House sharing is different from assured tenancy. In the latter, the entire property is rented out to the tenant and the landlord lives somewhere else. But the person who shares the house with the landlord in house-sharing agreements does not have as many rights as an independent tenant who enjoys the entire property alone. The independent tenant is covered by tenancy laws and has many fundamental rights while the house-sharing arrangement is not circumscribed by any statutory framework.
This gives landlords much more freedom in drafting house-sharing contracts and set their own rules. A house-sharing tenant has only a license to share the landlord's property and there is no fixed term for the arrangement. The sharer has no residency rights except those authorized by the landlord and the former can stay at the property only at the latter's pleasure.
The house-sharing arrangement can be terminated easily by either side since the agreement does not have as much authority as in the case of an Assured Tenancy or even an Assured Short-hold Tenancy. House-sharing rooms are let on a fully-furnished basis and the rent is usually paid weekly. Though the agreement with a sharer can be oral too, it is always better to get a written contract signed just in case things do not work out as you had hoped. The UK government gives many tax benefits on rental income derived from lodgers and house-sharing arrangements. This is a good way to earn some money on the side to pay for mortgage or meet other expenses.
However, since the house-sharing tenant will be staying right inside your house, you should be very careful about who you let in. Do not forget to ask the sharer to provide some references. House-sharing arrangements are quite popular with students near university areas and temporary employees who have shifted from other areas. Contents of a House Sharing Agreement A house-sharing agreement should cover the following areas: 1. What is the rent payable and what is the frequency? 2.
How is the rent to be paid ? by cash, cheque or standing order? 3. How much is the deposit required, if any? 4. When can the rent be reviewed and increased? 5. What is the duration of the tenancy? 6.
What is the notice period required from either side to vacate and terminate the arrangement? (This notice period is usually a month.) 7. What are the common facilities in the house that the sharer can use, like bathroom, kitchen, sitting area or balcony? 8. Does the rent include other facilities like laundry, food and tea? 9. Obligation of the landlord to keep the property in a well and proper shape. 10.
Tenant's obligation to keep the rented portion of the property in a well and proper shape. 11. Is the tenant allowed to keep a pet or invite friends home for stay overnight? 12.
How much interest would be charged if the rent is paid late? 13. Obligation of tenant to pay utility bills in proportion to usage. 14. Obligation of the tenant not to use the property for any commercial activity. 15.
Obligation of the landlord to insure the property. 16. Obligation of the tenant not to create a nuisance or annoyance to others. 17. Obligation of tenant not to alter or modify the property.
18. Obligation of the tenant not to cook anywhere except the kitchen. It is customary for the landlord and sharer to make an inventory of furniture, fixtures and fittings in the area that is going to be occupied by the latter. When the sharer moves out, the owner's possessions are cross-checked against the inventory to identify anything missing or damaged. Online House Sharing Agreements Housing sharing agreements services are available online from many companies. For them to prepare an agreement and send it to you, the following details will have to be provided on a form available at the website: 1.
The full name and address of the landlord, sharer and guarantor (if any). 2. Address of the premises that is to be let. 3.
The rent and deposit amounts. 4. Dates from when the rental period begins and ends. (In many agreements, there is no fixed end date.) You are also provided detailed terms and conditions that you can pick and choose for inclusion in the contract. After you have filled up the form, you can pay online and print the form directly at your home computer or, if you wish, get it delivered to your home by post in a day or two.
Online house-sharing agreement companies are a good option for instant purchase of a professionally-drafted contract. A service that is available to you in the comfort of your home without the trouble of consulting a solicitor whose charges would be far higher than those of online services.
James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. To download a legally binding House Share Agreement, see http://www.houseshare-agreement.co.uk