Campus Life

Shared Student Accommodation : What Are The Precautions To Take?


You have to be ready to share your daily life with someone who is sometimes a complete stranger to you ; that requires then, among others, a certain tolerance and open-mindedness. Shared accommodations that work well are often those where there is a mixture of flexibility and tolerance, open-mindedness, organization (cleanliness of the accommodation, shopping, reception of friends/family, shared payment of bills), frankness (which avoids turning around problems and creating resentment) and respect for the other person.

A shared student accommodation is an accommodation system that has become very popular these last years. It allows you to save on rent and benefit from a larger apartment. Nevertheless, it is essential to take certain precautions before embarking on the adventure.

Shared accommodation, a lifestyle that offers many advantages

Shared accommodation has many advantages, especially paying much less a rent than in a traditional rent, while enjoying a larger apartment, more pleasant, and often better located. Apart from the rent, the additional bills are also shared (internet subscription, gas, electricity…). To live in a shared student accommodation, it’s best to choose people with a lifestyle similar to yours. It can be a family member or a good friend studying in the same city than you, but it can also be someone you don’t know at all. Websites now make it easy to find a roommate or a shared accommodation, based on your own criteria and needs. To avoid ending up with someone whose lifestyle is incompatible with yours, we advise you to take your time in your research, in order to discuss and get to know your potential future roommate(s).

Shared student accommodation : unique or individual lease ? 

In the case of a shared accommodation, the occupants can sign a unique lease or several individual leases. For a unique shared accommodation lease, the same contract is signed by all the roommates : it ensures that everyone has the same rights and duties. If the lease contains a solidarity clause, each roommate is responsible for the totality of the rent and charges due, as well as for rental damages. When a roommate wants to leave the shared accommodation, he gives the landlord notice, but this does not end the lease for the other roommates. For them, the rent remains the same. But a shared accommodation can also be established with several individual leases. In this case, each roommate is the sole signatory of his lease. The roommates have exclusive use of one of the rooms in the apartment and shared use of the « common rooms » (kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc.).

With an individual lease, the details of the future communal life must be carefully anticipated and stipulated in the lease (assigned rooms, use of common areas…).

Setting up rules of life : the key to avoiding conflicts in a shared accommodation : 

Living in a shared accommodation when you are a student is first of all a human experience. For this to go well and to avoid conflicts, it is indispensable to set up rules of life with all the occupants of the accommodation. This makes it possible to determine the rights and duties of each person, to share tasks or even to define access to common areas. The household is one of the areas where conflicts are most common in shared accommodation. That is why you have to set up precise rules. It might be wise to establish a table showing the distribution of tasks among the different roommates. The same applies to noise. Not everyone lives at the same speed… So if you organize a party with your friends, make sure to check with your roommates beforehand. It’s also indispensable to respect each person’s privacy and personal space. Even though it may seem obvious, you shouldn’t enter a roommate’s room without his or her consent.

Your roommate stopped paying his rent ? What to do ?

Your roommate stopped paying his rent ? If you signed a unique lease with a « solidarity clause », the landlord can require the other roommates to pay the « deadbeat roommate » part. To avoid this, you must act quickly as soon as you notice that your roommate is no longer paying his rent. First, it is recommended to start a discussion with him or her to find out the reasons why he or she is no longer paying his rent and try to find an amicable solution. But if the dialogue is impossible or your roommate can’t afford to pay the rent, you will have to take legal steps, starting with sending a formal notice by registered mail. You will also have to inform the landlord of the situation and the steps being taken. The formal notice will give your roommate a delay for the payment of the rent due. After this delay, you will have to take him or her to the local court and start a procedure to recover the rents due. 

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Latoya Adams

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