Share House KnowHow
Many people in Australasian cities these days live in share houses. Even for couples, it is often just too expensive to rent a single dwelling. While share houses have been around for a long time, there is not a lot of information around about the things to watch out for and many have had to learn the hard way how to make it work. Read on for three suggestions on making the share house work by taking control and planning to avoid problems before they happen.
1. Selecting Your Housemates
Selecting co-tenants is the first step. It seems like an obvious one but people sharing a house need similar values and habits if they are not to argue about noise, tidiness, relatives who come to stay etc. There is no point sharing a house with a party animal if you are quiet and studious and need peace and quiet to study. Do they share your ideas about cleaning up after themselves and sharing any responsibilities such as lawn cutting? If you own the dryer, it will soon become a bone of contention if your co-tenants are slack about cleaning the lint filter – and what if they like to leave their clothes in the washing machine for days so no one else can get access? If you don’t mention these things at the interview, don’t be surprised to find that they have bad habits (or even overly fastidious ones!) that make for lack of harmony in the household.
2. Who Goes on the Lease?
Is the lease going to be in one person’s name or four? Putting everyone on the lease means they’re all equally responsible for any problems that occur. When you decide to move out, if everyone but you can move out when it suits them, you could end up paying the entire rent until the lease is up and you can move. Why? Because if you end up with a couple of months to go on the lease, it will be hard to replace your housemates with such a short time left on the lease, especially if you are taking the furniture with you. Even if you take a bond from your co-tenants, if they don’t have any lease obligations, they can move out with only the bond to cover any lack of notice – if you have bothered to collect a bond from them in the first place. Many people think that if they move in with friends, no formal arrangements are necessary – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Today’s friend could be tomorrow’s enemy – especially once you’ve lived together – so dot ‘i’s’ and ‘t’s’ when it comes to covering yourself in the case of bad blood.
3. House Guests
Some people have a constant stream of visitors and would like them to sleep on your living floor or wherever they can find a space for a sleeping bag, while others never have visitors at all. Extra guests put pressure on bathrooms and kitchens and may mean that when you finish work at night, the house is not a relaxing place to come home to. This can be hard to deal with if your co-tenant offers you the same rights in return – especially if you don’t often have family or friends who come and stay. It is worth working out rules for this one – no one wants to refuse a friend a bed for the odd overnight stay, but people who come from overseas and camp for a month in your living room are stretching the relationship. Be clear about what is fair to everyone in this instance – before you move in together.