To share, or not to share?

Advice from our Student Advice Centre team.

Where to start?

If you're on a course that is more than a year, it is likely you will have to make a decision about your housing for subsequent years.  You may already be sharing with people but in most circumstances these will be with people you have not personally selected but who have been randomly allocated.  You might not have established firm friendships by the time others start thinking about accommodation.

Take your time to think about whether you really do want to share with other people or not. Some people prefer to live alone.  If you want to share, you might decide this will be the group you already live with but you might also decide you would prefer to live with different people you know from your course, societies, sports etc.

What to consider...

  • Your different personalities, likes, dislikes and tolerances.  If everyone in your group likes to stay up late and party but you don’t, then consider whether this is the wisest decision. Think about compatibility. This is a little more serious than just sharing with friends. You can visit friends; it doesn’t mean you should live with them. Disagreements could result in ruined friendships.
  • Friends of Friends – it can be difficult to say to a friend that you would prefer not to live with one of their other friends but it is important to be honest from the start. Try to get to know the other person, then if you don’t think it would be a good idea say.
  • Once you sign your contract you are bound by it and therefore give very careful consideration to who you might enter a joint tenancy with. You (and your guarantors) will probably be liable for other people’s rent if they don’t pay.
  • Living alone -  single accommodation is usually more expensive.  Some studios can be within blocks of accommodation so that you can have close proximity to other students and your own independent space.  Don’t feel bad for wanting to live alone just try to remain involved in activities so you don’t become isolated. 
  • Try not to get persuaded into something you are not sure about yet.  Do what is right for you.
  • How long have you known each other?  As you settle more into University life initial friendships don’t always stand the test of time.
  • Joint & several liability (See our Contracts section for information on this) Sometimes people want to share but don’t want the joint and several liability.  Consider looking for an individual room in a shared house.  You remain jointly and severally liable for the communal areas but not your room or other people’s rent.