Choosing who to live with
This content applies to Scotland only.
Housing laws vary between Scotland and England. Get advice relating to England
If you're leaving home for the first time, choosing who to live with can be as important as choosing where to live. Do you want to live on your own, in a house or flatshare, with friends, or with your girlfriend or boyfriend? Check out the pros and cons before you decide.
Bear in mind that finding someone to live with is only part of it. You should also check whose name the tenancy will be in, and what type of tenancy you'll have. These issues will have a big effect on your rights, especially if you fall out. Setting a few ground rules may save you having major arguments later on.
Living on your own
Living on your own offers you plenty of freedom and independence, but it can be lonely. Are you prepared to do everything for yourself, from cooking and cleaning to paying the bills, and to come home to an empty house?
It is generally accepted that living on your own can be a lot more expensive than living with other people. Council and housing association homes are usually more affordable, but you may have a long wait to get a place.
Moving in with friends
Moving in with friends can be a good solution, but you need to check out what the arrangements are. Your rights will be very different if you move into your mate's place as a lodger or subtenant, as opposed to having joint or separate tenancies in a shared house or flat. If the arrangement is only casual, you will have very limited rights if they want you to leave. If you are in this situation, get advice immediately. If you have nowhere else to stay, you may be entitled to help from the council.
Read the page on your rights if you share rented accommodation to find out more.
Sharing a flat or house
Sharing a flat or house is usually cheaper than living on your own, and can be great fun. However, you may find that even people you really like can get on your nerves when you're living together. Everyone will have to learn to compromise, to pay their own way and to do their share of the housework if you want things to work out.
Before moving into a shared flat or house, you might want to think about the following things:
- Do you want to live in a single sex flat, with all male or all female flatmates?
- Would you be prepared to live with a couple?
- Would you like to live in a smoking or non-smoking flat?
- Would you like to live in an all-vegetarian flat?
Strangers may eventually become your best mates, whilst people you've known for years may become strangers once you start living together. However, pull your weight and keep to your own space and you should avoid any major problems. The BBC webpage Tips on How to Live in a Shared Household has good advice for successful flatsharing.
Again, your rights will depend on what kind of tenancy you have - the page on your rights if you share rented accommodation explains more.
Moving in with your partner
Moving in with a partner can be great, but it can also put a strain on your relationship, especially if you haven't been together very long.
It's not always a good idea to move in together simply because it's convenient. You may enjoy staying over at their place for a few nights, but if you're there all the time, you could get sick of each other. Romance could soon dry up if you spend all your time nagging one another, so discuss it properly, agree some ground rules and make sure you're ready for it.
Many people assume that if they live together, they have the same rights as a married couple. However, this is not the case.