Student Accommodation cannot really tell you who will be the best kind of person for you to share a house with, as it is neither appropriate nor lawful for us to offer unsolicited character references. We encourage you to think long and hard about all aspects of sharing rented accommodation. You will find it easier to enter into a contract than to end it. This is further reason not to feel pressured either by letting agents, landlords or your peers into signing a contract you are not happy with. Factors to consider include:
- Hygiene and tidiness: can you tolerate each others personal preferences surrounding cleanliness?
- Repairs and breakages: remember, when it comes to repairs for damage inflicted by tenants, landlords will generally ask all students to pay for repairs and replacements, particularly if you have signed a Joint Contract.
- Contractual obligations: remember, if you are all signing a Joint Contract you will be agreeing to joint liability for the whole properties’ rent (this also applies guarantors, as they will have guaranteed to cover the whole properties rent) please refer to the information on joint contracts.
- Lifestyle: for example, do your sleeping patterns match up? Do you generally get on together? Do you have a similar view on personal space and living space?
Consideration must be given to all these factors, but even the most carefully considered group can experience problems and upsets. Establishing a good atmosphere for open communication will at least ensure that problems can be aired and discussed freely. Disputes surrounding personality clashes and other personal issues are common and somewhat more difficult to predict, and these will often come through the natural course of a friendship or relationship. However, by at least giving consideration to these factors some basic problems can be avoided.
One option for your house-hunting is to approach a landlord who is offering Individual Contracts. This means that they are willing to let rooms to students on an individual basis rather than needing a group of students to sign a joint contract. This would mean that you would have a contract with the landlord for your room only, and would have no liability for another tenant's rent should they not pay it. However, students ought to be aware that they will likely end up sharing a house with others that they do not know, and may not meet until they move in. Property adverts on HouseSearch will indicate whether a landlord is willing to let to individuals. For more information about the differences between Joint & Individual liability, please click here.
If you are an incoming-first-year undergraduate or postgraduate student, and therefore have not had the chance to establish friendships with other Royal Holloway students, but are looking for housemates and accommodation in the private sector, then you may want to ask about the Student Housemate Scheme. Please refer to the information on our website here or contact Student Accommodation for further details.