The Be A Londoner guide to flatsharing...
Article reviewed: 2013/01/17 | Next review due: 2014/08/05
There are a few guidelines to know when thinking about flatsharing. You are sharing the cost of the rent and bills with another person, however there is no limit to the number of occupants within an apartment or house – it simply depends on the number of bedrooms.
Flatsharing is cheaper than having your own place, but it is also an effective way to meet new people and integrate into London life.
In some cases, the landlord will not consult the other members of the household and you may be able to rent the room before even meeting anyone else in the house. In general, however, a landlord will ask the other flatmates’ advice in order to voice conflict.
The bills are split between the number of people living the flat. Often, one person will pay the bills and ask the other flatmates to pay their share into their account..
It is often requested when you arrive in the housing and may reach one, two or even six months' rent. You pay directly to your landlord who will keep the money in an escrow account and will reward you upon your departure, subject to litigation.
A deposit is an amount that you give the landlord to cover any damage or unpaid rent when the lease expires.
For all rental agreements made after April 6th, 2007, a deposit must be stored in a government controlled scheme to guarantee the funds. If at the end of the contract, your landlord wants to retain a portion of the sum for damage repair, he cannot do so without your consent. If you refuse, you can plead your case with the deposit scheme litigators. In case of dispute regarding the return of your deposit, contact the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
If the deposit amount to be returned has been agreed, the landlord must provide you with your sum within 10 days.
In case of disputes or for more information, go to citizens advice bureau.
Upon arrival in your new apartment, you will have to do an inventory of furniture and wear and tear with the landlord and your housemates. Be alert and look out for anything that is not in perfect order, because you may lose your deposit if you damage is subsequently noted when you leave.
The Tenancy Agreement
The agreement is signed by you and your flatments, the landlord, and a witness. The names of the lessees and the address of the property will be on the agreement, as will as information such as whether the dwelling is furnished or not, the amount and frequency of rent payments, and the contract expiry date.
Rent is usually paid monthly, however the price on the contract may be confirmed in a weekly rental price. Monthly rent payments are paid ‘per calendar month’, meaning 12 equal payments per year. For a conversion from weekly to monthly, multiply the weekly amount by 4.3 (or 52/12).
If you sign a lease for six months on a fixed term tenancy, the rent cannot be increased within that six months period unless previously agreed, but if you extend the contract beyond six months, the owner has the right to instigate a rent increase in conjunction with a new lease.
Rent prices can be increased by your landlord, but only if you are both in agreement (unless you were previously informed of this increase when you signed the lease). If you do not agree with a rental increase, do not pay it. If you pay your increased rental amount, this will constitute your acceptance of this increase and you will not have recourse to a refund.
- Citizens advice bureau: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk