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What to Know Before Renting Out a Room

posted by Chris Valentine

The price of rent seems to be rising these days, especially in larger cities where apartments are the primary mode of living space. An increasing amount of families are renting out a room or two in their home in order to keep with climbing payments each month. There a few things that you should remember first before you let a renter into the spare room or sublet airbnb. Becoming a landlord can be a good way to supplement your income. However, there are a few things to know before you post your property.

Know the Law

A crucial first step is to know if you can legally sublet a room in your home. If you yourself have a landlord, first ask them if it is a possibility to sublet a room to someone else. Even if your contract says otherwise, by explaining your financial hardship might change your landlord’s mind. Once you’ve gotten the okay, they may be able to give you the proper template in order to draw up a legal and binding agreement for your subtenant.

In some areas, it is illegal to enter a tenant’s room without 24-hour notice. Whether or not you are welcome, you may also be subject to pay for anything that is broken or stolen. While it may be your home, you should be fully familiar with your rights as a landlord, and their privacy rights as a tenant. This does not just protect your tenant but also yourself: knowledge is power, as they say.

Do Not Underestimate the Interview

While you may have all your legal ducks in a row, make sure that you find the right tenant to bring into your home – someone that you can trust to keep a part of your home clean and cared for. Ask broad questions about their lifestyle, and make sure that theirs can easily blend with yours without major disruptions in your home. Work schedules, any loud parties, any storage of personal items and food, and cleaning practices should all be discussed before a decision is made.

Like a job interview, a background check is often necessary. Make sure that they have not had any past trouble with landlords, outstanding rent or legal issues with past residences. Any infractions may help you realize who is the safest tenant to bring into a sublet room. You could even ask your landlord to give you some pointers as to what questions to ask and how to recognize a suitable tenant.

Financial Obligations

When you present a contract to someone who will stay in your home, make sure that your tenant’s financial obligations are written out and stated clearly. It is routine to take a month’s rent ahead of time, and establish what is due each month and which utilities or other fees are due with rent. Also, make sure to clearly underline the amount of deposit that should be paid with the first month’s rent.

What’s Included?

Is there garage space for a tenant’s care and larger belongings? Will they have their own bathroom connected to their room, or will they have to schedule their time around yours? Make sure that the room has adequate heating and cooling, and any restrictions on space should be specified.

There is a lot that goes into accepting a tenant into your home, from legal and financial obligations to personality conflicts and available storage space. Trust your tenant, take the interview seriously, and make sure that you and your tenant can live together peacefully while being able to keep a solid contract in place.

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