Your university years are a time of growth and change, and your housing situation is included in that.
While you might have assumed you’d be living with the same housemates in your second and third year, the chances are there will be unexpected alterations to your tenant list as time goes by.
In this article, we take a look at why you or another tenant might leave your houseshare, why a replacement housemate will need to be found, how to go about finding a new housemate, and what to do next.
Reasons a housemate might leave a house share
There can be many events that result in a replacement housemate being required for your student house share — whether you need to find a replacement because you are leaving or because someone else is leaving.
Common reasons include:
- Conflict within the house, which results in one or more housemates wanting to leave. Friction could be related to rent payments, bill payments, differences in personality, chores, regular unwelcome visitors, or myriad other reasons.
- You or another housemate being evicted from the house share.
- You or another housemate dropping out of university.
- You or another housemate moving to another university or changing courses and wishing to live closer to a particular campus.
- You or a housemate wishing to move in with someone else instead.
Now we’ve taken a look at some potential reasons behind the change in your household, let’s dive into why you will wish to replace the missing housemate.
Why you need to replace the housemate who left
You probably already knew who you would live with in the second year, long before it was time to wave goodbye to your halls of residence and view student house shares.
If so, it is probably the case that you’ve never had to actively find a housemate before. Unfortunately, finding a replacement housemate is something that requires a certain level of effort, as it’s doubtful that someone will turn up at your door one day asking if you have a room available!
Of course, the house share can continue with one less tenant, but, depending on the tenancy agreement you all signed, the missing person’s rent will undoubtedly still need to be paid — a situation many students understandably wish to avoid.
Regarding rent, you or the person leaving (if not you) should check their contract to see exactly what was signed regarding leaving early — you may be able to give ‘notice to quit’, but there will be terms and conditions surrounding this, so make sure to read it thoroughly.
If you are confused by your tenancy agreement and need some clarification on what happens when you or another tenant leaves your property, you can speak to your landlord or letting agency, Unipol, or your student union — all of whom will happily take a look at your contract and clarify the contents for you.
In many tenancy agreements, the person leaving is responsible for paying rent for a set amount of time or until a replacement tenant has been found.
How to find a new housemate
So, how do you go about finding the perfect student housemate? There are several options open to you, which we’ll explore in more detail below.
Word of mouth
Before you start the search for a stranger who might fit the bill, check that none of you or your housemates’ friends needs a room and tell all of them to ask their friends, too.
Consider friends from your course, friends from any clubs and societies you are a member of, and friends you made when you lived in halls.
Drop a message on all of your university group chats on WhatsApp and Signal, too.
Your landlord or letting agent
When students are looking for a room to rent in a house, they speak to local landlords and letting agents, so why not talk to yours and ask them to re-advertise the room in your property?
They might even have a waiting list of individuals looking for a room in your area. Problem solved!
Ask to meet the prospective tenant before them moving in, if possible, to make sure everyone is happy before you go ahead; this can prevent you from having to find yet another housemate further down the line.
The Unipol notice board
You can list the room on the Unipol notice board in a matter of minutes, advertising it to other students looking for available accommodation in your area.
SpareRoom is a website dedicated to matching housemates to available rooms; however, do bear in mind that it isn’t just for students, and so it might not be your best first port of call.
Organise a new contract
Once you have found a replacement tenant, the new tenant should contact your landlord or letting agency and arrange for a tenancy agreement to be drawn up for them.
Once the new tenant has started paying rent, the tenant who left will often be freed from having to pay it anymore — again; this is worth double-checking in the contract.