5 tips for people cohabiting for the first time
Planning to live together? Congratulations! You must be walking on air. Of course, cohabitation involves more than just moving house. If only it were that simple! Before you start packing boxes, read this useful information and practical tips.
1. Non-formalised or legal cohabitation?
Have you already decided what type of cohabitant status you want? Married couples are automatically considered to be cohabiting. In addition, there are two other forms of cohabitation: non-formalised and legal. A non-formalised cohabitation means you live under the same roof. That’s it. It’s not linked to any other rights or obligations. So you also don't need to make an official declaration.
With legal cohabitation it’s different. In theory, this can be entered into by anyone, even if you have no romantic ties. So, for example, you can legally cohabit with a family member or friend. Do you want to legally cohabit? In that case you need to sign a document with the municipal authority and you will be subject to the separation of property rule. This rule means that both partners retain their financial independence.
2. Renting or buying?
You must also decide in advance whether you want to rent or buy. It goes without saying that buying a house or flat is a major decision. There are a lot of additional costs involved, such as registration fees and notary fees. So make sure you take that into account when you work out your available budget.
Most couples rent a house first to see how well it goes living with their partner. Does that seem like the best option? In that case, set some money aside for the rent deposit and to furnish your new home.
Are you already married or legal cohabitants? In that case both partners are considered tenants of the property. They both have the same rights and obligations, even if only one of them signed the lease.
Non-formalised cohabitation? Then the person who signs the agreement is responsible. Legally, all rights and duties fall on his or her shoulders.
3. Who does what?
Good agreements make good friends. This also applies to partners or friends who are going to live together. Make a clear agreement in advance about who is responsible for what task and how often it should be done.
And make sure you discuss interior design beforehand. That way you can avoid arguments and you’ll both feel completely at home.
4. Who pays what?
Once you have sorted out the practicalities, it is vital that you make financial arrangements. Do you want to have a joint account or not?
5. Do you need to insure your property?
Whether you choose to rent or buy, good home insurance is essential.
As a tenant, fire insurance is primarily there to protect your own personal property against damage from fire, water or natural disasters.
However, as a tenant you are also liable for damage to the rented house or flat (known as tenant's liability). At the end of the rental agreement, you must return the rented property to the owner in the same condition as when you moved in. If any damage occurs during the rental period (e.g. due to fire or a water leak, or due to negligence by you, your children or pets), as the tenant you are responsible for the repairs and costs. Also, if for example, a fire in your rental property spread to your neighbours’ property, as the tenant you would be liable for the damage.
As you can see: a home insurance is worth it. Because if you aren’t insured, you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket. Consult your insurer to find out the exact details of the different types of cover and when your insurer will intervene.
If you buy a house and finance that purchase with a mortgage loan, the bank will require you to take out home insurance. If you finance the purchase entirely with your own funds, this is not compulsory. However, it is still important to assess the risks carefully. Without insurance, you are responsible for any damage to your house and its contents. Remember that in this instance you are also still responsible for damage to third parties (e.g. if a fire in your house causes damage to the neighbour's house).
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That way you ensure you are fully insured against theft, water damage or damage from extreme weather conditions.
In the event of damage, you can rely on round-the-clock expert assistance from our staff, any day of the week. If there is severe damage (of over 5,000 euros), our experts will even guide you through the entire claim process and come to your house, if necessary.
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