Finding a good and comfortable accommodation is one of the problems university students have to deal with at one point or the other. The issue of accommodation is very critical because, without a comfortable place of rest, studies can be very challenging. But the cost of accommodation can be too much to bear for some students. One option available for such students is house sharing.
What is house sharing?
House sharing is where two or more individuals who might not have known each other before agree to stay in the same house. The main reason for house sharing is to cut cost. There are different types of house sharing, some of which are discussed in the following paragraphs.
This is where a group of individuals collectively hire a house or a flat for themselves. Legally the tenancy agreement is binding on each and every one of the housemates, jointly and severally. What this means is that when there is a problem such as non-payment of rent, any of the housemates could be held responsible for all the rent. When it happens that one person decides to leave before the agreement expires, the whole agreement ends and a new one must be signed. Landlords may agree for the rest to find a replacement, but that calls for signing a new agreement.
Rooms to rent (landlord out)
The tenant will rent a room in a house and the landlord does not live in the house with the tenants. In this type of house sharing, the landlord rents out the rooms in his/her house or flat to tenants on an individual basis. That means each tenant has his/her own tenancy agreement.
Rooms to rent (landlord in)
The tenant will rent a room in a house and share the house with the landlord. This is a situation where someone decides to rent a free room in his/her house to another person. This could be difficult as you may not feel free in the presence of your landlord.
It is the case where someone rents a house and decides to let out a room or two to others. This is not legal but it is being done anyway. There are risks with this arrangement because it is not backed by law.
There are a lot of house sharing options around most universities in Australia. That means that if you cannot afford your own personal flat, you can opt for house sharing. But you must know that house sharing comes with its pros and cons.
Pros and cons of house sharing
1. The first advantage of house sharing is that it is a cheaper way of housing yourself at the university. It is an option that makes you save money for other important aspects of your studies such as books, food and clothes.
2. You will have company all the time and that means you’ll not find yourself lonely. This is also good for your security as housemates come to your rescue when there is a danger.
3. House sharing can lead to the creation of very lasting friendships. People who never knew each other before become very great friends as a result of living in the same house.
4. Cleaning the house is not difficult as the task is shared among mates.
1. House sharing comes with reduced privacy. You will have to accept the inconvenience of people living their own lives to your discomfort at certain times. You will have to share certain facilities such as kitchen and bathrooms with others. This can be very inconvenient at times.
2. There are bound to be conflicts and if not properly resolved, they could lead to the destruction of friendships. Many people who were friends became enemies after living together in a shared house.
3. In a shared house, sometimes cleaning becomes a problem. Where there is a mate who doesn’t care much, you may have to clean up their mess for them. That is one thing that can be difficult to do over and over again. The other side of this is that the house remains uncleaned most of the time as everyone thinks the other will/must do it.
Source: Google images
4. In certain cases, house sharing becomes more costly. Where a housemate refuses to pay his/her share of the bills, you end up paying for them in order to avoid service disconnection. In a house share situation, when a housemate leaves without finding a replacement, the rest will have to pay his share of the rent.
How to avoid the conflict?
In order to avoid some of these problems, certain steps should be taken right from the start. Everyone should know his or her rights and responsibilities before you move into the house. There should be a house sharing agreement with clear rules as to how you use facilities like bathrooms and kitchens. Try as much as possible to let mates know what you like and don’t like.
Where to look for house sharing?
In case you are looking for a house sharing option, there are many websites that can help you find one.
- Our website Studentbees.com.au is one of such websites. We have a dedicated housing section that allows users to search for different types of student accommodations in Australia. You can list and search properties for free.
- Flatmates.com.au is another website that has house sharing deals in all the major cities in Australia listed. You can find sharing deals as low as $120.
- Another website that can help you find a shared house in Australia is share-accommodation.net. You must register in order to use the services of this website. They provide a search engine that helps you locate a house sharing deal in your city.
If you realise that you cannot afford a whole flat for yourself, house sharing is a great option. Even though there are inconveniences that come with this, there are steps you can take to mitigate them.
If you have any comments or questions about house sharing, feel free to post them!