Step by Step Guide to Rent Out a Room in Your House

43f22r24If you have an empty room in your house and you want to put it to good use and have additional income source you can rent your spare room to tenants. This sounds easy, but the truth is that unless you know what you’re doing you’ll only submit yourself to a lot of nuisance. There are tons of things you should know before you rent your house and this step by step guide will give you all the information you need.

Do your research

The first thing you need to do is to gather all the information you can about property renting. Doing so will give you a clear picture of what are your obligations and your rights as well as what you can expect, and you will avoid many problems in the future.

  1. Check your city and state’s zoning bylaws. It is possible your city or your state hasadditional renting laws you need to know about. In some cities these laws impede you from renting to non-relatives without first obtaining a license or a permit while other cities limit the number of tenants. The only way toknow for sure you will obey all the laws is to read up on them.The easiest way to check for the state laws is through your official state’s website that usually is either’ or YourState’’. This will lead you to comprehensive information regarding landlord-tenant laws.
  2. Do market research. You should try to find as much information as possible about who are the people who rent in your city are, what they want, what are their expectations, how much renting a room normally costs in your area, and what can you do to your spare room to make it more appealing and so on. You can gather a lot of information online and it will help you decide if you really want to proceed as you might realize that the rent is not as high as you expected for the type of room you can let.
  3. Draft a rental agreement. This is the document that will define the terms of tenancy and it’s usually valid for a short period of time unless it’s renewed. The document must contain a description of the property, the amount of rent, date of payment and late fees, the term of the lease. If you find drafting such documents difficult, you can always Google for a sample of room rental or lease agreement that will make your job much easier.
  4. Create a list of house rules. It is your house, after all, and you will set the tone and decide what your tenants (and yourself) will be able to do. Such rules can be related to smoking, alcohol, pets, definitions of common areas and so on.


Get the room ready

So you know everything that you possibly can and you are confident you can go ahead with this but before you place that add you first need to prepare for the moment the first tenant will come. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Decide which room to rent. Don’t just choose the spare room without thinking about it too much. There are many things you need to consider when choosing the most convenient room you can rent: the proximity to the rooms occupied by you and your family, the location of the bathroom and the existence of a private bathroom nearby, as well as the easy access to the room. If you can offer a room that is separate from the areas, you use more often is ideal (for example a basement apartment will get you a long way).
  2. Prepare the room. First of all you need to clean the room in detail: wash all the walls, ceiling, light fixtures and switches, furniture, doors, and floor. You also need to remove all your personal items, make sure the room has all the furniture your tenant will need and perform all the necessary repairs to the walls, doors, ceilings, windows or any other broken item in the room and the common areas.

Advertise and let the room

Everything is ready now; the room is impeccable, and you know what you’re doing. The time has come to let the room and draw the tenants, but where do you begin?

  1. Use a property rental service. This should never be your first choice, but if you’re nervous about doing all the work or you simply don’t have the time then this is a valid option. Make sure you chose a reputable company you’ll want to work with long-term. But be ready to pay, as most often this type of services isn’t cheap.
  2. Advertise the room yourself. You can do this yourself, without additional help that would cost you more. First of all, you need to figure out in what places you can expect to find the tenants and place your ads there. Your ad must contain all the relevant information: location, rent, size of the room and amenities. If you want a specific tenant (for example you only want to rent to students or to women) you have to place that information also. Place an ad online also as many people are searching for places to rent online.
  3. Choose your tenant. You will, hopefully, receive many responses and it’s your job to choose the best tenant. Do your homework. Make sure your tenant not only will be able to pay the rent but also that they’ll get along with your family. Try to pinpoint his character as well as his personality. Ask for references – previous landlords, friends, employers or professors. Make sure he knows and understands all house rules and they’ll be able to comply.

Renting a room in your house is not an effortless task, especially if you want to save money and do everything yourself, but if you do your research and follow all the steps in this guide it will be easier than you think. It may seem like a drastic measure, but it is very common, and it will help you get that additional income you so desperately need.

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