Monday, November 09, 2009

Book review - The Essential Guide to Flatsharing by Rupert Hunt and Matt Hutchinson

This book is written by the owners of the popular flatsharing web-site. It is addressed to 'sharers,lodgers, and everyone renting out a room', and is very much a companion book to their web site service. As the authors have been working in the field for such a long time (their London flatsharing site, having launched in 1999), they clearly know what they are talking about.

If you are looking to flat share or rent a room, particularly if you are looking for a place in London, this is an excellent book. It provides all (or nearly all) the information you need to have, in an accessible manner. There are also insets giving the personal experience of landlords and tenants, as well as the authors.

Helpful chapters include:

  • Basic information
  • Finding a flatshare
  • A special chapter devoted to lodgers
  • A chapter setting out the terminology (which will be particularly helpful for those from outside the UK)
  • A chapter on financial matters
  • And a chapter on contracts, rights and agreements
The book ends with a special section on London, and some useful resources and links (although they could have included Landlord Law).

The book emphasises staying safe (a most important topic with flat shares), and usefully has a very good section at the end on staying safe online and reducing the risk of fraud (a subject we have also touched on here, at at the Landlord Law Blog). Their rules are worth mentioning again here:
  • Never use Western Union (as it is easy for fraudsters to run off with your money)
  • Never rent a room with out seeing it first (tenants), or (landlords) to anyone you have not met personally
  • Get receipts
  • Don't leave sensitive documents lying around if showing someone round a flat
  • When visiting flats, take someone with you or let them know where you are going
The book can be purchased (of course!) via the spare room web-site, or on Amazon here.

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