Newbie landlord - renting house for first time. some advice about house sharing tenants

Good evening.
I am on the cusp of renting out my family home whilst I move abroad.
I have advertised my property on Openrent and have had multiple contacts from prospective tenants.
All of them are ‘house shares’. I was wondering if someone could advise me on how this works on tenancy agreements and credit referencing.

for example. 4 people want to occupy my house. how many names go on the tenancy agreement?
What about the credit check/tenant referencing. do all tenants name go through the reference process or only the names on the agreement as those are the people contractually liable for the rent under the agreement.

also, for example, if there are 3 people on the agreement for a 4 bed house, and they rent out the 4th room, how to proceed with the rental agreement. is this ‘sub letting’ and what are the associated issues with this?

Thanks in advance if you can shed some light on this and help a newbie find his feet.


Hi Dave, thanks for your post.

You might find our Help Centre article useful when deciding who to reference:

If you have had interest from individuals who are looking to rent out a room, rather than a group who are looking to rent the whole house, you may want to think about separate contracts for each person. Our article below takes you through all the different options for doing this on OpenRent:

It is ultimately up to you whether you choose a joint and several tenancy agreement, and include all tenants on the same contract, or issue separate agreements for each room.

Again, it is up to you whether you allow the tenants to sublet a property or not, though you may want to check your buildings insurance and mortgage agreement (if applicable) as sometimes subletting will invalidate certain insurances. We’d advise checking this directly with the relevant providers.

Our contract also specifically states that the tenant will not sublet the property to any persons over the maximum number of occupants stated on the agreement.

We have an article dedicated to what counts as a tenant/occupant here:

I hope the above information helps inform your decision, do let us know if we can help with anything else.

Thanks, Elinor

Hi David7

Welcome to the world of letting! If you’re going abroad you will need somebody to act as your agent who is resident in England/Wales. Practically the benefits of having everybody on one contract is they are ‘tenants in common’ and each is liable for the whole of the rent if somebody defaults or leaves. It’s good to be sure they understand that on signing. The downside is if somebody leaves during the term of the contract, and the remaining tenants want to fill that space - it can be complicated unless you allow them to sublet to somebody on exactly the same terms as you let it to the others. Generally allowing subletting introduces an element of potential problems and I wouldn’t advise it other than as a stop gap. Far better you have a relationship in law with each of your tenants.
The best advice re names is to be sure to put each on the contract, even if one is a dependent - as long as they are over 18. Therefore you need to credit check each one - it’s only £20 for them through OpenRent and they could be charged more elsewhere, so it’s very fair. You learn quite a bit from the check, and you only need one out of 4 with a history of problems to make things difficult for you.
Hopefully the Openrent links given above will have answered the technical questions.
Hope it goes well for you,

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Thanks for your help and advice.
It all makes good sense


You need a fully managed service if you’re going abroad. With sharers, the property will also be an HMO and may be licensable, depending on the area. HMOs need a manager as well as a landlord/agent and many need a lot of managing.

Tbh, if you’re not experienced in landlord and tenant matters, I would forget the idea as you could lose a lot of money, (Council’s can impose a penalty of up to £30k for failure to licence or serious disrepair). Tenants can claim all their rent back.