September 1, 2016

UK Relocation Services: Shared Living

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UK Relocation Services: Shared Living

Posted by: Sarah Coles, Director of Client Services, UK

Due to the high cost of renting in UK cities, especially London, shared living is becoming a more widely used and cost effective solution for some individuals on domestic or international assignments. However, there are many aspects to take into consideration to ensure this option is successful. Here, we look at what is involved, and include our ‘top tips’ for shared living.

Types of Shared Accommodation

  • Fixed Term Tenancy. The most common form of flat or house share, where each tenant has their own bedroom, but shares communal areas (bathroom, kitchen, reception rooms). Any tenant who wishes to leave is usually responsible for finding a replacement tenant.
  • Owner/Occupier Landlord. Another common scenario is an owner/occupier landlord looking to rent a room in their home. The agreement between both parties would be a non-housing act tenancy or a license agreement.
  • Room Basis. Some letting agents in Central London offer tenancies on a room basis (normally including an ensuite bathroom). Typically geared towards young professionals, such lease types are limited, so we recommend that assignees act quickly if they do find a property of this type that they like.
  • House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). Larger properties, with three or more people sharing. Landlords have additional legal responsibilities depending on the property’s location and local authority, e.g., a license may be required if the property is three or more storeys high and has five or more unrelated occupiers.

Shared Living Requirements

Most landlords and agents carry out reference checks on prospective tenants, which includes a salary review. Typically, rent should equate to one third of the applicant’s salary or they fail the reference check. The inability to rent alone and the monetary challenges in the residential sales market means that, for many, sharing a flat may be the only option.

Why Are So Many Tenants in Shared Accommodation?

For many years, it has been the norm for young people to leave college or university and move into a flat share as they save for a deposit to buy a home. Of course, this short-term solution can quickly become a long-term reality, as some tenants find it difficult to save the necessary large mortgage deposits. This has led to an aging tenant population. A study found that those in flat shares who are 30 years old and over have increased by more than 2,000 in the past six months, now reaching over 14,000 in total ( And as many as one in eight of those in the UK living in shared accommodation are in their 40s (

Top Tips for Shared Living

  • When viewing a property, don’t miss the chance to sit down and have a chat with the people you could potentially be living with!
  • Not everyone advertising a property is legitimate, so ensure no money changes hands before the property is viewed and the paperwork has been provided and reviewed.
  • If the property doesn’t come with a cleaner, consider employing one and splitting the costs with house mates. A dirty home can often be the topic of heated debates.
  • If a bedroom doesn’t include its own lock and key, we recommend making a request to the landlord/agent. This ensures personal belongings can be left securely.   

Cartus’ in-house destination services team in London has a wealth of local knowledge and experience, allowing us to source suitable neighbourhoods and properties. Once the right house/flat share is found, we then review the tenancy agreement and provide settling-in support. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at For more top tips and best practices for those on global relocation, view our Resource Page.

Picture of Sarah Coles

Posted By

Sarah Coles

About Sarah

Sarah is responsible for delivering destination services for clients within the UK and throughout EMEA. Joining Cartus in 2010, Sarah has over 18 years’ experience in both the private residential property market and corporate arena.
Title: Director of Client Services, UK

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