I'm wondering about the logistics of providing single-room housing for military personnel. If anyone is involved in the military, I would love your insight into our idea or to hear from landlords doing something similar.
Myself and my husband recently bought a triplex very close to Fort Lewis in Tacoma in Washington State. It's 15 minutes away from the base and also close to a street with bars, etc.
The main big unit in the triplex has 5 bedrooms. Each room is about the same size and each has a walk in closet. The kitchen and living room and laundry room are large as well.
Provide month to month (or otherwise short) leases to military personnel per room. 5 rooms = 5 separate leases. It would be around 600-700 per month with all utilities included. The living room would be furnished and we are debating on furnishing the individual bedrooms.
Is this a thing that has been done before? Are there other landlords that have provided military housing on individual leases before? Is this a needed service ?
Is furnishing the individual rooms a necessary amenity?
Also, Are there specialty apartments? (Such as women only, etc?)
Any insight is much appreciated!
I can somewhat weigh in on a couple of the points up for discussion here. I've not done it personally, but a good friend of mine has a few 5 bedroom houses in Tukwila and rents out individual rooms (not military). Granted, they are longer term month-to-month, but they're all doing well. Including utilities, internet, cable, consumables (toilet paper and such), and a bi-weekly maid service keep the drama to a minimum. Especially the maid.
I think if you're going to be doing short term leases your prospective tenants are probably going to be looking for a furnished place. It's tough to justify furnishing a room for just a month or two, especially if you're just passing through town on a quick deployment.
JBLM might have a program to assist military in finding housing much like hospitals do for travel nurses. I'd dig around and see if they have certain criteria to be on their radar. I wouldn't be surprised if you could directly link up with the base under the right circumstances.
Some municipalities are strict on multiple leases on one unit so check with the higher ups as well before you spend too much time on it. That's all I've got to say on it!
I would be concerned with individual leases in a common living space. How would this work if one person failed or refused to pay? I would think it might be hard to evict the delinquent individual because you have a shared living space with people that are current with thier rent.
It maybe difficult to have one individual's personal belongings remove by the sheriff during an eviction because multiple people are living in the same space. The sheriff might be very reluctant to remove anything in fear of removing the wrong things.
This could be difficult to manage depending on the tenants. You may want to look at setting it up as clean house or recovery house. Find an organization that helps people recovering. The organization would pay for the unit and they have a head of the house manage the rooms and people residing.
I maybe wrong but I would read the tenant/landlord act very carefully before I house hacked an apartment I wasn't living in.
Michael @ Sound Tenement
@Erin Caldwell I just sold my rental in Tacoma before moving to Mississippi in April. When we rented to military, we got their commanders contact information on the rental application. We also rented month-to-month but we had a two bedroom two bath house. One renter was on the lease and if he wanted to rent out a room he could but he was responsible for the whole monthly rent. Everyone that occupied the house had to pass background check. It worked well for us they're very accountable when it comes to payment when they know you have their commanders contact information. However single rooms may run into competition with them just staying in the barracks.
@Erin Caldwell I can only speak on the military side being that I am active duty Army with 8 years of service. I would make sure to get commanders contact information like Tim mentioned. If you are willing to be flexible on rental lengths it could really pay off. Many personal travel TDY and you could have a furnished room rented weekly and others more of a mid to long term.
Just keep in mind that the Army is not a collection service. They can help the Soldier pay you or punish him for indebtedness, but they can't make him, and most CDRs and 1SGs aren't very interested in your problem.
Look up BAH rates and you could rent "cheap" to Geo Bachelors that have families elsewhere to support... these work out great because they tend to be quiet and respectful. Also you might want have some more senior people in the house... this would keep the more junior people in line (in theory).
@Erin Caldwell I'd go down to one of the free monthly RHA meetings. They take place in several counties, but the Pierce County one is in Fife. Here's the info:
The folks who put those on will certainly have the answers you seek!
Hi @Erin Caldwell . I looked into something similar for a college town in upstate NY (Syracuse, I think). I went to the student rentals website and there were several properties that were rented by the room. You can get lots of ideas for leases, how to run the house, etc. I think it's an excellent idea- especially considering the laws concerning active duty orders and leases. One thing I would check are the local ordinances regarding rentals. Some have a limit on how many non-related people can occupy one unit. I wouldn't be too worried about sheriffs and evictions. For one thing, you'll probably be able to avoid eviction on active-duty military. For another, the sheriffs office doesn't actually remove the belongings. That's up to you. They are just there to monitor the situation.
You should probably furnish the house with furniture that can hold up well to rough handling (no dainty fabric furniture). A couple other things you could do to really make it attractive to soldiers- really big flat screen in the living room area. If there's room, put a pool table or other type game table. You know, make it like a man-cave.
Does the post have any longer-term training schools? Back in the day, I was PCS'd for a 9 month on-the-job training after a school. It was basically impossible to find someone willing to do a 9 month lease- plus, my rank was higher, so I wasn't allowed to live on base. Find out, and make contact with the school (if they have such a program).
Free eBook from BiggerPockets!
Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!
- Actionable advice for getting started,
- Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
- Learn how to get started with or without money,
- Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
- And a LOT more.
Sign up below to download the eBook for FREE today!
We hate spam just as much as you