Rent A Room In Your Home
Many people are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage payments and have money left over for other expenses. If you are one of those people, you may consider renting a room in your home. This could help offset some of your monthly bills and make it easier to maintain the lifestyle you want.
Some homeowners seek housemates, not because they are in financial trouble but because the want the company. They may have lost a spouse, gone through a divorce, or may simply feel that their home is too large for them. An unoccupied room can be used to fill a void in their lives.
There are many people who can't afford to buy or rent a home, don't like apartment living, and would love to live in a nice home. By renting them a room in your home, you would be helping them meet their needs while they pay you for your inconvenience and add extra money to your income .
Letting another person live in your home with you takes some getting used to and is not for everyone. Some people like having their privacy and a tenant in the next bedroom is not an option, but it could be if you find the right person under the right circumstances.
If you decide to rent a room, there are some things you can do to make the transition as painless as possible.
- Know and understand the law and take care of legal issues. Once you sign a lease or rental agreement, it's a legal and binding contract that cannot be unilaterally broken and once a person moves into your home, they become tenants and they have rights. If you decide that it's an inconvenience for you and you no longer want them in your home, you can not force them to move until their rental period is up or you prove in a court of law that the tenant has broken the agreement. You, and the tenant, have to follow the terms of the lease or rental agreement. If you forcibly have your tenant evicted, you may be charged with a criminal offense.
- Decide which room you want the tenant to occupy and which ones will be off limits. You have to decide beforehand if the tenant will have use of the kitchen and dining room, the family room, the garage, swimming pool, or other rooms. This should be spelled out in the contract. Also, if you have an alarm system, be prepared to give out the security code.
- Establish how much you are going to charge for rent and how the utilities will be divided along with any other shared expenses. Try to get as much information as you can about the rental rates in your neighborhood. A great source for this is a local realtor. A realtor may also be willing to provide other services such as help with doing a credit and background check on your prospective tenant, especially if the realtor wants your business in the future if you decide to sell your property.
- Know your responsibilities as a landlord. You will be responsible for having the right type of homeowners insurance policy, doing repairs and maintenance,
and getting any permits from the city or approval from your mortgage company, if required.
- You should install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers if you don't already have them. You may also want to install a carbon monoxide detector. Check the batteries to make sure they are working.
- Ask a prospective tenant for up to date personal identification, do a credit check, a background check, and contact past landlords to determine if they paid their rent on time. There are web sites that provide identity checks such as Equifax Identity Report. The cost is around $10.00 and is money well spent if you want peace of mind about any prospective tenant. If you don't know them, check them out thoroughly before letting them move in.
- Interview all prospective tenants yourself to get a feel for them. If there is any trepidation about a prospective tenant, you should trust your instincts and base your approval or denial on the information you obtain as well as how you feel about them. Don't be fooled though. Not everyone is who they say they are and some people are what is called "professional renters." They falsify identification and employment histories, draw up bogus recommendations from other people, and know how to work the legal system.
- Be specific about what you want in a tenant who, for all intent and purpose, will be your house mates. You should spell out whether your tenant can have pets, if they will be allowed to have boyfriend or girlfriend visitors, if they will be allowed to have overnight guest, if the will be allowed to smoke and/or drink, or any other issues you may not want or approve of.
The extra money you will make from renting a room in your home may go a long way towards helping you financially. Remember, regardless to who you rent to, it is a business decision and should be treated as such.