3 Ways A Real Estate Attorney Can Help You When You Rent A Room In Your Home

When money gets tight and causes you to fall behind on bills, you may begin looking for creative ways to make some extra cash. There are many ways to do this, but one simple option is to rent a room in your home. Renting a room is not always an easy situation to live with, but it can help pay the bills. Before you decide to do this, you should consult with a real estate attorney to get advice and assistance. Here are three ways a real estate attorney can help you prevent problems when renting a room in your home.

Understand the Legalities of This Arrangement

The first and most important element of renting a room out in your home is making sure you do it the legal way. Consulting a real estate attorney is the best way to make sure you are following all the rules in your town, and your attorney can help you meet the standards required. The standards you must follow depend on where you live. Here are some of the legal issues your attorney might discuss with you:

  • Local ordinances – Some cities might require you to report this room rental to them. They may need to rezone your property before you can do this, or you might simply need a certain type of permit before you can rent a room in your home. This often applies to people that rent an entire home, but may also apply to room rentals.
  • Fire and safety issues – You might also be required to provide a room that meets fire and safety rules in your area. For example, the room may need to have a window or exterior door for fire-safety reasons. You might also need to supply a smoke detector in the room or just outside of it.
  • Tax issues – Your attorney will also educate you about the tax consequences of this arrangement. When you collect money from rent, you must usually report it as income on your tax returns.

Taking these steps will help you avoid trouble from this arrangement, which is very important with any type of rental property.

Develop a Strategy for Privacy

The second thing to consider when renting a room is how you will each have the privacy you need. One good step your lawyer may suggest is placing locks on your bedroom door and on the door of the room the tenant will stay in. Keyed locks will give each of you privacy, and this is a good step to take to prevent issues such as theft.

Another thing to think about is the common space you may have to share. If you are renting a single room to someone, you may need to allow him or her access to the bathroom, kitchen, or living room in the home. Because of this, it may be hard to get the privacy you need at certain times of the day.

To accommodate for this, you may want to develop a set of rules relating to the times when each of you can access these rooms. This will help prevent conflicts, and it will help you both have the privacy you need.

Create a Lease Agreement

Your real estate attorney will also help you create a lease agreement that covers all the issues necessary with room rentals. This lease should cover the basics of renting a property, and this includes the length of the lease, monthly rental amount, and name of tenant. Because you are opening your house to someone else, the lease should also contain specific rules about things such as:

  • Guests – Will guests be allowed? If so, include rules about when they can come, how many can visit, and whether they are allowed to spend the night.
  • Food – Food is expensive, and your lease should include the details of how food will be purchased, used, stored, and consumed.
  • Utility bills – Your lease should also state what utilities are included with the rent and which ones are not.
  • Privacy – Including detailed information about how common areas will be shared is also vital for your lease agreement.

Renting a room in your home could be a great way to make money, but never do this without the help of a real estate attorney. If you would like to learn more about room rentals, contact a real estate attorney in your city.