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Higher rents and fewer people buying have led to increasing numbers of people, not just students and couples, choosing to share the cost of rental accommodation.

From a landlord’s perspective this should be welcomed–two or more people become liable to look after the property and pay the rent,thereby halving the risk. A single tenant losing their job could present a problem–but this can effectively be underwritten by allowing/encouraging a shared tenancy.

Although similar to renting to a couple, there are advantages to renting to people who may not be romantically associated. For example, a failing relationship could trigger the end of a tenancy, but this could not happen with two or more single people. If one of them changed their plans, then it can be relatively simple to replace them with another co-tenant pleased to have found a more affordable alternative to renting alone.

We often prepare tenancy agreements that provide for each tenant to be responsible for paying their share of the rent until they can be replaced by another co-tenant. And should they fail to pay their share under a joint tenancy, then the remaining tenant would assume liability.This “peer pressure” can be an effective way of ensuring rent is paid reliably.

Sharing also increases the likelihood of renting faster. At a time when the market is not necessarily saturated with prospective tenants, by appealing to sharers as well as individuals, couples and families, landlords increase the pool of likely tenants. This can also have the effect of increasing the rent too, due to higher demand.

However, landlords should be careful not to rent to too many sharers at once and potentially triggering strict HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) regulatory requirements.