The risks of renting a room in your house
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
Renting a room in your house is something quite regular these days, but it's not entirely risk-free. The minute you let a stranger live in your home, you have to be ready for everything. Potential tenants tend to really sell themselves - they can make you believe they are responsible and trustworthy, when in fact their background might not be that clean. That is why before you sign the agreement with the tenant you need to do a few basic checks. One of them is a credit check, which ensures that the tenant is capable of paying rent. Another thing you can legally ask for is an employer's reference. You can even check the tenant's criminal background if it will help you feel calmer. Once your tenant is settled in, pay attention to the things he/she does. If you are not pleased with anything, tell them in the very beginning. The common problems of tenants renting a room in a house are noise and breach of privacy. You can choose whether to allow your tenant to use more than just a room. They will obviously need a bathroom, but the kitchen, living room and other rooms can be just for your use. Some tenants may try using these rooms when you are not home, which includes eating your food, touching your belongings and going through your stuff. Letting someone live in your family home is always somewhat risky, but the worst is when you can't control the tenant, because you have to travel or go to work. They can literally use everything they want. If you don't trust your tenant, lock your rooms. It may seem a bit extreme, but you have all the rights to do so, especially your bedroom or study - this should be a no-access area. Another problem is of course the tenant's habits. Sharing a place with a stranger can be annoying when you are not used to people doing things differently - this includes washing dishes, being messy and leaving personal belongings around the house, coming home late at night, waking you up, inviting strangers, and invading your personal space. Are you ready to wait for the bathroom in the morning when you have to rush to work? Or worry about your electric appliances after you leave home? A tenant can easily burn or break something they haven't used before. Some tenants have no shame - they would walk around your house in their bath towel, sit and watch television for hours, leave their dirty dishes for you to wash, listen to loud music and so on and so forth. One way to control that from the very beginning is to make the tenant fill in a detailed questionnaire. You need to find a tenant that is compatible with you, your family and lifestyle. If you don't want a tenant practicing their musical instruments at your place, just reject them. There are cases of tenants even stealing the owner's personal details and financial records and managing to sell the house without their knowledge. This is a real nightmare, but it can happen if you are not careful. Always lock your most expensive belongings. Even if you trust the tenant they might invite someone who wouldn't think twice before stealing something. These are of course worst scenarios. The most common ones include your tenant trying to be friends with you, which can end up in them not paying rent on time or sitting in your living room for ages. Being on good terms with your tenant is good, but don't let them take over your place.