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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

HMOs, sharing and flatmates

Sharing a rented home can work out really well. It makes things a lot cheaper, but can also bring its own problems. Whether you're moving in with your best friend or a total stranger, it's a good idea to lay down some ground rules.

People have a variety of reasons for renting shared accommodation. You may not be able to afford a home of your own, due to benefit restrictions or general affordability issues or you may not want to live alone.

There are a number of places you can find advertisements for rooms in shared properties. 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.

If you're renting a property as part of a group, you need to pay close attention to the tenancy agreement. The wording on this agreement can control what happens if one of the group moves out. In some cases, the rest of the tenants can be made responsible for paying the extra rent as well as any rent that the former tenant hasn't paid.

Renting a home on your own is expensive. It might be more affordable to move in with friends, family members or even strangers. This will make things cheaper but can bring it's own problems so you need to think about the practical arrangements of living with others.

If a landlord lets a property to 3 or more people from 2 or more families, the property becomes a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). There are lots of rules and safety requirements that a landlord must abide by if he is letting a HMO.

Sorting out the practical arrangements at the beginning of a tenancy can prevent disputes arising later on. Once you've signed a tenancy agreement you've committed to living with your flatmates for a defined period of time. It's worth agreeing how you're going to sort out chores and bills and laying down some ground rules.

Sharing arrangements don't always work out. If you're having problems with the people you're sharing with, don't ignore the issue. Try to resolve the situation. If you've signed a tenancy agreement, it will be difficult to leave the property before it has lapsed.

It can be hard to know what to do if you split up or fall out with someone you're living with. Your rights in this situation depend on your status and what your tenancy agreement says. Your rights depend on the type of tenancy you have. If you're experiencing domestic violence or you feel unsafe in your home get advice immediately.