If you are in need of extra income, is letting out a room in your house an option? It could be a good idea, or it could turn into a nightmare. Baxton Property Managers know the ins-and-outs of how to ensure it is to everyone’s benefit.
More and more people are renting out rooms in their homes these days, returning to this popular way of generating income in the past. It went out of fashion for a longer time with the development of a stranger-danger culture and a misconception that it was something done by old widows, or people who were desperate.
Are you willing to share your space?
If you are used to living alone, it could be quite an adjustment, but if you are lonely and isolated, or have a spare room that is never used, it could be a great idea. If you are living near a university, a student could be the answer. Students go home for the holidays, so it is only for short periods of time you will have to sacrifice your privacy.
If you are not a social person, how do you feel about sharing your space? If the idea of sharing your living area, your bathroom and your kitchen appalls you, it might be time to rethink the idea of getting a tenant. But there may be other ways to go about it. Perhaps you have an en suite bathroom, or room for one off the room you plan to rent out, and maybe a nook to house a bar fridge, a kettle and a hotplate. Does this room have its own entrance? Perhaps you can install a door.
Make sure you follow guidelines and you know the laws regarding letting rooms in your area. Don’t cut corners, draw up a proper agreement and set out the house rules. Do a proper screening, and don’t take the first person that applies.
Advertise your room
After you have decided what kind of tenant you would like, advertise in an appropriate place. If you are looking for a student, put up an advertisement on the campus notice board. Or if you are looking for an elderly church-going lady, put your advert up at the church.
Make sure you stipulate what you are looking for in your advertisement. Be specific. An example would be that if you have pets, you could say you are looking for “A pet-friendly female tenant who doesn’t smoke or drink, aged 20 -28”.
Once prospective tenants start applying, have a list of questions. Ask for references from previous landlords, whether the person is employed and whether they can show you pay slips. If a student applies, ask who will pay the rent. Follow up on references, and do a Google search on the person, to see what comes up.
Once you have found your match, sign a rental agreement and ask for a security deposit upfront, which you will pay back at the end of the agreement period.
Draw up house rules and let your tenant sign the house rules along with the rental agreement. Even if you feel confident that everything will go well, don’t wait to cross that bridge only when you encounter problems.
Setting rules involves another set of questions, only this time they are aimed at yourself. How do you feel about visitors? What about if they let a friend stay over? If you allow visitors to stay over, be careful not to end up with an extra tenant you didn’t bargain on. Are they party animals or do they work night shifts which means they will be coming home late at night, and causing the dogs to bark and wake you?
Don’t get personal
Keep your personal distance, and don’t tell your tenant your life drama the first time you meet them. While you may develop a friendship over time, that is not the point of the exercise, and can, in fact, cause problems in terms of boundaries. Remember this is a business arrangement, and give your tenant space, even if it is in your home. The tenant pays rent, after all, and you are looking for an income, not a BFF.
Keep an eye on Baxton Property Management’s blog for more information about rentals, tenants and other property-related issues.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
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