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Renting Rooms In A Private Home

Updated on May 20, 2013

Renting a room out

As the economy drifts downwards and more and more people face layoffs, lack of work and strained finances, some people have either returned home to their parents home or into the homes of friends. Some home-owners have also turned to renting out rooms in their private residences, to help them pay their mortgage or split costs.

Whatever the reasons, whether it's family, friends or strangers, a rental agreement or contract for renting out a room is a highly recommended thing to do - and I'll go on to explain why.

Always get it in writing!

Even though I adamantly recommend a lease agreement between even family and/or friends, I let my guard down this year by allowing a "friend" to rent a room in my private home last year. We had a verbal agreement, and things seemed to be OK, for awhile. After that person had to move out immediately I got stuck holding the bag to the tune of a $1,000. Needless to say, this left a very bad taste in my mouth, and that person and I are no longer talking. I had let that person fall behind in the rent due to the fact that they were under-working, so I subsidized them staying here.

Cardinal rule: Always get things in writing!

Although verbal agreements are still legally binding in many circumstances, having it in writing is much better. I now have to take this person to small claims court, and although I hate to do this, it's something I feel I need to do because of the circumstances in which they moved out - and the fact that they left me to deal with their stuff that they left behind.

Room rental agreements between family and friends

I have written about this subject before, many years ago before the economy plunged even further downwards, but my advice then is even more appropriate now as moving home has not only become widespread - but an even more frequent occurrence.

Some might say, hey I don't need an agreement, I can trust my family or friend, but without a written contract, things can happen that put a strain on family relationships and ruin relationships.

Although there are leases and rental agreements available for download on the Internet, usually a much simpler private room agreement is in order since they are not renting the "whole house".

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Private room rentals and lease agreements

Although you can make a simple contract by hand and make copies of your room rental agreement, you can also download low-cost room rental agreements for a low cost on the Internet.

One of the free ones I found that you can download is here (it is geared toward students but could be modified): Room Rental Agreement (also in PDF format - and this could be used for family or friends also, you just to make a small revision on where the county is listed)

It's a private room contract for students and contains the important things that need to be discussed when someone rents a room in your home and it covers the following:

  • Month to month terms
  • Security deposit (if any)
  • Expectations of parties in the household and how to resolve conflict
  • Use of house (common areas) and what utitlies are paid and by whom
  • The amount to be paid for the room and when
  • Cleaning expectations
  • House rules
  • Any other add-ons can be written in at the bottom

    For more reading on my experiences on renting rooms to both families and friends:

    Rules and Agreements To Consider When Renting Out A Room in a House

    Rooms for Rent - Tips and Advice When Renting Rooms Out in Your Home

    These are both excellent reads for first hand experiences and ideas on what to expect. Good luck with renting out a room and I hope all works out well for all parties involved!


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