the details of the tenancy before you move in.
Cover all the important details upfront. These can include:
Finding out your new housemate has changed their mind or turning up to move in to find someone has already taken the room is frustrating. To avoid this, consider offering a holding deposit to give you security once you accept the offer to move in.
Sharing with friends can be a recipe for disaster. Disagreements can arise and it can end friendships if you do not have a written agreement. Most countries and states offer a standard tenancy agreement you can use.
In many countries and states you must register the bond according to the law. Tenants must have their bond returned at the end of the tenancy unless they breach the agreement.
When sharing accommodation, the rent is usually paid using a bank transfer. And, when paying in cash, make sure you get a receipt.
It is your responsibility to pay the rent on time and in full or you can put your tenancy and bond in jeopardy.
Before moving in agree to how many weeks in advance you pay the rent. In most countries and states, it is usually no more than 4 weeks in advance unless there is a mutual agreement.
Before signing a tenancy agreement, agree how much notice tenants and landlords need to give to terminate the agreement. Most countries and states have specific rules about the amount of notice required to terminate a tenancy agreement. It is poor form to move out or for a landlord to kick someone out without giving the correct notice to vacate.
The information on this page is only a brief summary of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They are not comprehensive and it may be different in the country you live in. This information is a guide only and you should seek independent legal advice or consult the relevant laws in your country. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.