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Sharing private rental space with others is something that needs to be done with eyes wide open. Knowing how your tenancy is organized is very important in regards to the tenancy agreement, rent payment and obligations, vacating and the desire for the other occupant to vacate. When living with a stranger, or even a friend, can have its ups and downs and may not work, in the end. Knowing your rights and obligations are especially important when considering living with another person, known to you or not.

The typical scenarios for tenancy arrangements are joint tenancy, sole tenancy and private tenancy while subletting to others. Joint tenancy consists of one tenancy agreement that is signed by each person. All property and its facilities are shared and no one has any exclusive possession, though there might be an unsigned agreement among the occupants regarding bedrooms and contributions towards rent. This may happen if one room is much bigger or more desirable and the occupants agree that more of the rent should be paid for that room.

Sole tenancy is when every person in the property has their own agreement of tenancy. This is often the case when the rooms are let individually rather than the entire flat or house. The sharing of what are called common rooms, such as the kitchen, is standard.

If one person signs the tenancy agreement and sublets the rooms separately, this is a private or sole tenancy of the entire property. A person may do this in order to have more control over the conditions of renting to and living with others. Rights and responsibilities will differ depending on whether you are in a joint, sole or private tenancy. Getting to know your rights and responsibilities is very important.

If you have a joint tenancy than you and the other tenants of the property have the exact same rights. All are jointly and individually responsible for the terms of the agreement. In a joint tenancy, one or all of you can be held responsible for the entire rent. This means that if one of your flatmates doesn´t pay their share of the rent, the rest of you in the property can be held responsible for paying their share.

In a joint tenancy, if someone wants to leave the premise, the landlord must be informed of any such changes. It´s worth knowing that if your agreement is on a month to month basis, a tenant can decide to give notice to leave and that would affect all tenants, due to that action ending the tenancy agreement for all involved. On the other hand, if you have a fixed term tenancy, notice given by one tenant will not end the agreement.

There is a lot more to learn about sharing accommodations and these are just a few examples of what you need to know before entering into any shared accommodation scenario or signing a tenancy agreement. Avoiding problems in the beginning by knowing your rights and obligations will make living in a shared accommodation that much better for you, and everyone involved.

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