Is sharing the solution? : exploring the opportunities and challenges of privately rented shared accommodation for single people in housing need

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Green, Stephen ; Mccarthy, Lindsey (2015)

Reduced availability of, and access to, affordable accommodation coupled with housing benefit reductions, particularly for single people under the age of 35, make it inevitable that more people will require shared accommodation as a financially viable solution to their housing needs. However, there is a reluctance to enter into sharing, particularly with 'strangers', and many members of vulnerable groups face challenges such as living with others, gaining access to the private rented sector, and sustaining tenancies. In response to these challenges, the Sharing Solutions Programme, run by Crisis and funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), recently piloted, developed and promoted new models for establishing successful sharing arrangements for single people in housing need. This paper draws on findings from an evaluation of that programme, alongside the literature on shared accommodation, to identify a number of potential barriers to making shared accommodation work, and ways in which these may be overcome. A range of factors are identified as pivotal in the success of sharing in the private rented sector, including changing perceptions of sharing, managing shared properties and supporting tenants. While the paper concludes that sharing can be a viable option for some, it simultaneously recognises the significant resources required to make it successful for tenants.
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