Found a studio flat advertised for only £90 more a month bills and heating oil included, it’s in a rural location and not the middle of town. (I’d like to live in a town, i’ve lived in the middle of nowhere my whole life)
When I finished uni and came back to my home city I lived in an HMO (or a professional house-share/co-living) with total strangers, I was really apprehensive. Me & 6 other men sharing two bathrooms, sounded like my dream come true! (I say in jest)
I made lifelong friends, came across people of all ages and from all over the world. From stories of Eastern Europe before the wall fell, to northerners who put gravy on everything. We’d have board game nights, never cook at the same time and the shower was always free. Plus it’s a good spot to start saving some money up. All my bills were included for £400 pcm. There were occasional rows about the bins, but I think this is pretty much a universal argument of life. I lived there for 4 years, saw countless people come and go, but it really did feel like home towards the end! When I moved into my own place, I was actually sad to go.
If you’re not working, your local authority will work with shared housing providers (called exempt housing) - they’ll have an element of support to find you long-term housing but the quality of housing may not be great. But there are good ones out there! They may also work with private landlords for affordable 1-bedroom properties and have a furniture scheme, that’s a good place to start. If you’ve found somewhere you love online, and there’s a big deposit. Your local authority should also be able to help you with that, even if you’re not a ‘priority-need’.
My only tip on a shared house would be, always stick the kitchen space you’ve been allocated!
Funny enough I have never in my 18 years of house shares had a lock on bedroom doors. Never felt the need to and I wouldn’t like to live somewhere where that was required - as much as I understand why they exist.
If I worried the people I lived with were going into my room I wouldn’t live there for long.
On the house contract, I would strongly advise against signing a ‘joint and severally liable’ contract. It means if your housemates don’t pay the rent, the estate agent or landlord can hold you individually liable for it. They are supposed to be for situations where, say, two very good friends are moving in together but landlords are using them more and more for all types of shared houses. I know people who have gotten into very hot water over this.
The thing you ideally want is an assured short hold tenancy (AST) for a room in the property. It will say clearly if it’s an AST. Another form of contract are ‘license agreements’, these give you less protections but might be okay - in this case still make sure that your deposit is being held in an independent deposit scheme.
Overall make sure you read the contract and ask people for anything you don’t understand / aren’t sure about. Don’t just glance at it and put your name on it!
I’ve generally lived in house shares for most of my adult life.
Some of those have been ‘group of friends rent a house together’, some of them have been ‘rent a room direct from Landlord’.
I’m currently in a ‘Rent a single room direct from Landlord’ place and it’s not bad. Yes, there are times when I wish I had my own place, but never to the point of hating the place. Everyone generally keeps to themselves and we just chat when we’re in the kitchen cooking or something.
The rent includes all (main) bills - so electricity, gas, water, council tax is included (he’s just put the rent up because of the energy crisis but that was the first time in 4 years since I’d been living here).
During lockdown it was ok - yes you’re mainly in a room, but at least there’s other people in the house that you talk to, even if you’re not best friends.
My advice when looking at a house share - is the room you’re getting actually good enough for you to spend most of your time at home in there?
Don’t be bambozzled with a nice lounge or kitchen - the only place where you have complete control is your own room.
Is it big enough for you? Can you get everything you want in there?
Can you setup TV/Computer/Entertainment stuff there? Because it’ll be annoying if you want to relax and just veg out in front of the telly, for example, only to find one of your housemates has set themselves up in the lounge already and planning on playing on their PS5 all night.
I’ve lived in house shares for many years before getting a place with my girlfriend and they’ve been great. I mostly found them on www.spareroom.co.uk.
The best one was definitely where the landlord had the existing housemates show the potential newbie around.
When I was just viewing the house initially, it gave me a chance to ask the housemates questions that a landlord may have tried to dodge, and when I was the one of the existing housemates the landlord always gave us final say on whether the person we’d just shown around should be allowed to get the room.
I’ve had some great housemates, some alright, some I barely ever saw, and only 2 that I didn’t really gel with.
Overall I would recommend the experience especially if you are moving somewhere new as it can help with meeting new people.
My advice would to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of being the new one in th HMO getting all the chores dumped on, and don’t over volenteer to be the nice one for the first coupe of months until you work out the dynamics and identify if or who is the narccisst or bully who will take advantage of people being too nice.
Most people have good experiences so it will most likely be a good experience.
I hope that you’re feeling more settled and picking through the traumas of the past… I’m so very sorry to hear that you’ve been put through this.
In terms of renting with others, I’ve had great and not great. I’ve made lifelong friends with some, and had others who took the mickey and never cleaned, tidied, washed up, used the dryer all night, every night, resulting in £600 monthly bills (this was back in 2005!).
So, choose like-minded folk, maybe who work on a similar line of work to you, eg. If you’re working nights, then it’s easier to live with others who do the same.
I lived in a shared house with friends as a student, and it generally worked quite well.
Likewise, as an adult I spent a couple of years living in a HMO with strangers, though we all had en-suite bedrooms and there was a cleaner for the communal areas. This also worked pretty well, and I made good friends with some of them (though one or two others were kinda noisy and irritating).
Both options you suggest - shared living in a busy area, or studio in a rural area - sound like sensible, viable options. But… they’re quite different options, and I wonder if you would benefit from trying to figure out exactly what it is you want from a new home? Living alone in a rural area might feel quite lonely at times, although equally living in an urban house share can feel claustrophobic. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Whatever you choose, there will be ups and downs, and it won’t be forever. So good luck, go for it, nothing ventured, nothing gained, etc.
If it does turn into a bit of a disaster, you aren’t the first person to end up in that situation, and it’s not the end of the world. Sooner or later, you’ll find something that works for you.
With a bills included studio flat rent costing just £50 a month more in this area i’ve gone for a studio and will be moving in on wednesday.
I’m looking forwad to being away from couch surfing or my abusive parents.