Types of shared accommodation
The most common type of share where a flat or house is rented by a group of sharers under a joint tenancy agreement (AST). Every tenant in the share is responsible for paying the rent and sticking to the terms of the contract.
It gets tricky when one of you wants to leave before the tenancy is up in a joint tenancy their notice technically ends the tenancy for everyone, so youre not guaranteed a replacement contract and flatmate. But fear not most landlords are generally okay to let you find a replacement and sign a new contract. Its down to you to decide who wants to be part of the flatmate-hunting process to find a replacement.
Renting a room from a landlord
Renting a room from your landlord? Youll have a separate agreement with them, which is great as youre not responsible for any other tenants in the property. The only drawback is that its probably your landlord who gets to choose new tenants if one of you moves out, and they might not involve existing flatmates in the search if they want to fill the room quickly.
Renting a room from a live-in landlord
This is basically what it says on the tin: your landlord (and possibly their family) lives in the property with you, so youre a lodger. Your house might be a better standard if its your landlords home lets face it, if the boiler breaks theyll want it fixed just as quickly as you do and rent can often be cheaper too. But the drawback is they might be around a lot so relaxing could be hard.
If you rent a property as part of an AST with other tenants, then let your room out to someone who pays rent to you, youre subletting.
This generally isnt allowed, but some landlords might agree to it with good enough reason. Its a pretty risky setup as youll be losing your rights and putting yourself at risk if your replacement doesnt pay you rent.
If in doubt, The Citizens Advice Bureau can give free advice.