Added Challenges

All of the range of reasons and desires that lead a person to want to share a home with others apply equally to those who own a home and want to share their home with others, but there are also some added challenges.

Food For Thought

As the stats on the Stats, Links & Books page show, affordable housing, and increased low incomes are at a critical level. Financial necessity will be the most prevalent motivation for the majority as they choose to share homes with others. They say necessity is the mother of invention but, in this case, it will be what finally makes the sharing of homes a mainstream, everyday housing option.

Many books focus on the homeowner and home sharer as very separate entities and, although there is a separation by definition, there are many similarities.   A home share experience is primarily about the people involved, not about the building they live in. 

You will succeed or fail at sharing a home by applying the same rules and steps as if you were a home-sharer only.  

Which means you must wear two hats: the “landlord” hat and “the equal home share participant” hat.

The Landlord Hat

You may or may not have been a landlord previously but in this situation, you are bringing others into your home, where you have probably been the ruler and decider for as long as you have owned that home.  You likely own all of the things in that home.  If there is a yard, the designing and the planting may have been chosen by you. You have an emotional attachment to your home and how you live in that home. You will need to change some of your ways of living if you are going to succeed at Co-living.

As a homeowner, you need to go through some steps so that you can decide what you are providing as a landlord.

  1. Know your own motivation, so start with why you want to share your home and from there list all the benefits that sharing your home will provide you.

  2. Walk through each room of your house and make a list of all of the things you are not willing to risk sharing with others at this beginning stage. This includes everything from furniture to pots and pans and glassware. This is a landlord decision. It is not a negotiated decision.  Think carefully.  What are things you would be distraught over if they broke or were damaged?  These may need to be put away until there comes a time you are willing to share the use of those items (if indeed you are).

  3. Walk through each room of the house and decide if there are any areas that you are NOT willing to share. Are you willing to share storage space and, if so, how will you divide that storage space? This is a landlord decision, not a group decision.

  4. Decide if you are going to provide any furniture for the private spaces or if shared housers are to provide their own.

  5. Once you have gone through this process, you will be able to write a description of what you are offering for rent. This is your job as a landlord.  You will be able to use this description to fill in a rental contract that the shared housing group will be agreeing to.

  6. As a landlord, you need to decide if the utility bills, i.e. water, power, garbage, and gas are included in the rent or are to be shared and paid by the group.  If they are included in the rent, they will need to be part of your landlord rental contract.  If they are to be shared and paid by the group, then they become part of the Shared Home Agreement.  

  7. The basics of this written description will also form part of your Profile so other potential home sharers will know what you are offering to share and rent.

  8. To determine what you will charge for rent, you can research what a house comparable to yours in size, age, and neighborhood would rent for.  If you are not sharing your garage, for example, then you would compare prices of homes that did not include a garage. If you were not sharing the basement, you would compare prices of homes that were only renting out the main floor. This gives you a ballpark figure, which you can now divide by the number of individuals that will share your home and have a private room in the house (including yourself). For example, if a 3-bedroom house comparable to yours in all aspects is renting for $1800.00 per month, and you are going to share with 2 others, you would divide $1800.00 by 3, and each person would pay $600 per month (plus utilities if not included).  If one private space is much larger or preferred in some way, then that room could be offered at a slightly higher amount while the other could be offered for slightly less.

  9. IMPORTANT:  You will need to update your insurance to include having others in your home and they will need to have their own renter policies.

The Shared Housing Hat

Remember, when you are sitting down to write your Shared Home Agreement, you are now wearing the hat of a person wanting to live collectively with others in a shared home. You are no more than an equal part of the home share group and any references to owning the home at this point are misplaced, as is any attempt by others to negotiate more from the rental agreement. What you are offering for rent is a completely separate entity from the Home Share Agreement you will write with others.