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The Fundamentals of Renting out a Room

By Sadiya Anjum

Ever thought of renting out that extra bedroom that you hardly ever use? Letting a room in your house/apartment can be extremely profitable provided the law in your state permits this. You don’t need to have another property to rent it out to someone, if you can manage another person living in your house you can generate some easy income.

So many people out there are looking to rent a small place that does not eat up half their paycheck. Single people are renting apartments out together and have to deal with the disputes of who made which calls, how to split this bill, you never do your share of cleaning the kitchen etc. Most of them will be happy if they can rent a room for their own personal space and not have to worry about splitting bills. Another population that will be keen to rent out a single room is students. If you have a place close to a university or college, you can always find someone to rent that extra room.

Its not difficult to find a renter but you need to work out the logistics of this before you place the ad. While you may be able to work out a system all by yourself, here are some tips to get you started.

Fixing the rent: To keep it simple include the utilities and every other facility that the renter may use in the rent. Mark your rent in a manner that will include all the other bills. This way you do not replicate the problems that renters usually face when renting out with others. If the bills get too high, increase the rent. But if you demand too high a rent, you may not have anyone knocking on your door.

Payment of rent: Determine your rent and figure out how you want them to pay this. Also when do they pay – weekly, fortnightly, monthly basis.

Tenancy: Details about the tenancy should be worked out – the period of tenancy, rules for termination of tenancy, period of notice before either party decides the tenancy should end etc.

Fix your rules: You don’t have to be a school mistress but you need to work out what things will be unacceptable under your roof like pets, smoking etc. Especially if you are considering renting out to a student, you may want to watch out for noise level, the mess they create, friends staying over all the time etc.

Friends and relatives: Let your renter know whether you will allow him/her to have friends or relatives staying over. If yes, then for how long, whether they are allowed to use the common areas of the house/ apartment etc.

Once you work out the above details, try and keep them simple yet covering all the aspects of renting out a room. Place an ad in the newspaper preferably over the weekend. There is no need for an elaborate marketing strategy if you time your ad well and make the offer tempting enough. Include in the ad your unique selling proposition (USP) – for instance: no bills, just rent and all the facilities (name some) included.

When potential renters come, you need to screen them carefully. You do not want to rent out to an ex-con or a drug dealer. Write down a list of questions you want to ask them. To begin with get their telephone number, where they work (call and verify this), details about family members, people you can call in an emergency etc. Get references and follow up on them. Be careful who you choose to let in to your home and only rent out to a person who answers all your questions satisfactorily.

Renting out a room has its own benefits but if you get stuck with a difficult renter, it may put you off renting for a long time. Also if you have kids around you may think of the kind of person you want living around. Many details need to be worked out before you let someone into your home.

Additionally before you venture into renting that room out, please check for the laws in your state. If renting a room is permissible, find out the laws related to it. As long as the state gives you the green signal, plan out the above mentioned details carefully and generate that easy income.


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