Apartment sharing: what are the rules to know before committing?

Apartment sharing is a common choice for students or young adults who want a moderate rent. It is nevertheless necessary to be well informed before committing.

What are the basic rules of apartment sharing?

In legal terms, flat sharing refers to a lease made by several people living in the same dwelling as their principal residence. The lease of a roommate can take two distinct forms: either it is a single lease signed by all roommates, or it is about several individual leases signed by each roommate independently. The living space is regulated by law: in the case of a common lease, the minimum surface area of ​​the dwelling must be 16 m² for two people, plus 9 m² per additional person: 25 m² for three, 34 m² for four, etc. In the case of an individualized lease, each roommate must have a private area of ​​at least 9 m², regardless of the common areas. Note that married couples when signing the rental contract are not considered as roommates. On the other hand, it is the case for the other couples who live together without officially getting married.

Clause of solidarity: pay attention to commitments!

Flat sharing contracts are distinguished from conventional ones because they very often include a "solidarity clause". This requires each roommate to pay any unpaid other roommates, whether rent or charges. Before committing to a roommate, consider making sure your roommates are creditworthy and in good faith. Most importantly, this clause makes each roommate liable for his or her share of rent and expenses, including after leaving the roommate, until another roommate replaces him/her. Another solution in case of departure and non replacement of a roommate is to renegotiate the joint lease with the owner, so as to find an adequate solution. Note that despite the existence of a solidarity clause, it is also requested in most cases that each roommate has a guarantor who can also be consulted in case of insolvency.

How to put an end to an apartment sharing?

Leaving a collocation can be a problem, particularly because of the solidarity clause. For this reason, the first thing you should do when you want to leave a roommate is to tell your roommates and, if they wish to continue the roommate in your absence, to look for someone to replace you. This will allow you to not be liable for your share of rent after you leave. On the formal level, your exit from the roommate must be done in the same way as a "classic" rental end: notify your landlord with 3 months notice in case of empty rental, 1 month in case of furnished rental.
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