Living together with strangers may feel like a crazy concept in our uncertain times but a collection of people under one roof is showing its positives during the pandemic. In fact, The Times recently ran an article on the rise of solo renters who are moving into shared accommodation to beat loneliness.
Quite early in the Covid crisis, it was made clear that co-sharers would be able to form their own bubble, allowing the group dynamic to continue. Now, with tier restrictions until March 2021, house shares – and even living with a couple of flat mates – are favourable options as they deliver a ready-made social scene when restaurants, bars and pubs are closed.
There are other perks too. With the potential for a bumpy economic road ahead, renting a room or going halves on a two-bedroom flat is invariably cheaper than taking on an entire property. And in the case of many house shares, bills are usually included in the monthly fee, which allows people to budget more accurately.
Just for students?
Although the image of students may spring to mind, there are many smart house shares filled with professional workers – some with a laundry and cleaning service included. House builders are also reimagining house shares on a seismic scale, building developments with hundreds of units that share communal facilities, including office space, gyms, cinemas and even childcare facilities. Whether movers are freshly graduated and single, relocating to a new area where they don’t know a soul or are contracting, they are all drawn to a ready-made mini community.
Choice is set to increase
Property investment hasn’t gone off the boil in 2020 – on the contrary. Between July and August this year, mortgage lender Foundation saw a 46% increase in buy-to-let home loan applications by those with three buy-to-lets or less. Specifically, there was a 23% rise in applications made between August and September this year for the purchases of smaller or standard HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation – the formal name for house shares where three or more unrelated people live together).
Hints & tips for a happy shared household
Of course, when you’re learning to rub along with a group of unfamiliar people, you may end up rubbing each other up the wrong way. We’re sharing our professional advice so you can tread the path to a harmonious house share:-
- Set working from home boundaries: if everyone is switching to the home office, there will need to be some ground rules about who works from where, when and general behaviour. If there’s a spare bedroom or underutilised dining table, it could be turned into a communal office space. It’s probably beneficial, however, to agree to set ‘office hours’, with anyone working outside of these transferring to their room to keep a good work-life balance. Notifying people of really important video or voice calls is also wise.
- Acknowledge everybody’s idea of relaxing is different: while one person’s nirvana is an hour of pilates, another’s might be dancing around the kitchen to punk rock. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own style of downtime but it’s a good idea to establish some house rules, as well as factor in some no-obligation shared activities, like a quiz night or in-house ‘Come Dine With Me’ evening.
- Have a plan in place should anyone need to self isolate: in a house share, there will need to be a dedicated bathroom for anyone isolating to exclusively use and/or a meticulous cleaning schedule in place. The NHS’s official isolation page is an essential reference point for house share residents.
If you are interested in renting a property with a friend – or like the idea of a house share to live in or as a property investment – contact us today for advice and available properties.
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