If you have read John Birmingham’s ‘He Died with a Felafel in His Hand’ you are probably well versed in what not to look for in a shared house, and all the worst case scenarios. These are the scenarios that make property rental companies such as Position One Property cringe, so it’s best to avoid them if you want a good rental history behind you. For those who want to enter into a healthy shared house opportunity but have never done it before, here is some helpful information to get you started.
What Do You Want?
The first thing you need to do is work out what you are looking for in a shared house. You could either rent one yourself and populate it with awesome people, or join an existing one. Do you want to live in an apartment, or in shared student accommodation? How much rent are you willing to pay? Once you have worked out what you are looking for you will have an idea about where to go from there.
When moving into a shared house (whether starting one up or going into an already established one), you will need a bit of money behind you to cover the initial start-up costs. These may include bond (4 weeks’ rent), 2 weeks’ rent in advance and a share in electricity, gas and internet. Depending on how much furniture you can muster up, you may need to buy some, or arrange for it to be moved to your new place.
As with any other relationship, the opportunity to live in a shared house with other humans brings you a variety of experiences to learn and grow from. When choosing the right share house for you, you might want to visit the place to get an idea about how the current tenants like to live. For example, if you are a non-muso moving into a musician’s shared house, be prepared for lots of music to be played day and night. If you are living with students, be prepared that there will be certain times of year when everyone is a bit stressed, such as exam time. It is important to communicate about what you need and maintain an open, honest relationship with your housemates through the changing times of life.
When moving into the house you may want to become a co-tenant, which means that your name will be on the lease, or a sub-tenant which will require you to get a written statement of your status from the lease-holding tenant. Initially, when you move into a shared house everything is usually fun and rainbows, and you may not anticipate what could go wrong, so it is important to be sure that you know your legal standing and that you are happy with it. One of the downsides of going on a lease in a shared house is that you may be responsible if the property is damaged by a non-lease-holding tenant.
When choosing to move out of a rental property there are legal boundaries to protect all parties, so making sure that you know where you stand is an important preparation during the ‘moving in phase’. Position One Property has seen both sides of the fence in terms of tenants who have prepared for a smooth exit, and those who have not, and they urge you to know your rights and prepare for anything that may come along.