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What is a House Share?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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A house share is a rental house or apartment shared by a group of unrelated individuals who live together, usually with the goal of cutting costs. House shares may organize around a common theme, like preferring gay housemates or providing a supportive environment to recovering addicts, or they may include a mixture of people with no special criteria for membership in the share. There are a number of ways to run a house share, and they are a common housing method, especially in urban areas around the world.

In some house shares, every member of the household is on the lease or rental agreement, while in others, one or two people act as the head of household, keeping their names on the lease while leaving others off. People split rent in a variety of ways, ranging from a simple equal division to rents based on room size, and also share costs for utilities like water, garbage, electricity, Internet, and so forth. The members of the household work out agreements for chores, kitchen time, and other activities.

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Members of a house share may interact and socialize together; in some houses, people cook meals together, attend events, and engage in other activities as a group, including all or some of the members of the house. In others, people tend to keep to themselves. The house share may schedule bathroom and kitchen time to avoid conflicts between members of the household, parceling out chores in a rotating schedule to make sure the house is kept clean.

Sometimes, the owner is present and rents out rooms in the house to cut costs, or people own a house cooperatively and share in the expenses. Most commonly, no one has a financial interest in the house and a third party owns it. The primary advantage to a house share is the cost efficiency, as it is usually cheaper to rent a shared house than it is to rent a standalone home or apartment. Some people also enjoy the companionship and support.

House share listings can be found in local newspapers and online classifieds. Bulletin boards at locations like grocery stores, colleges, and libraries can also be a resource. Whether people are looking for new housemates or seeking a shared home to live in, it is advisable to take some basic steps to protect security. This includes never looking at homes alone, making sure at least two residents of a house are available when interviewing new roommates, and asking for references to get more information about prospective housemates.

People seeking a house share may want to ask questions about average monthly utilities, how bills are handled, and how the household deals with chores as well as disputes between residents. It is also a good idea to ask about pets and any special situations, such as restrictions on activities like parties or having guests.

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