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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Finding shared accommodation

It’s very difficult to get out of a tenancy agreement once you’ve signed a contract so you should make sure that you’re happy with the accommodation and your flatmates before you sign.

Finding shared accommodation

There are a number of different ways that rooms for rent are advertised.  You can search online on established property websites or estate agent websites.  You may also want to check the local newspaper or notice boards in your local supermarket.  Websites, like Spareroom and Gumtree, often include advertisements for flatmates.

Things to look out for

When you view a potential new home give yourself plenty of time to properly consider the room, the building and the area. Our viewing checklist will help you figure out what to look out for. Before you go to the viewing, make a list of things that are important to you and check the property against this list.  If you meet with one of the existing tenants, find out

  • why there is a vacancy
  • what the landlord or agent is like to deal with
  • how bills are worked out
  • what privacy arrangements are, e.g. locks on individual bedroom doors
  • the ages of the other tenants and whether they’re social or quiet.

You’ll want to make sure that you will be able to live peacefully with the other tenants, so if they’re party animals but you prefer the quiet life, this may not be the property for you.

Your tenancy agreement

If you’re moving into a property which has already been let out to other tenants you should get your own individual tenancy agreement. You may be added to an existing agreement if you are replacing someone who was previously a joint tenant of the house.

Make sure you get a copy of a tenancy agreement when you move in.  You have a legal right to a rent book. It’s important that you know whether you’re an individual tenant of a particular room or a joint tenant of a household.  If you’re a joint tenant, find out if you are joint and severally liable for rent and damages.  Being joint and severally liable means you may be expected to pay for any missed rent or financial damage owed by the other tenants.

If you’re moving into a house that the landlord also lives in you are probably a licensee and will have fewer rights than a tenant.