The Rise of Share-Housing: A Hidden Threat for Brands?

house sharing is on the rise and so are overdue payments

With house sharing on the right and 63% of surveyed sharehouses having at least one person struggling to pay bills - businesses need to arm themselves with tools that improve their chances of being paid.

Share-housing is experiencing a significant surge in popularity. While undeniably appealing for its affordability and potential for social connection this trend harbors hidden threats for brands in the form of increased payment risks and challenges in debt collection.

The rising cost of living in Australia is pushing a significant portion of the population towards house-sharing arrangements. While this trend offers a solution for affordability-conscious individuals, it presents a unique set of challenges for brands and their payment processing systems.

A Market Driven by Necessity

Data from reveals a stark reality: 44% of property listings for house-sharing are driven by affordability concerns, with nearly half (48%) unable to afford independent living. This financial strain translates to a higher risk of payment defaults on non-essential expenses like subscriptions and loans, impacting brand revenue streams.

The cost-cutting measures extend beyond just rent. Research shows that 23% of house-sharing arrangements have implemented restrictions on appliance usage, indicating a heightened focus on managing shared resources and expenses. This cost-conscious mindset can lead to reduced spending power, impacting brands that rely on discretionary spending from their customers.

On-time payments at risk

Sharing a living space also comes with a unique set of challenges. Shockingly, only 30% of share-housers have a formal agreement beyond the official lease, creating room for misunderstandings and disputes.

Beyond internal challenges in share house arrangements the challenge for brands lays in bills being paid on time. Incredibly,’s survey revealed more than 6 out of 10 house share arrangements have at least one person struggling with bills including rent.

For companies this represents a minefield to navigate as they have no control over which of the households they send bills to for payments are currently in a house-share arrangement, might become a share-house.

House-sharing arrangements introduce complexities in payment processing.

Complicating matters further is the issue of who to follow-up with when an account isn’t paid on time or isn’t paid in full as the person whose name is on the bill may very well not be the person that hasn’t paid their portion of the bills. This creates confusion and delays in receiving payments. When attempting to collect debts or threatening disconnection and impacting the credit record of the person whose name is on the bill, brands may find themselves in all manner of challenges by customers and the ombudsman if they pursue someone over an unpaid bill where the person being contacted can cite evidence they paid their portion.


With multiple individuals residing at the same address, identifying the responsible party for specific bills and subscriptions can be challenging. This can lead to billing disputes and difficulties in collecting payments, requiring brands to invest in robust and transparent billing systems.

Managing data in house-sharing environments requires careful consideration. Obtaining explicit consent from all individuals sharing an address for data collection and sharing is desirable but unlikely to occur, and represents a challenge payments are made while abiding by privacy regulations. Additionally, brands need to be transparent about how data is used to avoid potential concerns and build trust with customers.

The house-sharing trend highlights the need for brands to adapt their payment processing strategies. Innovative solutions that cater to the specific needs of shared living arrangements, such as split payment options and clear communication around billing practices, are essential. Additionally, robust data management practices and clear communication will be key to navigating this evolving landscape and mitigating potential risks.

A Growing Trend, A Growing Risk

The increasing popularity of share-housing translates to brands facing new challenges in managing financial transactions and collecting debts. 63% of share-housers have at least one person struggling to pay rent indicates a higher risk of defaults and delinquencies.

A challenge for brands is that often the person named on the lease or utility account may not be the individual responsible for the actual payment. This creates confusion and delays in receiving payments. When attempting to collect debts, brands may find it challenging to identify the responsible party, especially if the leaseholder and the individual responsible for the payment are different.

Navigating the Share-Housing Landscape

Brands can take steps to mitigate the risks posed by the rise of share-housing. Stricter verification processes, enabling online environments to list and obtain contact consent for multiple people within a household and investing in proactive communications are all good steps.

Offering flexible and innovative payment options such as bill-sharing applications and split-payment platforms is a great way to cater to different preferences and financial situations.

Offering services or products specifically tailored to share-housing situations, coupled with bill-sharing and bill-splitting payment options is a way to not only mitigate the risk of customers house-sharing but a good way to grow a businesses database. People who house share today could represent a whole new generation of future customers when they move into their own homes down the track.

The final word

The rise of share-housing is a significant trend with both opportunities and challenges for brands. Recognizing the potential risks associated with increased payment risks and complex debt collection is crucial. By implementing proactive measures, adapting strategies, and fostering open communication, brands can navigate this evolving landscape and leverage the opportunities it presents.

It's important to note that while 45% of respondents in the provided information prefer living with strangers, this statistic doesn't negate the inherent risks associated with share-housing. Regardless of familiarity with housemates, brands need to implement effective risk mitigation strategies to ensure financial stability and maintain positive customer relationships.

Source statistics: Flatmates' 2023 National Share Accommodation Survey.

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