Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Renting A Room to A Friend

Dec. 2, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I live in a nice size comfortable home alone.  One of my best girlfriends, who was recently divorced and don't have any children, is looking for a place to stay.  She asked if I could rent her a room.  What do I need to know up front?  Allowing Friend to Move In, Washington, DC

Dear Allowing Friend to Move In:

Getting a roommate is a great way to make extra money but you don't want it to become a nightmare at the same time, so there are several things you need to put into place first.

The first step you should take is to “get legal” by writing up a formal lease, just as if that person were renting an apartment.  You can find one online. 

Hopefully it doesn’t come to the point where you will actually have to pull out the lease and remind your roommate about agreements. 

You might be living with a friend but you never know how someone is going to act until you actually live with them, so be ready to handle any situation that arises.

Consider asking for a deposit in case of any damage or repairs to her room. Then you need to set some ground rules.  Have a meeting with your new roommate and discuss keeping common areas clean.  If you have ever seen the “Odd Couple,” then you know that a slob and clean freak don’t match. 

Discuss rules for visitors and let her know what are the reasonable hours for entertainment.  Talk about your tolerances to loud noises and music.  Also discuss overnight guests and how long they can stay.

Discuss other things such as taking out the trash, personal space, borrowing things, if pets are allowed, tardy rent payments and other important issues to you. 

The goal is not to let living together tarnish your friendship, so it’s important to set some ground rules.

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