What should friends consider before renting a property together?

By Maria Milillo, Business Support Manager, Property Management, Raine & Horne
JANUARY 10, 2020

If you’re considering moving into a rental property with friends, there are tried and true rules of engagement to ensure you’re still best buddies at lease end.

A vexingly detailed Sheldon Cooper styled roommate agreement with many indecipherable clauses, and subsections isn’t necessary. However, before you start looking for a joint rental home, it’s probably smart business to agree to a few ground rules to avoid a big bang to your friendship.

Typically, all friends should sign up to the lease agreement. An all-in approach makes all roommates responsible for the lease and the payment of the regular rent. You must also agree on the payment of the rent – one sensible strategy involves each roommate paying his or her share of the rent directly to the property manager. This approach makes it easier to identify slow or no-payers too. That said, in most cases, your property manager will chase up all roommates to ensure the outstanding lease payment is covered regardless of the rental laggard’s identity. By paying individually, no single flatmate is responsible for chasing up the rent or is left short financially.

Also, it would help if you determined as a collective the right frequency for rental payments. One housemate might receive a weekly wage, while another roomie gets his or her salary fortnightly or monthly. Likewise, it would be best if you determined how to cover utilities such as gas, electricity, phone and internet. An even split between roomies might appear the logical solution to the payment of utilities. However, if one housemate travels regularly for work, there might need to be bill adjustments for electricity and internet. Likewise, if another flatmate works from home for large slabs of the week, it seems only fair they might cover a more significant portion of the utility bills. 

Keeping a rental property clean is the responsibility of tenants and is stipulated in the tenancy agreement with the landlord. Nothing tears rental households apart faster than arguments about cleaning. Before you move out with buddies, be sure to agree to a schedule, which ensures every flatmate does his or her share of the cleaning and tidying – and the cooking for that matter.

Rules about guests and partners staying over is a must, and at what point the household extras must start to pay rent. Also, if a partner joins the household permanently, this tenancy change must be communicated to your property manager.

Furthermore, there should be rules established early about how a flatmate can leave the tenancy, especially if his or her name is on the lease. A roomie breaking lease early is one of the more regular reasons for the breakup of friendships. You need to agree on a period the outgoing tenant continues to pay rent until a new roomie decides to join the tenancy. 

For more tips on leasing a property with friends or to find a suitable rental property, contact your Raine & Horne property manager.