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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Renting a home with other people

Finding someone to live with is only the first step. You should check whose name the tenancy will be in, and what type of tenancy you'll have. These issues will have a big effect on your rights, especially if you ever fall out with your flatmates. Set a few ground rules when you move in which can help avoid major arguments later on.

Living on your own

Living on your own offers you freedom and independence, but it can be lonely. You will have to do everything for yourself, from cooking and cleaning to paying the bills.

Living on your own is usually the most expensive way to live as living with other people means you can share the costs. If you're going to be relying on housing benefit to help you meet the costs of your rented accommodation, you may not get enough benefit to afford a place of your own, particularly if you're single and under 35

Living with a landlord or a member of her/his family

If you share with your landlord, you will have very limited rights. Remember: the person you pay your rent to is your landlord. So even if you move into a friend's place as a lodger or subtenant, according to the law, they will be your landlord.

Living with your landlord or a member of their family will have a big impact on how easily you can be evicted. You will usually be a licensee, rather than a tenant, if you share a kitchen, bathroom or living room with your landlord, even if he or she is your friend. Licensees can be evicted more easily because they are only entitled to reasonable notice if the landlord wants them to leave. This could be as little as a couple of hours depending on your circumstances.

You won't normally be able to claim housing benefit if you live with your landlord and the landlord is a close relative of yours. 

Sharing with strangers

Sharing a house or flat is usually cheaper than living on your own. It may seem like great fun, but you may find that even people you really like can annoy you when you're living together. Everyone will have to learn to compromise, to pay their own way and to do their share of the housework if you want things to work out. You can usually find rooms to rent on websites like Spareroom and Gumtree

If you share your accommodation with people you aren't related to, it might be classed as a house in multiple occupation (or HMO). If this is the case, the landlord has extra legal responsibilities to ensure that the property is managed properly.

Moving in with your partner

Moving in with a partner can put a strain on your relationship, especially if you haven't been together very long. It's not always a good idea to move in together simply because it's cheaper than renting separately. You may enjoy staying over at their place for a few nights, but it is very different when you live together all the time. Discuss it properly, agree some ground rules and make sure you're ready to live together.

If you split up, contact an advice agency. Your rights can vary, depending on your circumstances and your status.

Moving in with friends

Moving in with friends can be a great idea, but you need to be clear how the practicalities will work out. Your rights will be very different if you move into your friend's place as a lodger or subtenant, than if you have joint or separate tenancies in a shared house or flat.

If you have to leave your current home and have nowhere else to go, staying on a friend's sofa might be a good solution for a short time, but you should think about your long term housing options. If you are in this situation, contact an advice agency