How to Rent a Room in Your Apartment or House
Are you looking for an opportunity to make extra money by renting out a spare or empty room in your home? Becoming a landlord can be a great way to supplement your income, but it can also be complex and demanding. You need to be familiar with your legal responsibilities, know how to create a proper legal agreement, prepare and advertise your property, and find the right tenant. In this blog, we will guide you through the essential steps to successfully rent out a room.
Choose the Room
When choosing which room to rent, consider various factors:
- Proximity: Take note of the room's proximity to yours and your family's rooms. If you have multiple bedrooms, you may prefer to rent one that offers added privacy, such as a downstairs room.
- Bathroom Access: The location of the bathrooms in relation to the rental room is important. Renting a room with a private bath may allow you to charge more, but it means giving up having a private bath for yourself. Find a balance between privacy and rent potential.
- Accessibility: Consider the room's proximity to an entryway. Renting a room closer to an outside door can minimize disruptions to you and your family when the tenant comes and goes.
Setting the Rent
Setting the right rent is crucial. Consider the following factors:
- Local Market: Research the going rate for similar rooms in your area. Check with the student-housing department of nearby universities or online platforms like Craigslist to gather information on average room rents.
- Room Size and Occupancy: Take into account the size of your home, the rental room, and the number of occupants.
- Amenities: Consider the amenities you provide, such as common areas, utilities, and access to facilities like kitchens and laundry rooms. These should be reflected in the rent.
- Location: The room's proximity to universities, shopping districts, and local attractions can influence the rent. Rooms in high-demand areas can command higher rent.
Preparing the Room
Before seeking a tenant, make sure to prepare the room properly:
- Empty the Room: Remove all personal items, decorations, and furnishings, including items in the closet.
- Clean Thoroughly: Wash the walls, ceilings, baseboards, trim, light fixtures, switches, doors, and doorknobs. Make any necessary repairs, such as filling holes or fixing crooked doors.
- Flooring: Vacuum and shampoo carpets, or sweep and mop other types of flooring.
- Furnishings: Choose clean, well-maintained furniture that matches the room and leaves ample space to move around. Opt for sturdy and affordable pieces, as they may experience heavy use.
Advertising and Listing the Room
Effectively advertise the room to attract potential tenants:
- Targeted Venues: Advertise in local college or university papers if you're seeking younger tenants. For older roommates, consider church and community center bulletin boards or general circulation newspapers.
- Online Platforms: Utilize websites like Craigslist or iROOMit.com, which offer ad space for room rentals.
- Detailed Information: Provide specific details about the room, including furnishings, amenities, and the type of tenant you're looking for. Consider including photos or videos to give prospective tenants a clear idea of what to expect.
Screening and Credit Report
Once you receive responses to your ads, screen the applicants to find the best fit:
- Proof of Income: Request proof of income, such as paycheck stubs, tax filings, or employment letters.
- References: Ask for references, preferably from previous landlords or individuals who can vouch for the applicant's character and personality.
- Interview: Schedule interviews with potential tenants to discuss details about the property, rules, employment, and hobbies. Use this opportunity to assess their compatibility with you and your household.
Utilizing Property Rental Services
If you're short on time or prefer assistance, you can consider using a property rental service:
- Some services specialize in short-term leases and rentals, such as Easy Rental Services. They can handle tasks like advertising on platforms like iROOMit, Airbnb, advising on pricing, coordinating cleaning, and vetting guests.
- Fees: Keep in mind that property services usually charge a fee for their services. Additionally, availability of such services may be limited in smaller urban areas.
The Rental Agreement
Once you have found a suitable tenant, it's important to formalize the arrangement:
- Rental Agreement: Have the tenant read and sign a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental. Attach a copy of the House Rules and provide the tenant with copies of both documents.
- Handover Plan: Discuss with the tenant when they can move in or take possession of the premises. Coordinate either handing over the keys in advance or arrange to meet on the move-in day.
By following these steps, you can navigate the process of renting out a room effectively. Remember to familiarize yourself with your legal obligations, provide a clean and well-prepared room, advertise strategically, and screen potential tenants to find the right fit. With proper planning and execution, becoming a landlord can be a rewarding way to generate extra income from your spare or empty room.