Rules and Agreements To Consider When Renting Out A Room in Your House
Is Renting Out A Room For You?
Things To Think About When Sharing Your Home
So if you are here because you are thinking about renting out a room in your home, I have some helpful advice for you on things to consider when sharing your home. I learned a lot about being a landlord, room-mate and friend last year when I rented out 2 rooms in my home to friends of my son.
It was an interesting year, to say the least! Since I have been used to having other people in my home for quite sometime, this was no new experience, but renting out rooms to them was. One thing I can say is that during this time I certainly learned a lot about the younger generation - their music, likes and dislikes plus a few other things I can't even begin to tell you about!
But to get to the nuts and bolts of this story, there are some things that I would have definitely done differently to avoid any confusion:
First off, I would have drafted a rental agreement with all the standard rental terms like real renters do. With that in mind I will give you some tips on renting out a room or sharing your home (from someone who has been there and done that!)
1) Like I said, make sure you draft up a regular rental agreement, in writing, with all the terms laid out, just like anyone else would. Even if it's your best friend, do it !! You don't want anyone misunderstanding what you expect of them as a renter and what they expect from you as a landlord and room-mate.
2) Have specific rules about storage - do you offer storage or does the renter also need to find a storage facility in addition to renting a room from you?
3) Have rules about the food! I can't stress this enough! If anything, let the renter have a small refrigerator in their room and add a little expense on top for the electric to run the fridge (believe me this will solve a lot of headaches)
4) Make house rules just like you do in any family - about doing dishes, taking out the trash, so on and so forth. This needs to be spelled out - otherwise YOU may end doing all of the above. ( and if need be, add an additional rental charge and have a maid come in - that solves a lot of problems!)
5) Have definite written rules about noise and what's OK and what's not OK. ( I can't begin to tell you how crazy I went listening to my walls being boom - boomed)
6) Have definite written rules about visitors, and overnighters. (It's not fun waking up to find someone in your home on the way to the bathroom at 3am in the morning -and you've never seen them before in your life)
Looking back at last year with my young room-mates, I actually have to say that I learned quite a bit about other people and making compromises. Sometimes I missed my privacy, but I was also often glad for the company, and there were also times that I thought that I had bitten off more than I could chew....
So is renting out a room or sharing your home for everyone? Certainly not- but sometimes it makes sense to do so- maybe you are in a home and you need to save some money, maybe you are lonely and you would like some companionship, maybe you just don't like living by yourself or want to help someone else get back on their feet and also help yourself at the the same time. Renting out a room can solve all of these things, but remember:
Get it on all in writing!!!
Be Careful Who You Rent A Room To
Since I have never rented out a room to someone that I didn't know, I would say be very very careful about whom you allow in your home. Do a background check if necessary, but don't let money problems push you into allowing someone you don't know come to live with you if you don't have a good feeling about it. There are tons and tons of people looking for rooms on Craigslist, and that's a good resource for finding renters, but be CAREFUL! Use wise judgement - this is someone that is going to share your patch of land, your furniture, all of the above. Seek compatible people- and you might be surprised at how much fun you actually end up having!
(And as a little side note here - this gal is finally going to have an empty house here pretty soon - I guess that will be the next thing I write about: The "Empty Nest" Syndrome!!)