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Flat sharing

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of sharing your home

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Sharing a flat or house with other people can be a great way to make new best friends, but there's also the possibility of a complete personality or lifestyle clash, with arguments over everything from noise to who ate your last slice of bread! Here are some tips to help you decide if you want to share with others or rent alone.

The advantages and disadvantages of flat sharing


If you share with others, you'll normally pay less rent than you would if you lived alone. Heating and electricity bills are usually cheaper when shared among a few people. However, there's a danger that one flatmate could cause expensive bills. Shared facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom are generally bigger than in one bedroom accommodation.


If you feel lonely living alone, then you might enjoy the company of flatmates. However, remember that while some flatmates share everything together (parties, meal times, going out), others live very separate lives and only see each other while passing through the kitchen.

Flat sharing means having less privacy than living alone. Flatmates aren't always going to want the same things as you (think arguments about what TV programme to watch, whether to have a house party or not, how clean the shared rooms are and so on).

Choosing a flatmate

It's important to live with people you get on well with. Try to meet your new flatmates before deciding to move in.

Your best friend doesn't always make a good flatmate. In fact, sharing with mates can mean the end of a friendship: think carefully about your friends’ lifestyles (when it comes to respecting your privacy, cleaning, money issues and partying) before deciding to live with them.

Make sure that everybody who lives in your flat has signed the contract or lease. Otherwise you could find yourself responsible for paying someone else's bills and rent if they do a runner!

Questions to think about before sharing a flat with others:


  • When and how is the rent paid?
  • Does each person give it individually to the landlord or does one of you collect everybody's rent and make sure it's paid on time?
  • What happens if one person is always late with the rent money or worse again, doesn't pay it?
  • If one flatmate leaves, who has to pay their share of the rent? (Check this with the landlord before moving in).

House rules

  • Are smoking, house parties or pets allowed?
  • Are there any rules about visitors?
  • What happens if one flatmate's boyfriend/girlfriend spends all his or her time in your flat or if someone has a friend sleeping on your sofa for a month?
  • Do you each eat separately and buy food separately or do you take turns cooking for everyone and do one big shop together?
  • How are other essentials like washing powder, toilet roll or cleaning products paid for?
  • Who does the housework (cleaning, dish washing, putting out the bins, laundry, etc.) and what happens if someone never does their share of the housework?

Read more about your rights as a tenant and moving out in our accommodation section. 

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Published Jan­u­ary 22nd2013
Last updated May 21st2018
Tags accommodation moving house housing friends
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