Renting out a part of your house can sometimes be a complex task to begin, since there are so many more variables than with standard rental units. Figuring the logistics and researching tax and legal aspects of this arrangement can prove to be quite overwhelming. Once these things have been established, however, the benefits to renting a portion of your house will likely leave you thankful you took the steps to accomplishing this arrangement.
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Determine what portion of your home you are willing and able to give up or share. For example, if you have an extra bedroom with two closets and you keep winter clothes in one closet, are you willing to move those clothes and stay out of your renter's room? If you need to keep your clothing there, you should add a provision to the lease that you may have access to that closet when necessary. Since the kitchen is a common area that a renter would need to have access to, be prepared to share your dishes and other kitchen items and to be clear about cleaning arrangements. Will the renter have access to your living or family-room area? All logistic details should be mapped out.
Calculate the amount you will be charging for rent, as well as what utilities will be included. If you are going to charge a flat rental fee and you will cover all utilities under that umbrella, you may want to include specific rules regarding reasonable electricity and heat usage. A renter who leaves their TV on all night while they sleep or turns the heat up to 80 because they are always cold could cause your bills to skyrocket in the blink of an eye, not to mention the cost of your own stress and aggravation. Websites such as http://www.real-estate-owner.com/renting-a-room.html are available online that help you calculate tax-deductible expenses based on a ratio-proportion of your home's expenses. These numbers should be considered when determining how much rent you will want to charge.
Search for a roommate. The venues for seeking a roommate or renter are seemingly limitless. Word of mouth, real estate ads, flyers, local newspapers and campus notice boards are just a few examples of potential ways to find someone to rent a portion of your home. Websites such as roomyou.com (http://www.roomyou.com/) and craigslist.org (http://www.craigslist.org/) are excellent ways to reach out to people looking for a room to rent. You should have an application handy such as the free template found at http://www.housing.ucsc.edu/cro/pdf/rental_agreement-room.pdf, and you will want to do a background check through a resource such as intelius.com (http://www.intelius.com/) or even your local police department.
Interview multiple applicants. When meeting with a potential roommate, inquire about work schedules to determine if you and her can feasibly work around each other's bathroom and kitchen time if these rooms are shared. Discuss whether the applicant has a boyfriend or girlfriend or close family member nearby, and if they expect to be able to have visitors. If you are willing to allow company, write your specific rules regarding company into the agreement. Remember that you are giving up a portion of your privacy in extending a part of your home to another individual, and you need to feel comfortable in your own home and confident in your decision, while being legally protected by the terms of your lease.
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