It’s a lot like internet dating to fill a spare bedroom in your home or apartment. To begin with, you’ll need a means to entice the candidate with attractive images.
Then you must screen and vet this individual to ensure that you are compatible.
Examining their personal and professional profiles is part of this:
Is this someone with whom you can get along?
Do you think you could live with this person?
What is the status of their credit?
Have they worked in the same job or line of work for most of their adult lives?
Subletting vs. Renting a Room
If you’re renting, keep in mind that subletting is the process of renting out a spare room, and you’ll need your landlord’s permission to do so.
In addition, the regulations governing subletting versus renting a room in your own house vary. The most significant distinction is that if you own a property and rent a room to a renter, you are considered a landlord.
Instead of a landlord-tenant relationship, when you sublease a room, the individual who ends up living with you is termed your roommate. However, whether you own or rent, the procedure for renting a place is the same in both cases.
Do you live in a condominium? Examine the HOA.
If you reside in a condo, the restrictions may be different since the homeowner’s association may ban extra tenants who aren’t family members.
In addition, each city and municipality has its own zoning rules, which may require a license or permission to rent to someone who isn’t a family member.
My Sublet Adventure
After my ex and I divorced a few years back, I found myself in need of a roommate. He left our gorgeous duplex flat in Los Angeles’ uber-trendy Echo Park district. My ex and I were renting at the time, so we divided the rent, as many couples do.
I opted to retain the two-bedroom duplex when he moved out since it was in such a great part of town, and I didn’t want to have to look for a new place to live. After a few months, I decided to find a roommate for the second room, which was cozier and smaller than the first.
I expected to be able to rent the apartment out immediately since it was so nice. It was only a question of making sure I wasn’t breaking any of my rental agreement’s key terms, and, of course, finding the proper individual.
Finding the right person to move into your home is important, but the first step is to attract that person through the right online channels.
So, throughout my hunt, did I come across the right person? Actually, I did! However, there were a few things I did to attract this individual, as well as procedures I followed to ensure I did as much research ahead of time as possible to prevent complications.
The Best Ways to Rent a Room in Your House
If you’re thinking of renting out a room in your home, here’s what you need to know.
1. Determine whether the space is available for rent.
Before you rent, you must first ensure that the necessary heating, plumbing, and electrical systems are in working condition and in place. In San Francisco, for example, a city law says that the owner of the property must provide heating that can keep the room at least 68 degrees.
If you break this rule, your landlord could give you a fine or even take you to court.
Make sure you adhere to your city’s and state’s tenant laws.
2. Ask for Permission if You’re a Tenant (If you don’t rent, proceed to the third suggestion.)
You must get authorization to sublease from your landlord, even if he or she is a faceless, faceless thing.
Anyone who moves into your house now shares the space with you and is responsible for paying the landlord’s rent. Therefore, his or her name must be on the lease. It’s important to protect yourself in case your potential roommate causes damage to the property or violates any of the regulations.
My landlord was quite kind, and when I explained my position to him through email, he stated it was acceptable as long as she signed the lease and had solid employment.
3. Prepare the Photographic Environment
The importance of images cannot be overstated. It’s what entices and attracts prospective tenants. Consider it the hook; if you don’t shoot the greatest images, you’ll lose prospective tenants.
The goal is to attract as many interested applications as possible so that you may pick from a pool of candidates. You don’t want to choose someone who applied just because he or she was the only one who was interested.
This is only possible because of the amazing images, so be sure you follow the instructions below.
Get Rid of Clutter
The first step is to wipe away all of the clutter in the area and snap some clean shots that highlight the room’s greatest features. If you know how to use a picture-editing program’s basics, you can also crop out some of the extra stuff.
If you need to get rid of items that have been kept in the spare room, use Decluttr.
Ensure that the lighting is bright.
Is the sun shining strongly at a certain time? If that’s the case, take the shots then, and don’t forget to open the curtains and blinds to obtain the ideal lighting for your photos.
Turn on the lights and make sure they’re bright if the room doesn’t receive much sunlight or if it’s a dark day.
Highlight the room’s best features.
Is there a beautiful landscape just outside your windows? Is there a private terrace, a reading nook, or a unique loft area?
Take a lot of pictures of it and be sure to include it in the description.
These blurry photos should be deleted right away.
Nothing is more annoying than photographs that are fuzzy! Also, ensure that the photographs are of a reasonable pixel size. If you’re uncertain, photographs with a resolution of at least 750 pixels are recommended.
I’ve seen landlords upload images that are so small that it’s difficult to tell what the property looks like.
After taking pictures of the room, take pictures of the rest of the house, including the living room, kitchen, shared bathrooms, and outdoor space.
4. Utilize photo editing software.
I suggest that you use a few simple web editing tools to make your images look better.
Use the following guidelines to assist you while editing:
Is it necessary to crop the image? (For example, is there a mess at the foot of the bed?)
Is the photograph skewed? If that’s the case, sort it out.
Is the image a little dark? If that’s the case, you can brighten it up a little.
I personally prefer Pixlr, which is a simple, free program that allows you to crop, straighten, and brighten photographs quickly.
5. Do Not Use Filters
It’s one thing to make a pleasing Instagram filter for a picture of you and your buddies or your most recent vacation to the mountains, but it’s quite another to do so for a place that will be occupied.
You don’t need to use filters because you want the space to look as real as possible.
Take Photographs of the Surrounding Area
Landlords often want to stress the greatest features of the neighborhood, particularly if it’s in a hip area or in a place with a high walkability score.
Include images of local things to do and visit, such as the bakery, coffee shop, apparel stores, restaurants, and parks, if you reside in a very desired location.
7. Consider videotaping the room.
A video may be really useful when it comes to showing prospective candidates what the space looks like. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; just demonstrate how the room, closet, and bathroom are decorated.
If the room is presently equipped but will be delivered unfurnished, make a mention of that in the picture description. In my opinion, it’s always useful to see how the space will appear with some furniture in it.
See what rooms in your region are renting for on Craigslist, Trulia, or Zillow.
Make more money by renting out the master bedroom.
Consider renting out your master bedroom or basement area, if you have one, to save money and earn more for the room, since it may include a connected bathroom and extra space.
Just make sure that the plumbing, electricity, and heating are all working in the basement.
Because it’s more private, greater space and an attached bathroom are wonderful methods to recruit tenants. It’s much better if there’s a separate entrance and parking spot.
9. What to Include in the Room’s Price
Consider additional charges to be included in the monthly rent when settling on a rent sum. Because you’ll both be utilizing them, think about shared places like the bathroom and kitchen, as well as what home supplies you’d want to add.
I made my roommate pay an additional $20 when she signed the lease to cover toilet paper, laundry detergent, paper towels, and trash bags.
This made me feel like I wasn’t the parent who had to offer these things to her child. It also gave my roommate comfort in knowing that she was contributing and not hogging my belongings all of the time.
I’ve also heard of individuals chipping in for housekeeping services once a month to maintain the home spotless. This also relieves one person of the responsibility of continually cleaning — particularly if the other person is the dirtiest.
10. The Best Places to Post Your Ad: Remember when Craigslist was the only place to look for a roommate or a tenant?
Technology and applications have made it much easier to locate someone to rent out your space. Many of these websites are happy to help you find good housemates and get rid of scammers and weirdos who use the internet.
Roommates.com, RoomieMatch, and Roomi are just a few of the services you may use to locate a roommate.
PadMapper.com lets people find your apartment based on where it is, and it has a map that can help you narrow your search to a certain area or street.
You have the option to sublease or rent out a room when you sign up.
When searching for a roommate, RoomieMatch.com claims to weed out any “scum, fraud, and red flags.”
They’re the anti-Craigslist in that they assist you in navigating the often anonymous and shadier side of the internet. They use human touches throughout the process to make it easier for you to get to know potential housemates.
A free search is available, as well as a premium version for $19.95 per year.
Another comparable website that might assist you in finding the ideal roommate is Roommates.com.
You can establish a profile for free, but you’ll have to pay to log in and chat with possible roommates. They provide a $5.99 three-day trial, a $19.99 30-day subscription, and a $29.99 60-day bundle.
It’s worth noting that communicating with people on the site is a little more tricky since the other party must also have a paid account in order to see your messages.
Roomi Roomi’s website is well-designed in an Airbnb-style layout and is simple to use. The platform is aimed at helping you rapidly locate someone to live with by allowing you to screen possible housemates.
You can also rent out a room temporarily while you look for a roommate.
For three days, it costs $2.99, and for ten days, it costs $9.99.
Another website where you can advertise a room, a whole house, or look for a roommate or renter is Roomster.com.
Applicants may look for jobs in their area, city, or ZIP code. To join up, you must have a Facebook account. This is to ensure that you are a human and not a bot.
After signing in, you have the choice of selecting a room or listing a room.
Hotpads.com isn’t as focused on roommates as the other sites, but it does provide a wide platform for advertising your room to prospective tenants. Users may search by location on the site, and the app is also highly user-friendly.
Facebook Marketplace is a platform for selling items.
When looking for a roommate, do friends of friends boost the trust factor? Yes, I agree.
It’s free to publish, and Facebook Messenger makes communication a breeze.
The site is user-friendly and well-designed. Renters and homeowners are brought together through Lovely. The user interface is like HotPads in that you can use a map to narrow down your search.
I ended up finding my roommate using Craigslist. Along the way, I encountered a few dubious characters. However, if you’re really specific in your description and what you’re looking for, it could work.
I only use it as a last choice since other services, such as Roomi, HotPads, and Roomster, offer more user-friendly platforms.
11. Focus on local colleges.
Because it’s just a room and not a whole apartment, you may want to look for it on sites that appeal to college students, or contact the local college or university’s housing office, or look for it in the online campus newspaper.
Another effective strategy to get the word out is to ask your friends and relatives if they know anybody seeking a place to rent. Make a Facebook post about it.
12. Have you heard of Airbnb?
I decided to include Airbnb on the list since it may be a viable option for finding a long-term renter or roommate. If you live in a major city with a lot of visitors and business people passing through for work, Airbnb is definitely the best option.
If you’re a tenant, you’ll need permission from your landlord.
There are benefits and drawbacks to utilizing Airbnb, so think about them before deciding whether it’s right for you.
The Advantages of Using Airbnb
You may generate more money by charging a per-night charge for the accommodation on Airbnb.
You wouldn’t have a permanent occupant in the space.
Meeting diverse types of individuals might be entertaining (or this could also be a con, depending on your social preferences).
The Drawbacks of Using Airbnb
You’d have to keep the room as well as the shared spaces spotless.
There’s a chance that no one will reserve the accommodation, and it will sit vacant.
Strangers enter your house on a regular basis (again, this could be good or bad, depending on your personality and lifestyle).
13 Characteristics to Look for in a Tenant
While looking for a roommate, I met a wide range of people. I used to be interested in sharing a room with a man, but after meeting a few weird guys, I decided to give up on that idea and focus only on women.
Since I haven’t had a roommate since college, I wanted to be clear about what I wanted. I didn’t want to leave any room for misunderstandings, which could lead to a stressful situation down the road.
Make a list of the kinds of tenants you’re searching for, including non-negotiables. It will be hard to live with a horrible renter, and it is not worth it! As a result, it’s critical to be forthright and specific in your explanation.
This is how mine appeared:
has a solid full-time job.
isn’t a pet owner.
doesn’t use drugs or have any substance abuse issues.
She is preoccupied with her own life and schedule, and she does not work from home.
In addition, I established a stringent no-sleepover policy. That is to say, my roommate should not bring any overnight guests. Because I worked East Coast hours and had to get up quite early, quiet time began at 9 p.m.
In general, I want this individual to have a steady existence.
14. What to Ask During a Screening Inquire about current and previous jobs.
How long has the candidate been employed in their current and prior positions? Look for irregularities in their income since it is critical to the stability of the household and your ability to get timely rent payments.
In terms of living conditions, I prefer to ask questions about future objectives and ambitions. Is this just a temporary arrangement, or are they seeking a long-term home? Do they have to travel a lot for their job?
It’s up to you to learn all you can about the candidate, but the most important thing to consider is how well you believe you’ll get along with this individual and how comfortable you’ll be living together on a daily basis.
While you obviously do not want to discriminate, you should trust your instincts and move on to the next application if anything about this individual seems “wrong.”
Ask for documentation of college enrolment if the individual is a student.
15. First, try a video call.
Some individuals, especially those who date online, like to be cautious while determining whether or not to meet in person. Consider it a second layer of screening.
If the candidate resides out of state and won’t be able to see you in person until a later date, this is a fantastic choice. Google Hangouts are an excellent way to “meet” him or her.
I requested past references as well as contact information for previous landlords.
My roommate had stayed at home before relocating to Los Angeles for work, but she provided me with the phone numbers of a handful of her coworkers and bosses.
I made a point of calling her, and everyone agreed that she was a clever, kind, and courteous person who would make an excellent roommate.
17. Hold an open house.
If you live in a desirable neighborhood with a high walkability score, try scheduling one-time roommate viewings so that everyone can meet you and see the space on the same day.
Of course, doing it this way means you won’t be able to have as many one-on-one talks with everyone, but it will save you the time and effort of scheduling a time for them to come over and meet you and view the space.
How to Perform a Credit Check
When I informed my landlord I was searching for a roommate to fill the second room, he requested evidence of work instead of a credit check. When it came to filling the space, he urged that I “use my best judgment.” But I think my landlord is an exception, and I’d strongly suggest that you check the credit of anyone you’re thinking of hiring.
To begin with, you’ll need to receive an application from them and their consent to perform a credit check.
The following items should be included in the application:
The Social Security Administration assigned a
The two addresses before this one
Previous landlords’ contact information
Then you must charge the prospective renter a fee to run the report.
Note: In order to save money on the charge, some potential renters may supply their own current copy of their credit report.
It is entirely up to the landlord to determine whether or not to get their own credit report, although many landlords choose to do so in order to obtain a background check.
You may check your credit with any of the major credit bureaus. They make it simple for landlords to do credit checks.
Some of the charges are uncertain, but for the most part, the renter is responsible for paying the fee, so collect it ahead of time if possible.
There is no charge for landlords to do a credit check on their renters.
TransUnion offers a resident screening, but the fee is unknown. They also provide SmartMove, which is a free service that helps landlords and renters speed the credit check process. The tenant must be invited by the landlord.
Equifax provides tenant and resident screening.
Cozy provides complete tenant screening reports, including a credit report and background checks. A background check and credit report alone cost $24.99, while a complete screening report costs $39.99 (to be paid by the potential tenant).
19. What to Look for After You’ve Finished Reading the Report
Look for the following blemishes:
Accounts owed to you
Accounts that are past due or have been dismissed.
Eviction sBankruptcy sForeclosure
If you see several bad marks, this might be a warning sign, since their financial past may predict their future behavior. However, if you notice one bad mark on a late payment, apply your common sense.
For example, just inquire about it with the candidate and learn what transpired. Maybe that was a one-time occurrence that won’t happen again.
When you notice a bankruptcy from a few years ago, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should instantly discard this individual. The inability to pay back exorbitant medical expenses is the most common reason individuals file for bankruptcy.
Life occurs, and individuals can’t always forecast their income or unexpected debt. Simply talking to the individual and asking what occurred could be beneficial.
20. Make the Lease Agreement Your Own
You may easily locate a rental agreement form online, but be sure to customize it to incorporate all of your home’s rules and expectations.
Pinterest has a variety of free leasing agreements available for download.
The following items should be included in the rental agreement:
The monthly rent
The length of the contract
When is it due?
Whether or not utilities are included, and if so, which ones and how much they cost.
Expectations for parking, shared areas, and laundry services
expectations for routines in shared living situations, such as cleaning the kitchen, communal spaces, noise level, and overnight visitors.
Pet-related rules (if you accept them)
If you’re renting, get a lease document with the new tenant’s name on it from your landlord.
Make sure you provide a copy of the lease agreement to your prospective roommate or renter.
21. Put down a full month’s rent as a deposit.
Make sure you collect the security deposit before they move in and inform them that if anything is destroyed, it will be deducted from that money.
22. Research Your State’s Tenant Laws
It’s a good idea to brush up on the fundamentals of your state’s rental legislation. Understand your potential tenant’s rights as well as your rights as a landlord, particularly if this is your first time renting out a room.
A map-based legislation and regulations page on Landlordology may be useful in your investigation. This is a great place to learn about rental revenue (and if it’s taxed) and landlord-tenant legislation.
Finding a renter or roommate for a room in your home may seem straightforward, but putting your ducks in a row ahead of time is critical to your success.
Due diligence is important for anything with a lot of moving parts. Being ready will help you avoid problems and clear up any misunderstandings before they happen.
In my instance, I was fortunate enough to locate a fantastic roommate with whom I shared six months. She was aware of the rules, and I hardly ever saw her because she was preoccupied with her job, friends, and weekend activities.
She knew when to pay rent, and we both knew what the other person expected of us. This ensured easy sailing and a stress-free living scenario for us.