Inevitably, at some point, you’ll want to move on. Either you’ll somehow find the dosh to buy a place, or meet the love of your life and want to give cohabiting ago. Or you may just decide that the situation isn’t working out, and opt to make alternative arrangements. While that’s all great for you, don’t forget, you’re now throwing the other party’s domestic arrangements into turmoil So treat the situation with the seriousness it deserves.
Sit them down and explain what you are going to do, and give them a reasonable amount of time to replace you (yes, I know no one is going to be as wonderful a flatmate as you’ve been but hey, they’re going to have to try). A minimum of a month’s notice will suffice, particularly if the relationship between you has broken down and neither of you can bear the sight of each other, but ideally, two months is better if you can afford to do so. Or, if you did draw up paperwork in the form of a Lodger Agreement, check the notice period and go from there.
If you are on a Joint Tenancy Agreement, check to find out when the break clause is (a specific date that’s been agreed when you can serve notice to vacate the property), so you’re not in breach of your lease. If you want to move out before the break clause, speak to the landlord or letting agency and ask if you can amend the agreement once your flatmate has found a new house-buddy. Chances are, if you’re happy to pay the fee involved (normally about L100 to change an agreement) and the new party checks out with references etc., you won’t have a problem. But do ask the appropriate questions.
Remember to inform your utility companies that you’re moving on if any accounts are in joint names (don’t forget your Council Tax either). Make sure you’re up to date with your share of the bills too, particularly if you are not parting on amicable terms. No matter how unpleasant the situation is, leaving loose ends about finances will somehow come back to haunt you in the long run. It may even negatively impact your credit score,
which isn’t what you want, so as boring and potentially aggravation as it is, get it sorted and make a clean break.
For many, flat or house sharing is an effective solution to a short or mid-term problem. If you’re a lodger, it means you can afford to live in a much nicer property than you would be able to on your own. If you’re a landlord, it makes that monthly mortgage payment a bit easier to manage.
I’ve made some very good friends from sharing in my earlier days, and if you get it right, hopefully you will too. I saved a fortune on rent when I was starting out on the career ladder in London, and lived in some great places with some lovely people who ended up as close friends that I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Apart from the odd glitch, at the time it was the best thing I could have done.
Just don’t use up the last of the loo roll without replacing it, OK?