Multi-generational house-sharing is the norm within most South African households. It is said that approximately one in two 18-34-year-olds live at home with parents. Most seniors also do not have enough saved in their pension to afford living on their own.

As cost-effective as it may be, sharing a space with various generations can disrupt the feng shui in your home. But, house-sharing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whether it is your children or their grandparents, having another adult in the home who can contribute towards household expenses can make the burden of paying off a home loan a little lighter to carry.

Below is our advice on how to get the most out of your multi-generational house-sharing situation:

My House, My Rules
The trouble arises when you’re trying to navigate the various complexities of having to share a property with another autonomous individual who is paying rent, and therefore expects to have somewhat of a say in how things run. Especially when living with grandparents, as they are then the seniors of the household. The dynamic will be different depending on whether it is your adult child or grandparents, but the principle remains the same. Whoever has their name on the title deed should (respectfully) hold majority control in how things are run. However, this does not necessarily mean there won’t be conflict when it comes to deciding what is and is not allowed within the home – especially when renting to immediate family.

Living in Harmony 
To avoid conflict, distinctions can be drawn up regarding which rooms are considered common shared spaces and which are personal spaces. In common shared spaces, such as the living room and the kitchen, the landlord or parent can create a set of guidelines for behaviour within these spaces. Similar to how a Body Corporate or HOA might set up to regulate conduct within the sectional title. However, whatever is classified as personal space, such as a bedroom or an en-suite bathroom, could be treated in the same way as a landlord would treat a separate home that they are renting out.

Respectful Relations
The key to a successful house-sharing setup is mutual respect and consideration for each other. Though it might seem like an excessive step to take when you’re renting to your children or their grandparents, it might be worth speaking to a rental expert to help you get a few ideas on how to set up rules to avoid conflicts between yourself and your rent-paying relatives. If this is your first time as a landlord, it could help to read up on some of the in’s and outs of renting