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Sharing is caring: flat sharing in London

They say that two’s company, three’s a crowd and four, well, we won’t go into that. When it comes to sharing a rental property, though, we personally think the more the merrier. As long as there’s the space to accommodate. London rental prices are one of the most expensive in Europe, so it makes perfect sense to negate some of those costs by sharing a property with others.

All the right combinations need to be in place for flat sharing to work, with the mix of personalities playing an important factor. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a checklist for you to take into account regarding all things sharing in the London rental market.

Friends, everybody has them. Or do they?

Sharing with friends is usually the first option for many people looking to cut the cost of their monthly rental. Nine times out of ten it’s a good idea, as sharing with someone you know affords you a certain amount of comfortability.

However, being mates with someone and living with them are two entirely different things. Make sure that if you are going to share with friends, you pick ones who share similar personality traits to yourself. If you happen to be a neat freak and they’re a bit messy, or vice versa, it’s never going to work.

I don’t know you but you’re kinda cool

Some may even argue that sharing with friends is taking the easy way out and that getting to know a new set of people is part of the experience when it comes to house sharing. No matter what side of the fence you sit on in that particular argument, it’s always good to expand your horizons and your social circles.

By meeting new people, possibly from different backgrounds to yourself, it gives you the chance to learn new things and create bonds with people you wouldn’t normally meet. That’s something that is quite beautiful in itself and certainly worth considering when deciding whether you want to share with friends or get to know new people.

Where can I find you?

When it comes to sharing a house or flat, many people decide against using a traditional lettings agent to find them a property, choosing to look for one themselves. In fact, traditional portals like Rightmove and Zoopla aren’t really suited for professional sharers.

There are various websites set up to aid sharers in finding the right property, including Gumtree and Spareroom. There are even some websites that treat property sharing in a similar way to social networking websites, allowing you to create profiles and advertise yourself for a room. The way they work is not too dissimilar to creating a profile on Facebook, or a dating site.

You upload your details, write a bit about yourself and include a picture or two (the picture is optional). It adds an extra dimension to sharing and lets the landlord find you rather than the other way round.

Long-term, Short-term, Medium-term

Many property-share scenarios forgo the regular 12-month contracts associated with renting – especially if you are not dealing directly with a lettings agent. That means many sharers enjoy the flexibility of not having to commit to a long-term rental.

Not only does this allow you the freedom to explore many different areas in the capital, but it gives you flexibility by not having to tie yourself into a lengthy contract. It’s always best to check with the person you’re renting from first, but many house shares do not require you to sign a ‘period of stay’ contract.

Check it’s all legit

If you have decided not to use a lettings agent for your house share, make sure that the person you are renting from has all the legal documents in place. You need to assess the situation correctly, and it’s vital to cover yourself so you don’t get taken for a ride by the landlord.

Check that there is contents’ insurance for the property, read through your tenancy agreement thoroughly, comparing to online templates if need be, and make sure you are aware of how the bills are calculated and what is included in the initial monthly rental.

New to London?

If you’re new to London, or know the city but aren’t sure which part to live in for your sharing adventure, why don’t you check out our ‘Where to live in London’ tool? It will help you to find the perfect area based on your personality and interests. You can also check out our ‘Best places to live in London’ for in-depth area guides.

August 22, 2016 rentonomy Moving to the Capital