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Problems with housemates

Common problems in a shared house include:

  • having guests

  • household chores

  • paying rent or bills

  • antisocial behaviour and noise

Your options depend on how serious the problem is and the type of tenancy you have.

Call the police on 999 if you are in immediate danger from someone you live with.

You can report violence or racial or sexual harassment to the police.

You can ask the council to find you somewhere else to live if you are unsafe in your home.

Talk to your housemates

Speak to your housemates about the issue before you do anything else. Try to do this before the problem becomes more serious.

Set up a discussion where each person can share their point of view. Try to reach a compromise that everyone can stick to. For example, you could agree on some house rules or a rota for chores.

You could ask someone to help you negotiate. For example, a mutual friend.

If you're a student

Talk to your university's student support service about the problem. They can give you advice on the best course of action.

You may have an accommodation mentor or adviser who can help to resolve the issue. Some universities offer mediation services to help you come to an agreement.

You can raise a formal complaint with the university if the problem is very serious.

Speak to your landlord

You can tell your landlord about the problem if talking to your housemate does not help. But your landlord is unlikely to get involved unless someone has broken the terms of their contract.

It’s up to the landlord to decide what action to take. They could:

  • talk to your housemate to try and resolve the issue

  • evict your housemate if they are breaking the terms of their tenancy agreement

Problems with guests

You have the right to have overnight guests in your home if you're an assured shorthold tenant. It's probably an unfair term if your tenancy agreement says overnight guests are not allowed.

Your housemates cannot:

  • stop you from inviting guests to your home

  • stop someone you've invited from staying overnight

But it can cause problems if someone is regularly staying in the property without the consent of other housemates. It can help if you:

  • keep noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing other people

  • let your housemates know in advance if you're having someone round

  • agree some rules about how often people can visit, what time they can arrive and when you can use shared areas

You're responsible for the behaviour of your guests. Your landlord could try to evict you if a guest breaks the terms of your tenancy agreement. For example, if they damage the property or break the law.

If a housemate is not paying rent

If you have an individual tenancy, you're only responsible for your own share of the rent. Your landlord cannot ask you for money if a housemate does not pay their share.

In a joint tenancy, you are all equally responsible for any unpaid rent if one person does not pay their share. The landlord could take action to evict all of you and get the money back from any of you.

You might have to cover your housemate’s share of the rent and then try to get it back from them. Everyone's tenancy could be at risk if the full rent is not paid.

If a housemate is not paying their share of bills

Check who is named on your utility bills. This may be all the tenants or just the person who set up the contract.

Anyone named on the bill is responsible for the full amount, even if you agreed to split the cost. If your name is on the bill and a housemate does not pay their share, the utility provider can ask you to pay the whole amount. This can happen even if you've moved out.

It's best to make sure all tenants are named on utility bills.

If someone wants you to leave

Your housemates cannot force you to leave the property if you have an assured shorthold tenancy.

If you have a joint tenancy, read our guide.

You have fewer rights if you are a lodger. For example, if you pay rent to another housemate but you do not have a tenancy agreement. They only need to give you a reasonable amount of notice to leave and do not need to go to court to evict you.

Contact your council if you're a lodger and you're facing eviction.

If your landlord wants to evict someone

If everyone has a separate tenancy for their room, the landlord can evict someone else without it affecting your tenancy.

If you have a joint tenancy

Your landlord cannot evict one joint tenant without ending the tenancy for everyone. This could put all of you at risk of eviction.

You can ask the landlord to set up a new tenancy agreement for the remaining housemates if you want to stay in the property. It's up to the landlord to decide if they agree.

If you decide to move out

You may want to leave if you cannot resolve the problem.

Make sure you end your tenancy properly. Otherwise you’ll still be responsible for paying rent, even if you’ve moved out.

You might be able to negotiate with your landlord to end your tenancy early if you both agree.

If you have a joint tenancy

Read our guide to find out how to end a joint tenancy properly.

If a replacement tenant is moving in, make sure they sign a new agreement with the tenants who are staying.

Last updated: 29 September 2022

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