With the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that rents have risen since the start of the year – British tenants are paying 2.7 per cent more than they were a year ago – it’s no wonder that people are taking in flatmates in order to meet their monthly rent.
Embarking on a flat share can be a good way of keeping costs low, as you’ll be splitting the cost of your rent as well as your household bills with those that you live with. Cooking meals together and buying in bulk can help keep your budget healthy as well.
The easiest flatmate options are your family or friends, but if you don’t have this option available to you, we’ll take you through what to look out for when searching for the ideal flatmate.
1) Posting your ad
There are a number of ways you can tell people you’re looking for a flatmate – it just depends on what you’re looking for. If you’d rather have a flatmate that you know (or that someone can vouch for) you could ask around your friends to see if they’re interested, or know someone that is.
If this brings you no luck, then it may be worth broadening your search. You could see if there are any Facebook groups for people looking to rent in your area or post an ad on one of the following sites: Spareroom, RoomBuddies or HousePals (most will allow you to post for free, but you may need to upgrade if you want to find a flatmate quickly).
If you’d rather meet potential flatmates face-to-face then you could take yourself down to a ‘speed flatmating’ event – yes, it’s exactly as it sounds, ‘speed dating’ for flatmates. Spareroom organise these events and although they first started in London, they now take place all over the UK.
2) Writing your ad
Depending on the direction you decide to take your hunt, you may need to write an ad to get people’s attention. When doing this make sure that you take the following into consideration:
• Be truthful in your ad – tell people what you’re really looking for in a flatmate rather than what you think will get the most responses. You may get fewer, but at least they’ll be from people who you might actually get along with.
• Make the rent clear and outline what bills are included in this.
• Detail specifics about the property and include high quality photos if you can.
• Potential housemates will not only be interested in the property but it’s location as well, so give clear details on any transport links or parking facilities in your area. If you live in a particularly lively area (or somewhere remote) be sure to mention this as well.
3) Meeting potential flatmates
Once you receive a response from someone you like the sound of, you need to arrange a meeting with your potential flatmate. It’s probably best to do this in a neutral setting (like a local pub or café) first so that you can get to know each other a little better. Don’t think of this as a job interview, but do try to come up with a few questions to ask them. For example: Do you drink? Do you have any pets? Do you work late nights or early mornings?
Having a chat will help you see if you have anything in common and whether you’d be able to get along with them in a shared living environment. If things are going well, you could then meet again to show them around the property. When doing this it would be worth having someone you know there with you, or you could ask your landlord or letting agent to come along instead.
If you think they tick all of the boxes then you can go ahead and make all of the appropriate arrangements – just make sure you’re 100% before you get them to sign on the dotted line.