Times might be tough and you might be living paycheck to paycheck. You may also happen to be living in a home with your spouse, or alone, due to family/friends moving out. If you have extra rooms, why not open them up for new roommates? It could be a great way to supplement your income and you may even make a few friends out of it? What’s the worst that could happen, right? Well… a lot, actually. The internet is littered with horror stories of people opening up their homes to strangers and regretting it. There are also stories of some inviting strangers to stay with them and it being one of the best ideas they’ve ever had. What could you do to make sure the experience is a pleasant one and keep the frustration down to a minimum?
First thing you should do is take your time with the screening process. Don’t immediately accept and guarantee everyone that answers your call for new roommates. Schedule meetings so you can get a better idea of who the people are and if they are a good fit for your home. You might want complete silence in your house at all times because you’re a student. Or, you might want a house filled with sounds of everyday activities. Whatever you might want, this is the time to make sure you express your concerns and lay out some guidelines. You may want to consider making some sort of contract, this way you’ll have proof that they knew the rules before moving in.
The next thing you should do is make sure your guidelines are being enforced. If you allowed pets, but not outside of their rooms, yet you see their cat laying on your couch… you should bring that up. Warn them once, twice, maybe a third time, but don’t let them talk you past your limit. There is only so much you should take before asking a roommate to leave. You may feel a little guilty, but they signed that contract and chose to not listen to the rules. If the ex-roommate refuses to leave, you not have grounds to contact authorities and show proof if they decide to make it a legal matter.
Being a landlord doesn’t have to be infuriating. It can actually be very financially beneficial, if you take your time and make sure things are done correctly. Remember, it’s your house and it’s your rules, so making sure they are enforced will allow everyone in the home to remain comfortable. Don’t let one or two individuals ruin the balance you have in your home, and don’t let them ruin the idea of having roommates. Sometimes it takes one or two attempts to find the right fit, but the important thing is that you keep trying. You will eventually find someone that makes the place feel just like home. Like I said earlier, you might even find some lifelong friends through this.