Friend becoming a Tenant

44 Replies

If you don't want to risk losing the friendship I wouldn't rent to them. Tell them you like to keep your friends and business separate. It is not if but when they may be late on rent, are too loud, flood the tub. Plenty of good people out there.

Yes, there can be all kinds of problems renting to friends, but it seems to work for us. Our very first tenant 7 years ago was a friend, and he's still renting from us. We have rented two other houses to friends who have since moved, one after a year, one after 3 years. We currently rent to 2 other friends, one has been there 3 years, the other moved in June 1st, and is the senior minister at our church.

We are on good terms with all of them.

Will this practice bite us in the rear at some point? Possibly. But it works for us. We also live in a small town (2100 pop.) so we're likely to know most of our applicants or someone they are related to.

@Dale Abella we are preparing a house right now. The original owner rented it out to friends/family. They sold it because they didn’t want to kick them out among other reasons but that was their main reason. We of course did and the house was in terrible condition. Dirtiest carpet ever among so much other crap.


You got to ask yourself Are you prepared to evict your friend if worse comes to worse? Are you ready to say no to ******** excuses they might come up with?

Why put your friendship and investment on the line. It’s not that hard to find a tenant

No good deed goes unpunished.

If it’s like a work friend that might be different but otherwise I’m a big no don’t do it advocate

Good luck

You can get a lawyer to draw you up a lease if you want but you probably don’t need it.

@Dale Abella

I just bought my first property in April and rented it to my buddy in May. I saw everywhere on here and elsewhere to not rent to a friend. I did it anyways to get my feet wet as a property manager. We drew up a lease from websites such as law depot and our state provided lease. He signed and understood its business. We’re both military and he plans on leaving at the end of the lease so I knew it would be short term. So far I’ve had no issues. I knew he would be responsible with payments so I wasn’t worried about not getting paid. We actually hang out and may blur the line, but no issues so far. I think it would not be a bad idea if you actually had friends that pay on time, are responsible, clean, and respect each other.

So this is a SFR, 3 bedroom house, correct? Meaning you will be sharing common living spaces.

In this case, it’s more of a roommate situation on top of your significant other. That’s a lot of personalities under one roof, especially if they are paying you rent. It will never feel like their home and it can be awkward quickly.

I would suggest avoiding renting to family, but if you’re bringing in a roommate to help with the finances and they are living in a shared space with you, the best thing to do is be clear upfront and let them know boundaries and expectations. I would create more of a joint agreement like college roommates vs. a lease so they feel they have a say in what is acceptable.

If they have their own unit, ignore all of that and just get a strong lease, but be firm and tell them you can’t do any favors just because their family.

When you’re house hacking your own personal house, or apartment/unit, then my preference has always been to get a friend or relative. It’s almost identical to a roommate situation, which people do successfully all the time. Just make sure to be up front about the expectations and costs up front.

Your alternative is to rent a room to someone you don’t know. People do this successfully, in fact I just place a tenant in a vacant unit who has lived in this situation previously and the owner said she would not have re-rented to him just because of a clash of personality. An otherwise “clean” candidate, I haven’t had any issues with him.

It seems preferable to me to take a risk with losing money vs having to live with someone you might not be completely comfortable living around (and not necessarily because they’re a bad tenant). It is your house after all. At least with a friend, you should have a better idea of who they are.

Renting units to friends and family that aren’t house hacks is very different. I have done this a few times, but with the constant awareness that future problems may arise.

More often than not, members will tell you not to rent to friends or family. For good reasons of course. However, one of my best friends rents out a SFH of mine and he is by and far the best tenant I could have hoped for and I hope he never leaves, although it is kind of inevitable. Sign a standard lease, have a beer with them and make sure they know it is a business and nothing is ever personal. Depending on your relationship it might be fine. Use your best judgment.

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :
Originally posted by @Harrison Sharp:

@Dennis M.

Weird. I’ve been renting two bedrooms in my house for the last year to two of my friends and it’s worked out great with 0 issues.

Okay but Your a rare exception to the rule 


I would rather rent and live in my residence with friends. As long as you communicate up front the responsibilities it works. I wouldn’t do it on a rental but for the right situation it makes sense 


You definitely need to treat your friends like normal tenants. And absolutely you need to sign a lease with your friends which lay out the terms. A lease is not only a document which protects you, and also your friend. It is essential.

Our situation was a little different but wanted to add in a positive experience of having a friend as a tenant in one of our properties.

Backstory: He’s a dear friend of my wife’s whole community and something of a religious sage to them. Which is problematic in all the ways. But the guy has been there ten years and counting, paying rent every month.

Here’s the upside: We all think about the horror stories of renting to friends, but not how they can be assets to our businesses. We had a horror-story of a property manager last year. Totally ghosted from across the country (us in CA, property in TX). It killed a refi deal with our lender and put us in a bind. Having our longtime friend there saved the day. He was able to field communications with the other tenants and be a point-person until we secured new management. 

If I had to do it over again, I would never again rent to anyone with whom I had even a passing acquaintance. But silver linings can be silver linings.

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