If you need help making your mortgage payment or just could use some extra cash, consider turning your spare bedroom into a rental for a college student. Whether you want to help a college student with housing or you enjoy being around young people or you want to supplement your income, renting out a room in your home can help you make some extra money or provide you with a helping hand around the house.
Draw up a rental agreement and collect a deposit from the renter. Have a potential renter sign and date the agreement, and give him a copy. Use a month-to-month rental agreement for renting out a room in your home, as this allows either the landlord or tenant to terminate the arrangement. The agreement is automatically renewed for one more month each time the tenant pays the rent.
Determine how the tenant will pay you. Decide whether you want money in exchange for rent or if you'll offer a rent reduction in exchange for work. Consider offering the room for rent in exchange for baby-sitting, yard work or household chores, or even for building and maintaining a website, if the college student has that skill set.
Decide when rent will be collected. This is usually in advance on the first day of the month for which the rent applies. Give a dated receipt to your tenant each time the rent is paid to keep accurate records.
Place an ad on free Internet classifieds and browse other ads while you're there. Check other advertisements for rooms in private homes to get an idea of average prices. Make it clear when you advertise that you are renting out a room in your private home and this is not a roommate situation. Outline some of your rules so that you will only get calls from students who are willing to follow your rules.
Call your local college's housing office and put your name on a list for potential tenants. Be prepared to answer questions like what your deposit and rent will be, what curfew restrictions you have and whether your kitchen or laundry facilities can be used.
Make up a document outlining rules of the house and have the tenant sign the document. Write down every rule you wish to enforce in the house. For example, if you will only permit cooking at certain times or if you don't wish to allow overnight guests, put it in the rules. Consider if you will be offering use of kitchen facilities and appliances. Determine if you will be offering use of your laundry facilities or would rather have your tenant use a laundromat. Spell out the consequences for breaking the rules. Have the potential tenant read and agree to the rules.
Provide a comfortable room. Include a television, phone, cable, lights and bathroom access. Make it as homey as possible so that the tenant will find the room a sanctuary.
If a student requests storage for her belongings while gone on break, take steps to make sure you won't be stuck with her stuff. Have her pack her items in mailable boxes. Collect a deposit from the her to cover the cost of mailing these belongings if she does not return. If she doesn't return by an agreed-upon date, send the items to her address. If she does return, return the postage deposit.
Things You'll Need
House rules list