Renting out rooms vs unit

1 Reply

Hi all,

I'm looking into potential purchase of a vacant duplex in Oakland. I would plan to move into one unit and rent other out. I understand with Measure Y, the second unit would be rent-controlled / eviction protected. However, for the unit that I plan to rent out, is it possible to rent out bedrooms instead of the entire unit? Say it's a 3 bedroom unit, it could be that renting out 3 shared bedrooms could bring in more rent than renting a 3 bedroom.  I'm not thinking of Airbnb or anything, just having standard leases. Plus I'm a little nervous about one person taking the lease, then holding on and renting out the other bedrooms at market rate down the line.

I know it's probably more overhead and perhaps more liability (e.g., if someone damages the stove, can I hold them all responsible if they're all separate?), just looking to understand the trade-offs.


Depending on the jurisdiction, you might run into rooming house regulations. You'll have to check on it.

I have rental in areas where it prohibits 3 or more unrelated people living together unless approved as a rooming house. So if you get into a dispute with a neighbor, they could complain to the town. Other than that, they don't come around to check.

I had a SFR rental tenant complaining about a neighboring house rented to roommates, they often have friends coming over to play cards, park their cars in the public street in front of our SFR. He complained, and they told him, the LAW SAYS it's a public street. He responded THE LAW says you didn't get an approval for a rooming house, for 3 or more unrelated people. They didn't park there anymore. Guessed they checked on the law.

I rented the SFR a few times to roommates, and sometimes they have three. Its got 3 bedrooms. No one bothered me on it. If I rented rooms out, someone could say, "hey, who said you can run a rooming house."

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