Should a Roommate be treated like a Tenant?

5 Replies

Hi, Thanks for reading my post!

I am a new investor looking to rent a room in my house to free up some of my personal income for other opportunities. I am looking for a bit of professional advice. My question is if I am going to get a roommate in my house (owner/occupy), sharing the same space, should I have them do an application process like I would have a standard tenant renting the whole house? I plan to definitely have a lease agreement in writing, but should I make them also do a background check and credit check? Is that a fair thing to do? They would pay the fees for those screening processes. What do you think? If you were renting a room from someone would you pay for this to be considered?

(I would not be pulling from a pool of people that I already know, and I have never rented to anyone before) 

Hi Breanne! You should definitely still go through the full application process with a new roommate. You want to make sure they will be able to pay rent on time and don't have a criminal history (especially because they are living in the same house as you)! I would recommend utilizing the free landlord software out there that will provide you with marketing, online applications, and instant screening reports. To make sure your roommate is serious about renting from you, I would have them pay the application fee as will. 

Let me know if you need any software recommendations! 

Definitely do a background check.  The same way you would with any other tenant.  If anything, I would be MORE careful in my screening with someone who is going to share my home with me.  They should pay the application fee. 

I would also recommend a month-to-month lease.  That way, if things aren't really working out, either one of you can just give a 30-day notice (or whatever timeframe is required in your jurisdiction) and more easily move on to a better roommate fit.  You don't want to get stuck with someone you don't like.  Nor do you want someone living there who isn't happy about it.

Absolutely without a doubt in mind run all the background checks you possibly can!  As mentioned above, there are free sites that you could take advantage of which can be helpful, but I would highly recommend conducting a criminal background check through a local law enforcement agency.

Good Luck! 

Id submit you that a roommate living with you is even more of a reason to screen . You wouldn’t want to be sleeping in the same house as a child molester or rapist would you