Our introduction to flatshares - tips & advice

Find out if flat-sharing is for you with our introduction to flatshares - our tips and advice on what to expect.

An introduction to flatshares

Shared accommodation has been around for years. Whether the image that springs to mind is Rising Damp, Men Behaving Badly or The Young Ones, we all have a pre-conceived idea of what living in a flatshare is like. Flatsharing is changing though, and it might just be time to throw away these preconceptions and get some new ones.

Who lives in flatshares, isn’t it just students?

No is the simple answer to that one. The split between professionals and students on SpareRoom.co.uk is roughly 70%-30% and the average age is 32. Surprised? A lot of people are. Even though house prices have fallen recently they’re often still way above the reach of first time buyers. In May the BBC reported the average UK house price as £224,064. With the average salary somewhere around the £25, 000 mark this means that the typical UK couple on average salaries still need a mortgage with a multiplier of 4.5 to buy a house. Not difficult to see why many people share is it? Of 1,000 people surveyed on SpareRoom over 60% said they share because it’s cheaper than renting or buying on their own.

The new Rigsbys

Even those who are on the property ladder aren’t immune to Flatsharing. Many young professionals rent out a spare room to a lodger to help pay the bills. Not only does this bring in much needed cash, the first £4,250 is completely tax free under the government’s Rent a Room Scheme (http://www.spareroom.co.uk/content/info-landlords/rent-a-room-scheme/). You can download a free guide to taking in a lodger from http://www.spareroom.co.uk/lodger

Monday to Friday lets

Another way homeowners are making a bit of extra cash without losing all their privacy is fractional letting. In basic terms this means renting your spare room to someone who commutes a long way for work, stays during the week and goes home for weekends. The benefit to the lodger is that they get somewhere near work (often for less than it would cost to commute every day) and don’t spend all week travelling. The landlord gets the financial benefit of a lodger with the added bonus of weekends off (and a high probability that their lodger won’t be bringing a whole load of stuff with them). London is particularly popular for this type of let, especially if the property is near a mainline rail station, airport or major employment centre (e.g. a large hospital).

So is Flatsharing for me?

If you’re on a budget, prefer not to live alone, or just want to live in a better area or property than you could afford on your own, then Flatsharing may well be for you. There are plenty of different options, from living in a big, lively house to sharing a quiet flat with just one other person. Flatshares today tend to be more like Friends than The Young Ones so maybe it’s time to hang up those preconceptions and dive in.

For more on living in shared accommodation check out The Essential Guide to Flatsharing, co-written by SpareRoom’s founder Rupert Hunt (http://www.spareroom.co.uk/essentialguide)