What are you doing with that extra room? You know, the guest-room that you call your office that has become spillover storage from the garage and has no room for guests anymore? Your guests don't need it anyway since you have the couch in the living room and those air mattresses for them to sleep on. And let's face it, you only get overnight guests two or three times a year now that you're a grown-up. And wouldn't any fiscally responsible grown-up want to turn that space into a cash machine if they could?
Can I rent my room out?
Before spending any time on this, you need to make sure you can actually start renting out a room in your home. Check local bylaws and municipal licensing, some local governments have some tricky laws to navigate when it comes to becoming a landlord. If you are already renting your house from someone else, then you should check your lease documents to see if you are allowed to rent out a room, and it might be a good idea to get your landlord's permission first. If your neighbourhood has a community homeowners association, or if you live in a condominium, sometimes they have rules specific to renting. It's smart to know all the rules so you don't get fined.
Who will my tenant be?
Now you need to choose your ideal tenant. It helps to make a list of the attributes of the perfect type of person to be your tenant. Who do you want to live in your home with you? Will they be a student? A couple? A single parent? Someone who works nearby? Or someone who travels a lot and just needs a home base for their belongings?
It may be impossible to find the "perfect tenant" but when you get to the stage where you need to interview people, having comparable criteria will make your decision-making easier.
Once you've done your homework on rules and chosen your target tenant, it's time to do your math homework. That's right, you need to research the amount you need to charge for rent. It must be a number that is in-line with rental rates in your area and not too high that you don't get anyone interested, but not too low that it costs you more money in wear and tear on the room, water, electricity and other utilities that will go up with another person in the house.
Finding the right price will also help find you the right tenant, since everyone is different and there are as many different budgets as there are personality types looking for housing.
Questions to ask yourself:
1) Will you include utilities? or split them?
2) Will you include cable? or Internet?
3) What are comparable landlords in your area offering?
Advertising and Interviewing
There are many ways to advertise your room for rent. You can put a sign in your window or front lawn, place an ad in a local paper, or online, or post an ad on your local bulletin board at your church or grocery store. The ad should include room dimensions, what's included, if there is a separate entrance, ensuite bathroom, backyard, garage, and anything else you offer. Remember to include pictures, professional photos are the best.
Whatever you do to advertise, once you have some people interested you need to be careful who you rent to. Imagine you are going away for a month and leaving this person in charge of your whole home. If you can't picture doing this with a prospective tenant, then you should probably not rent to them. You will get all kinds of people, crazy people included, so make sure when you agree to rent, you are comfortable with your choice. Remember, you don't have to rent your room if you can't get the right tenant. It also helps to do a background check on anyone before they move in. When the right landlord is matched up with the right tenant, it can seem very easy, and you can even feel safer in your home with a more productive living arrangement. Conversely, with the wrong landlord and tenant together, things can seem unsafe and difficult, so choose wisely, or hire an expert company that has a good reputation for finding the right tenants for you.
I always like to include the rules in our rental contract. I go over them with the tenant before they move in. You don't have to include them in the contract, but you should at least have a conversation with the tenant before they move in. There are many things that people argue over once they move in together. Some things you should address before moving in are:
Noise level expectations
Who buys toilet paper and garbage bags
Food sharing or not sharing
Friends sleeping over
Hire a Professional
If you don't have the time, or just don't feel confident yourself doing the work involved in finding the right tenant for you, you can always hire a professional to do it for you. Look for a company that can handle as much or as little as you need them to do. Typical services you might need:
Tenant finding services
Rent collection services
Background checking services
First point of contact for the tenant
Interior Decorating and Furnishing
MVP Properties can help you with all this and more to take the hassle out of renting out a room in your house.
Click here to contact us or call 1844-284-RENT (7368) to ask us how we can help you turn your extra room in to extra cash!