Sharehousing

What is it?

Sharehousing is when you live in a house with other people. They can be people you know or you could move into a house with people you don’t know. Sharehousing in an excellent lower cost and social option for accommodation.

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply for sharehousing, though you need to be able to live with other people. If you and some friends want to live together, you will have to go through the whole process of finding a house, signing and agreement and so on. A lot of the information relevant to Private Rental applies here.

You can also apply to move into a house that is already established - that is people are already living there.

Rules ‘n’ Rights

Whichever way you do it, you need to know your place legally as a tenant. Some of the potential legal ‘roles’ in sharehousing include:

Co-tenancy

Co-tenancy is where all the people in the house have their name on the lease. Each co-tenant has the same legal rights and responsibilities. Therefore, you are all legally responsible for paying the rent and looking after your place. It also means that one co-tenant cannot evict another co-tenant.

Sub-tenant

A sub-tenant is a tenant who does not have their name on the tenancy agreement. They pay their rent to the head tenant rather than the landlord. As a sub-tenant you have the same rights and responsibilities as other tenants. The head tenant has the rights and responsibilities of a landlord.

Head Tenant

This is the person who signs a tenancy agreement and then sublets rooms in the house to one or more people. The head tenant’s name is the only name on the lease and they have the rights and responsibilities of a landlord in relation to their sub-tenants. For example, they are responsible for collecting the Bond and lodging it with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA), collecting rent for the sub-tenant(s) and getting the landlord to do repairs. They can also ask a sub-tenant to move out but must give the appropriate notice and follow the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Looking for a share house?

The following are some of the places you can look to find sharehouse accommodation;

  • Saturday’s paper
  • Real Estate agents
  • Notice boards – shopping centres etc
  • The Internet – for more Internet resources see the Links section

Want more information?

If you’ve never done it before, there is a lot to know about sharehousing. For more information, check out the Tenants’ Union site or download their “Renting a Home” (PDF) booklet.

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