Renting that extra room in your house can help you generate extra income and cover the mortgage. When renting a room, you are positioning yourself as a landlord. As such, there are legal and regulatory implications you should be aware of. If not, you can end up with bad tenants that are difficult to do away with or open yourself up for potential lawsuits.
This landlord guide will help you become a better and more legal landlord by providing essential information about renting out a room.
What Does Renting Out a Room Mean?
If you have extra space in your home or live alone, you can rent a room. The room can be an actual bedroom, mother-in-law space, bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen access. It does not matter what space you rent out; it means the same thing, having another person live in your home! You can do it to raise extra money or to settle your mortgage.
Is It Legal To Rent Out A Room in Your House?
Some conditions can affect whether you can or cannot rent out a room in your house. For instance, some municipalities can have restrictions and rules when renting spaces in homes. The town or city may have zoning laws that prevent residents from renting rooms to people unrelated to them without a permit or license.
Before you rent out a room, ensure that your city or town has zoning laws to ascertain that you will not be breaking any laws. To be specific, read through the following laws to ensure you are within the law before you proceed to rent out a room:
- State laws
- Zoning laws
- City ordinances
- Local laws
- Applicable homeowners' association laws
Pros and Cons of Renting Out a Room
There are lots of pros and cons that come with renting out an extra room or space in your house. Here is a list of the common pros and cons.
- Helps in making extra income
- The tenants bring in companionship
- There is sharing of the load
- Comes with extra responsibilities
- Reduces your privacy
- The tenants' problems too, become your problem
Related Reading: What is a rent roll?
Steps for Renting Out a Room
After determining you can rent out a room in your home without going against any laws, you will now have to work through the steps of renting out a room. Here are the steps you will need to go through to rent out a room:
Step 1: Room Preparation
You need to ensure the room is habitable with proper plumbing systems, well-functioning electricity, and heating systems. Ensure you specify the bathroom the tenant will be using. The tenants will also want to be sure their belongings will be secure, and they will enjoy their needed privacy. You can guarantee this by making sure their room lock is working and there are no secret cameras since they do have a right to privacy.
Step 2: Marketing
Come up with an ideal tenant roommate avatar and note down the standards you want your tenant to achieve. You must consider whether the tenant will be a retiree, college student, outgoing person, or married couple. You will want someone with no criminal background. Ensure that you are aware of the housing laws.
Tips to Rent out a Room
There are tips that will help ensure the process of renting out a room is successful. The tips below will ensure you successfully rent out that extra space or room in your house:
Advertising the room
To get a tenant, you will have to promote the room to potential tenants. You can advertise the room through work notice boards, websites, or social media platforms.
Vet potential tenant
Although it is never a great idea to subject potential tenants to a rigorous interrogation process, it is always advisable that you carry out some background checks. Always request a copy of their criminal report and a written reference from the previous landlord if they have any.
Have an Inventory
Have a list of everything in the room and if there is any existing damage like loose cupboard handles, marks on walls, or broken window panes. You, together with the tenant, should sign it.
Decide the Period You Will Be Renting Out the Room
It is important that you make your tenant aware of how long you are renting the room. You can agree on a fixed term or on a monthly or weekly basis. You will also agree on the appropriate time to issue a notice.
Set Ground Rules
List out what you expect your lodger not to do during his or her stay in the room. If you do not want them to come late at night or play loud music, let them know what you prefer.
Know the Extra Facilities You Will Be Providing
Keep in mind that apart from renting out that spare room, the lodger may need access to the bathroom, kitchen, or sitting room.
Inform Mortgage Lender
If you are financing a mortgage, inform your mortgage lender in advance that you plan to rent out an extra space or room. Failing to inform the mortgage lender may not cause problems, but failing to notify them can lead to a breach of mortgage terms.
Inform the Insurer
You must also inform the home insurer of your plans to rent out a room to ensure it does not affect the insurance coverage. You can invalidate the policy if you fail to notify the insurer.
Get a Deposit
Always ask for an upfront deposit before you rent out the room. The deposit will act as security in case the tenant decides to leave without settling your whole payment or if they damage anything in the room.
Where to List A Room For Rent
After preparing the extra space or room and figuring out the type of roommate you want to be, you will need to craft an ad.
Some of the places you can list a room for rent include:
- At the college housing agency or school newspaper. You can also inform a senior citizen that you are renting out a room for any referrals.
- You can spread the word through friends, family members, or neighbors. Networking can help bring reliable leads.
Related Reading: What is house hacking?
How to Screen a Roommate
You must get a good tenant if you are renting out a room. Screening a tenant is very important since you will be sharing common areas.
Here is a procedure on how to screen a roommate
Always start with a compliant rental application that gives you, as the landlord, authority to perform background checks and contact references. When you have the proposed tenant, fill out the application.
Horror stories always come from landlords who decide to rent out a room or extra space. However, these horror stories are always avoidable if you follow the necessary steps before renting a room.
Lease agreements, maintenance, inspections, and money are all part of being a landlord and will never change. Renting out that extra room will be a great experience and enable you to raise extra cash, provided you do everything right. Ensure you thoroughly go through all the steps, such as rental setup, advertisement, screening, and signing of the agreement, to ensure you have a great experience.
At Steadily we are experts at providing landlords with excellent insurance service, right from quote request to claim resolution. We have a dedicated team that will work around the clock to ensure all our clients receive a memorable and timely service. Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with us today.