If you’re interested in renting a room in your house, there are a number of steps which you should take in order to protect your interests. Especially if you’re looking to list rooms to rent for the first time and want to ensure that you select a trust-worthy tenant who you’ll get on with. Read on to learn about a few simple ways to make your room rental as smooth as possible.
1. Ask for References
Before you agree to rent out a room in your house to an applicant, it’s critical to ask for a reference. As if an applicant has a glowing reference from a past landlord, it’s likely that they’ll be a clean, courteous tenant who pays their rent on time.
If an applicant provides you with a reference, don’t hesitate to contact their provided reference for more information. You should always contact provided references as some individuals provide fake references as they have negative histories with their past landlords.
2. Ask for Proof of Income
In order to ensure that a potential tenant has the means to pay their rent on an ongoing basis, it’s crucial to request proof of income.
There are a few ways which potential tenants can provide proof of income. As examples, they can provide you with their latest annual tax return or with a detailed bank statement. Alternatively, a potential tenant may choose to provide you with their pay stubs or a letter of recommendation from their current employer.
3. Hold a Thorough In-Person Interview
If you’re looking for tips on renting out a room in your house, never make the mistake of renting out a room to an individual without holding a thorough in-person interview.
Some of the key questions which you should ask each potential tenant include whether or not they’ve ever been evicted from a property and the primary reason that they’re looking to move. It’s also important to find out if a possible tenant is looking to move into your spare room on their own or as part of a couple. As you may not want to rent a room to a couple, as you’ll have not one but two different personalities to deal with.
By having an in-person chat in your home, you should quickly be able to tell if you’ll get on with a potential tenant or not.
During your conversation you’ll also have a chance to talk about your expectations of a tenant to see if your potential tenant is a good match or not. For example, you may want to ask them if they plan on hosting social events at your home, if you’d prefer to have a quiet tenant in order to avoid renting your room to an individual who frequently hosts noisy social gatherings. You’ll also be able to talk to your potential tenant about your expectations around household chores.
4. Run a Background Check
If a possible new tenant ticks all of the boxes on your checklist, your next step should be to pay for an extensive background check on your potential tenant.
However, it’s important to thoroughly research the background check services offered by a variety of companies as the information which you’ll receive from each service will differ. For example, some background checks will list any bankruptcies which individuals have filed as well as whether or not an individual has been evicted from a property.
If you’re interested in renting out a room in your house, it’s well worth paying for a comprehensive background check which lists any criminal offences which an individual has committed as well as whether or not they’re a convicted sex offender. As your personal safety should be your top priority.
5. Become Familiar With Local Tenant Laws
Before you list your available room for rent, ensure that you are familiar with your local tenant laws as tenant laws vary from state to state. So be sure to find out what your obligations are as a landlord in your state as well as the rights of your tenant.
For example, in your state you may be responsible for quickly completing repairs that your tenant notifies you about, in a timely manner. To protect your interests, it’s also well worth learning about eviction laws in your state. As if you attempt to evict a tenant without following the legal eviction process in your state your tenant may choose to file an eviction lawsuit against you.
6. Create an Airtight Lease
Once you’re aware of the restrictions in your state around creating a lease, you’ll be able to create an airtight lease which will allow you to rightfully evict a tenant who fails to pay their rent on time or who breaks the conditions of their lease.
For example, you may want to write a clause which states that if your tenant damages your property, beyond normal wear and tear, that your tenant will be 100% responsible for paying for the damage which they have caused. It’s definitely a great idea to talk to a lawyer about drafting up an airtight lease if you’re never rented a room in your home before.
7. Take Photos of Your Home
If you’re interested in a house share agreement, make sure to take photos of the room which you plan to rent from multiple angles before your chosen tenant moves in so that you’ll be able to prove if your tenant damages your room.
It’s also a wise idea to take photos of common areas such as your lounge and dining room.
8. Notify Your Home Insurance Company
In order to ensure that your home insurance policy covers having a tenant move into your home, it’s important to contact your home insurance company as soon as possible. This is because you may be required to change your home insurance policy to cover having a tenant move into your home.
If you’ve been searching for valuable advice on safely renting a room in your home, be sure to follow all of the rental tips which are listed above. As it’s extremely important to wisely choose a tenant who you’ll feel comfortable living with and who will pay their rent on time each month. Especially if you’re interested in becoming a landlord for the first time.