Whether you are renting out a spare room, renting an apartment or are the one looking to rent, there are some key things to remember about tenant-landlord relationships. If you are renting out a room in your home, remember that the safety of your family should be an important factor in deciding whom to rent your room to.
As a Tenant
Many landlords will require a term longer than one month as a commitment to renting out a room. Negotiate with the landlord and let them know that you would like to commit to a short initial lease period, and that if everything works out, you will then commit to a longer lease. This helps the landlord rent the room for a predetermined period of time, and it allows you to be able to see if you want to live there without being locked into a long-term lease right away. In most cases a landlord will require a security deposit to be paid up front, along with the first month's rent. Be sure that the first month's rent is prorated based on what day of the month you are moving in to the room; if you are moving in on the 10th day of the month, you should not be expected to pay a full month's rent. A security deposit can also be used to help change the terms of the lease a bit. If the landlord initially indicated that they did not want pets in the room, that may change if you offer to pay a higher security deposit.
As a Landlord
Renting out your spare room is a great way to generate extra income on a monthly basis, but it is important to be sure that you are renting a room to someone you are comfortable with. Always have prospective tenants fill out an application that includes a reference to call for their current employer, references from the last places they have lived and character references. While renting a room is a source of income, it is important to remember that you are also sharing your home. So you want to be sure the person to whom you are renting can pay the rent and does not have a history of causing problems as a renter. College students are always looking for comfortable places to live during the school year, and your extra room could be perfect for that out-of-town college student who does not want to live in the dorms.