There’s plenty of money to be made in renting a room out short term. Plus, if you don’t get along with the tenant, you may never have to see their face again come lease end!
However, whether you’re hosting a student as a homestay or advertising on Airbnb, here are some crucial points to consider before opening your doors.
Follow your gut:
Before you say yes to an applicant, be sure to arrange some sort of interview, whether in person or on the phone. These people will be in your personal space so you want to make sure you feel comfortable and safe with them. Ask them for contacts and references that can affirm their good character. Also, try to meet them in person (maybe with a friend) and go with your instincts as to whether you want to share a place with this person.
Saving your tenants details is crucial for safety reasons, for you and for them. Should a theft occur or if your tenant goes missing, a copy of their personal details can protect the both of you and assist you in where to start with the authorities. Try to get as much reasonable information from your tenant as possible (including contact details).
The website you contact your tenant through will already have rules and guidelines in place that your applicant would have to accept when applying to use the platform (often described as ‘terms and conditions’). Be sure to keep a copy of these as a form of leverage to protect your interests should any issues arise. You may also want to consider creating your own contractual agreement for both parties to sign which specifies the nature of the lease and the rules of the house. Once signed, they will need to abide by these rules. Here are some things you may want to specify.
- Identification of the contractual parties (you and the tenant/s)
- Whether they are allowed to bring guests and the parameters of such occasions
- Duration of the lease period
- The rental fee and how payment will occur
- Inclusions in the lease, i.e. access to washing machines, internet, key, curfew
- General cleanliness expectation
- Areas which are out of bounds (such as your bedroom)
- Whether meals are included
- Rules of the house
Speaking of rules:
If there are certain “no-nos” in your home which you wish to convey to your guests, be sure to inform them through a list of rules. However, be fair and realistic with your expectations, no one likes a fascist. Print out and laminate the rules and leave them pinned to their bedroom wall or in areas where the rules would apply. For example, if showers are to be limited to 3 minutes only, stick the rule to the bathroom mirror to remind them.
Ensuring you receive a deposit is crucial to securing the physical integrity of your property. From careless scratches to large-scale catastrophes, be sure to obtain a reasonable deposit to cover damage to the room. It’ll also encourage your tenants to take more care in maintaining the place, rather than being reckless. Also, be sure to specify the deposit amount in the contract.
Keep all your precious bits and bobs out of reach and locked in your room. While it’s obvious if a TV or laptop goes missing, smaller items can be stolen for eons before anyone notices. Perhaps, conceal jewellery and cash in a fake book on your bookshelf, or even in the lining of a jacket you don’t wear in the closet.
The information contained in this article is provided as general advice only and does not constitute a recommendation to enter into this type of arrangement. We encourage you to seek independent legal advice prior to entering into any such arrangement.