So, you’ve decided that you want to rent a room out in your home. Maybe you need some extra cash in the short term? Perhaps students would be ideal? Or you could be looking for a long-term? All you have to do now is work out how to go about it.
Before you both sign the rental agreement, you’ll have to make sure that you’ve considered every aspect. Have a read through our 10 tips for renting out a room in your home and earn your expert badge in no time at all.
1. Start Advertising Your Room
To kick things off you’re going to have to start advertising. You have plenty of options of where you can do this. You can pretty much disregard newspapers. Nowadays, people turn to the internet to find places to rent. There are websites that’ll advertise your room and kickstart enquiries. You could try spareroom.com or Monday-Friday.com. These are great tools for finding tenants moving to the local area. However, they’re not always trustworthy and many people are dubious about these types of sites. Another option is to list your room with a property management company and let them do the vetting on your behalf.
2. Find A Great Housemate
When you meet a potential roommate take your time. There is no rush to make a decision.
Invite them round. Let them look at your home and the room that is on offer and don’t forget you’ll also be checking them out too. Make a cuppa and get to know them. First impressions count, and you’ll learn a lot about the person in the first 60 seconds of meeting them. But you’ll need to know more. Start by finding out about their work, this way you’ll be able to gage if they are able to afford it. You’ll not want missed rent payments. Learn about their habits, lifestyle and pets. Find out as much as you can.
3. Do Your Background Checks
People can be whoever they want to be if they are only spending an hour with you. So you’ll need to find out the bigger picture before letting someone into your home. Without a doubt, you’re not going to want someone that parties everyday from dusk to dawn living with you (unless you appreciate a good house party.) You’ll find out more from other people that have known them for a long time and have a greater knowledge of their personality.
Asking for references is always important. Ideally, you’ll be seeking them from their employer and previous landlord. It won’t hurt to ask for a couple of character references too.
4. Create An Inventory
This is something you should do every time you have a new tenant. If you’re renting out the room furnished, then you don’t want them breaking things or worse, taking them. Start by inspecting the room with your new tenant. List everything in the room and make a note of its condition. If you know that there is a scratch down the side of the wardrobe, then this must be documented. It’s not the tenants job to pay for your damaged items. But equally, if the tenant creates the scratch then they should be liable for repairs.
Everything in the room should be listed, from; walls, ceiling lights, furniture and more. Once this is complete, you and the tenant will sign in agreement. This will protect you both from animosity and bad feeling. Great planning will lead to a successful tenancy.
5. Decide How Long For
It might be that you or the tenant is only looking for a 6-month period. If this is the case, then you’ll know when to start advertising again. You might both be looking for a long-term arrangement and feel that a month to month basis would suit you best. Whatever arrangement you decide on, this must be agreed and documented from the start. This way, everybody will know where they stand. Don’t forget to discuss with your tenant how much notice you’ll expect if they want to leave, or what you’ll give them if you want to end the rental agreement early.
6. Make Your House Rules
They may be renting a room, but it’s still your home. You’ll need to make some general ground rules so that everyone can live harmoniously together. You’ll want to consider cleanliness and make sure that your kitchen is always left ready for the next person. You could also consider noise, guests and what time they come and go. It may be that you’ll not want them coming in drunk at 3 am every night. Be upfront from the start. But also be prepared to bend a little. It may be that you’ll need to compromise on some issues. You have to remember that their room is their home.
7. Let Them Know About Your Facilities
When you have a rental agreement to rent out a room in your home, it’s law that they have access to a bathroom and kitchen. You’ll need to be prepared to share. You may have factored food into the price of the rent, and you cook for your tenant. They may buy and make their own food. If this is the case then consideration for cooking times could be an advantage. Your tenant will need their own kitchen cupboard space and some room in the fridge/freezer.
It’s the same principle with the bathroom. It’s okay for them to have baths and showers. But you could agree times within the day. It’ll be your choice if you extend your home to them using your sitting rooms and access to the television. Just make sure that you’re clear from the onset. Everything that the price includes and everything that it does not.
8. Advise Your Mortgage Provider
When you decide that you want to have a tenant renting a room in your home, you must notify your mortgage provider. You’ll need to find out contractually where you stand. It may be that the terms of your mortgage will not allow you to sublet to another. Make sure that you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all of the T’s. You may find that it’s not a problem. It’ll only take a quick call to check.
9. Let Your Home Insurer Know
It’s going to be wise to contact your insurer and keep them updated. If the tenant breaks something in your home, you’re going to want to know that it’s covered in your policy. Looking at the worst-case scenario, what if your tenant or a guest steals your belongings? It’ll be devastating if you later find your insurance policy is invalid. Your insurance company will know what you need to do, again just give them a quick call. It’s much better to have all bases covered than regret it later.
10. Make Sure You Get A Deposit
It’s standard to ask your tenant for a deposit before moving in, and this should be part of their rental agreement. Normally you’d ask for an extra month’s rent in advance to cover this. You’re asking for this to cover yourself. If your tenant moves out early without paying or leaves you with breakages, you have the deposit to fall back on. They’ll get it back at the end of their tenancy if they’ve paid all of the rent and left your room in good condition.
Whether you’re a newbie or just checking to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Hopefully, this guide will have given you all of the advice you need. At Leased, we’re always looking to make the lives of our landlords easier and ensure your experiences of property management are both successful and profitable.
If you need any further advice, we’ll look forward to hearing from you.