Sometimes you can be so close with a friend that you think it would be great to live with them, or maybe you have a friend that needs a helping hand and you have a spare room. This can be a very delicate situation to navigate and care should be taken to decide if it is the best move for you as an individual and for your friendship together in the long term.
Will you be losing money by renting your spare room to a friend in place of a regular tenant? Often, there is a moral pressure to apply a discount for a friend or family member that you provide a room too, but if you are in a particularly high demand area, this could really be setting you back financially. For example, rooms to rent in London are much more profitable than other places in the UK and you may be doing yourself a disservice if you do not charge full price.
There is also the factor of costs due to any damage. In a normal tenancy you can be frank about any damage equaling a payment. But in a friendship, this can create a very awkward situation. They might not even be as careful at home because they know you will go easy on them.
Getting too close
Living with someone means that you will see them at their best and their worst, and all the annoying things that they do will come to light. Of course, any roommate will have habits that you do not like, but there is a line and it will be much more difficult to discuss this with a friend, without risking potential damage to the friendship.
Equally, the home will be their space too, so they will be entitled to having people round to visit. You must ask yourself, do you like their other friends or their romantic partners, do you want them in your home, with access to your things? If the answer is no, you should consider if the move is a good idea.
Ending the tenancy
If you are lucky, then when the time is right your friend will joyfully tell you that they have met a romantic partner they want to move in with, or that they just need to spread their wings and leave. If you are unlucky, they may never want to leave and you might want them to. In this situation, you will have a potentially very unpleasant conversation with them, and it is likely to be hard for them to hear that you do not want to live with them anymore. This could make them wonder, “well, why would you want to be friends, if you do not like being around me”, creating a very nasty feeling between you.
Overall, really think about your friendship dynamics, the personality of your friend and your own lifestyle and finances. Is the reality really going to be as good as the daydream?