what questions should I ask about house-sharing? Watch

Pastaferian
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I'm looking for advice on what questions to ask when considering a house-share with friends. Is there a mega-thread on this? I've got some high-level questions, but if anyone has a detailed list of questions that should be asked before signing a lease, I'd be grateful if you could share it, or post a link.

So far, I've got the following, but I think they need breaking down...
- location (neighbourhood, bus routes, distance from campus, noise, etc)
- can we afford it (rents, bills, etc)?
- is there enough storage space (bedrooms, kitchen/domestic, bikes)
- splitting the costs fairly
- avoiding friction (smoking, drugs, cleaning, noise, guests who outstay their welcome, etc)
- security
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Kvothe the Arcane
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Notice period for moving out?
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SlowlorisIncognito
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I think the first consideration is always going to be budget. Obviously, it is a good idea to have an idea of what you want in mind, but you need to know exactly what each person can afford for rent, and chose to look at houses that come within budget.

When looking around, you need to check which bills (if any) are covered by the rent. Usually, you will have responsibility for at least some of your bills, such as internet. Imo, the only way to go about splitting bills is a fair split between everyone, as anything else will just cause resentment. Ideally, you shouldn't have just one person responsible for all the bills, as they may get stressed being the one chasing everyone for money all the time. Try to avoid places with prepayment metres, as they tend to be more expensive.

Have you looked at any houses at all yet? If not, it may be a good idea to look at one or two so you don't get unrealistic expectations in your head. Where I live, most student houses have pretty small kitchens. There's no point holding out for an elusive big kitchen (although I agree they are much nicer) if none are available. I do think a realistic list of "must haves" is a good idea though.

Cleaning is definately a big one to discuss, too. If you haven't lived together before, it's a good idea to try and gauge people's levels of cleanliness before moving in together.

However, I wouldn't go into these discussions in an antagonistic way. Ultimately, when you move into the house, things like who can stay, and for how long, and smoking will be governed by your contract, and there is little you can do change it. You don't want to get people's backs up at this early stage. I think the best way to avoid friction in a house share is just trying to go with the flow a bit, and not insisting everyone lives to a really strict set of rules.
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Pastaferian
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(Original post by keromedic)
Notice period for moving out?
(Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
I think the first consideration is always going to be budget. Obviously, it is a good idea to have an idea of what you want in mind, but you need to know exactly what each person can afford for rent, and chose to look at houses that come within budget.

When looking around, you need to check which bills (if any) are covered by the rent. Usually, you will have responsibility for at least some of your bills, such as internet. Imo, the only way to go about splitting bills is a fair split between everyone, as anything else will just cause resentment. Ideally, you shouldn't have just one person responsible for all the bills, as they may get stressed being the one chasing everyone for money all the time. Try to avoid places with prepayment metres, as they tend to be more expensive.

Have you looked at any houses at all yet? If not, it may be a good idea to look at one or two so you don't get unrealistic expectations in your head. Where I live, most student houses have pretty small kitchens. There's no point holding out for an elusive big kitchen (although I agree they are much nicer) if none are available. I do think a realistic list of "must haves" is a good idea though.

Cleaning is definately a big one to discuss, too. If you haven't lived together before, it's a good idea to try and gauge people's levels of cleanliness before moving in together.

However, I wouldn't go into these discussions in an antagonistic way. Ultimately, when you move into the house, things like who can stay, and for how long, and smoking will be governed by your contract, and there is little you can do change it. You don't want to get people's backs up at this early stage. I think the best way to avoid friction in a house share is just trying to go with the flow a bit, and not insisting everyone lives to a really strict set of rules.
Thanks for the replies guys - very helpful
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Origami Bullets
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When looking around, make sure that you look at the state of the property. I've viewed some with damp and rat problems that I spotted but my housemates didn't.

Ask lots of questions of the estate agent / landlord - everything from how much does it cost in bills to how much notice do you give before visiting (if they say anything less than 24 hours then walk away - it's a legal requirement, and if they're willing to break that what else are they willing to break - gas safety certificates?). Watch out for signs of someone getting defensive - decent landlords will recognise that you just want to get these things right, and answer your questions calmly.

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Pastaferian
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)
When looking around, make sure that you look at the state of the property. I've viewed some with damp and rat problems that I spotted but my housemates didn't.

Ask lots of questions of the estate agent / landlord - everything from how much does it cost in bills to how much notice do you give before visiting (if they say anything less than 24 hours then walk away - it's a legal requirement, and if they're willing to break that what else are they willing to break - gas safety certificates?). Watch out for signs of someone getting defensive - decent landlords will recognise that you just want to get these things right, and answer your questions calmly.
Thanks, and yes, you're right. My focus is on houses whose landlords or agents are approved by the university, so some of that should be cover by whatever checks they make. But I'll double-check anyway - can't be too careful
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Origami Bullets
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(Original post by Pastaferian)
Thanks, and yes, you're right. My focus is on houses whose landlords or agents are approved by the university, so some of that should be cover by whatever checks they make. But I'll double-check anyway - can't be too careful
Some slum landlords can and do slip through the net, so as always, caveat emptor applies.
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rmhumphries
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It might be wise to decide in advance how you will deal with different sized rooms in the property, for instance if one of the rooms is particularly bigger / smaller than the others, will you:
- Pick lots to see who gets the bigger/smaller room
- Allow the person who gets that room to pay more/less rent
- Change rooms every <n> months (not recommended).
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Clementine101
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(Original post by rmhumphries)
It might be wise to decide in advance how you will deal with different sized rooms in the property, for instance if one of the rooms is particularly bigger / smaller than the others, will you:
- Pick lots to see who gets the bigger/smaller room
- Allow the person who gets that room to pay more/less rent
- Change rooms every <n> months (not recommended).
In my house we pay rent by the rooms and everything except food and cleaning products are included with the rent. My room is the largest and I pay $130 a week and the smallest room is $100 a week, there are four bedrooms. I think this is fair.

Don't sign a lease without looking around the property first. You don't know what could be wrong with it.
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