Your rights and responsibilities depend on whether you and your housemates hold the contract jointly under one agreement, or on an individual basis, where everyone signs separate contracts.
If You Have A Joint Tenancy:
Paying the rent
You're liable as a group to pay the rent in full. If one of you doesn't pay, everyone else will need to chip in to top it up.
You may pay a combined tenancy deposit to cover any damage or unpaid rent at the end of your tenancy. If you join an existing house share, you'll need to pay your deposit to the landlord, not to the tenant that's leaving.
If you or any of your housemates damage the property, everyone can be held responsible, which could affect your combined deposit.
If you want to leave the house share
For a fixed-term tenancy - a contract for 12 months, for example - everyone named in the agreement, including the landlord, must agree to end the tenancy, as this will end everyone's tenancy. If the contract has a break clause, you and your housemates will need to agree to use it.
At the end of the fixed term, you can give notice to leave and, unless your
contract says otherwise, you don't need permission from your housemates -but the tenancy will still end for everyone.
If another housemate wants to leave
If a housemate wants to leave, but you want to stay, you can ask the landlord if they'll let you stay if you find a replacement for your housemate. Otherwise, the housemate leaving will need to continue paying the rent, or you and your remaining housemates will need to cover the rent for them.
If you want a housemate to leave
If you have a problem with one of your housemates, you'll likely need to resolve the issue yourself, or through a third party, as your landlord may not wish to get involved.
If You Have a Sole Tenancy:
Paying the rent
You'll need to pay the rent outlined in your contract, as you are solely responsible for that amount. If your housemates don't pay their rent, you won't be held responsible.
You'll pay a security deposit directly to the landlord for your individual contract, meaning no need to split this payment between your housemates.
If someone wants to leave
If anyone wants to leave the flat or house, they'll need to get in touch with the landlord. Your contract won't be affected, but you may gain a new housemate that you don't know.
If you want another tenant to leave
If you can't resolve the issue with them directly, then you can raise the issue with your landlord who could decide to take action against the housemate. This wouldn't affect your tenancy as you have a sole agreement.
Paying Your Bills
Unless your bills are included in the contract, you or all of your housemates will need to pay your bills directly. If the bills are in your name and someone doesn't pay their share, you'll be liable. If all your names are on the bill and someone doesn't pay, you could all be chased to pay.
Other Things To Consider When Sharing A Rented Property
Keep the place tidy
Unless a cleaner is included in your tenancy agreement, you should consider setting out a cleaning rota, to make it fair for everyone.
Share the essentials to spread to cost among everyone
Banding together to buy the essentials for shared spaces will be a fairer way to ensure everyone chips in.
Keep your room secure
This is especially important if you don't know each other. Keeping your personal items in your room will help with the first tip as well.
Set up a group chat to discuss household matters
Establish the best way to share information amongst the group - but bear in mind that face-to-face chats are best for resolving any issues.
Respect your housemates' privacy
Make sure you knock before you enter a housemate's room, and never go in there when they aren't there, without their permission.
Keep noise to a minimum, especially if you have friends over
Let your housemates know if you plan to have any visitors and, if it's spur of the moment, you should still bear in mind that it's their home as
Consider a bill splitting app to help manage your payments
There are various payments outside rent in a house share - utility bills, council tax, TV licence, household essentials - and a bill splitting app, like
acasa, can help you keep track.