If you are renting a room to live in…
Renting a room in someone else’s house is quite different from sharing a house. It is much more like boarding. When you rent a room you abide by the house rules of the primary house owner or tenant. What they say goes, so although it would be nice to imagine that this could be a permanent arrangement, too often the situation is dis-empowering and is only realistic for short-term housing.
Essentially, when they ask you to leave, you leave, as there are very few protections in law for this situation. Often the person renting the room does not want someone else in the house. They just have to have someone else in the house because they cannot afford their bills.
So take care when you enter into these arrangements. You can ask for a lease that is downloaded from the web, but whether it would stand up in a court of law is another matter entirely.
And check the room carefully. If it is small and mean, then you will not thrive there.
There are many places on the web where you can find “shared” housing. Just make sure you know whether you are renting a room, and so have no say in how the house is managed, or sharing, in which case it will be a rental house and your name will go on a lease. The main commercial sites do not differentiate between renting a room and sharing.
Share housing sites
If you are considering renting a room in your house to someone else…
You need to examine a lot of issues if you are planning to do this. Make sure you are very clear on your motives and your legal responsibilities.
Is the room large, well-appointed and beautiful, or is it small, mean and ugly. Think carefully as this is how you are defining your relationship with the person you rent it to.
They will live in their room much more than would be normal in a shared house, so the room needs to be a place they want to be. Here is a good checklist on what you should consider.
The legal protections for both parties
You can get advice on flatmate agreements from here. This link leads on to a pretty comprehensive guide to the difference between a Residential Tenancy Law agreement and a Common Law Flatmate Agreement.
If you have had any legal issues related to renting a room, please feel free to share the issues and how they were resolved.
If you know of other ways of finding shared housing or just tips and tricks that we do not have below, please tell us in the Have your say field below what we have missed. This website is in its early days and we rely on those in the know to make it the best it can be.