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What you need to do if you need to self-isolate and live in a shared home with others.

First published:
18 May 2020
Last updated:

If you live and share your home with others, you must tell them if you:

Types of shared accommodation 

You may be living with friends, family or people you do not know. There are different types of shared accommodation, such as:

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) 
  • hostels 
  • university accommodation 
  • flat shares 
  • shared social or supported housing 

If you share facilities for example a kitchen or a bathroom with friends, family or people you do not know, you live in shared accommodation. 

Coronavirus symptoms

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate and apply for a test as soon as possible. 

If you share a kitchen or a bathroom with others you may be at a higher risk of spreading or getting coronavirus.

Tell those you share accommodation with if you are self-isolating 

People living in shared accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic are treated as a single household. This is for health protection purposes. This means that if anyone living in your shared accommodation who you share facilities with has coronavirus symptoms or needs to self-isolate, you all need to self-isolate, following the households with possible coronavirus guidance.

You need to tell those you live with and/or share facilities with if you are self-isolating. You can tell them yourself, or through your landlord or letting agent.

Coronavirus can stay on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours. If you have coronavirus there is a higher risk that it could get passed onto those you live with and/or share facilities with from surfaces you have had contact with.

If you have a test and test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), a contact tracer from the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service will contact you. They will contact those people you have been in close contact with on your behalf. Your identity will not be revealed unless you give permission. Find out more about contact tracing and how it works.

Reduce the risk of infecting others

You should follow our full guidance about how to self-isolate and look after yourself at home if you have coronavirus symptoms.

You can reduce the risk of infecting others by:

  • not allowing others to visit your home 
  • avoiding shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas as much as possible
  • cleaning shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms (including all surfaces) regularly
  • keeping shared spaces well ventilated
  • using a separate bathroom from others, if possible
  • using your own toothbrush
  • cleaning the toilet and bathroom every time you use them
  • drawing up a bathroom rota (you may be the last to use the bathroom)
  • avoiding using the kitchen when others are, and taking meals to your room
  • cleaning the area you have used with usual household products like detergents and bleach
  • using a dishwasher, (if you have one) to clean dishes and cutlery
  • using washing up liquid and warm water to clean dishes and cutlery, drying thoroughly (do not share tea towels)
  • using separate cups and glasses (including in the bathroom and bedroom), dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths and bed linen

Extended households 

Read the rules about extended households and how they affect those living in shared accommodation.

Cleaning services 

If you have an agreed cleaning service, you should let your landlord or letting agent know if you and other people in the property are self-isolating; you will need to agree an alternative process. A cleaner should not enter your home if anyone is showing symptoms of coronavirus and/or self-isolating. 

Moving into shared accommodation

If you are planning to move into shared accommodation, you should follow our guidance on moving home during the Coronavirus pandemic

Financial support

Find out what financial support you could get, such as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are unable to work because of coronavirus or apply for emergency financial support through the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF).