How to Choose a Roomate?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Rikter8, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Rikter8

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    I'm about at wits end with the bills, and am entertaining renting out my finished basement to a tenant, but keep hearing more and more horror stories of dead beet renters.

    In Michigan, it takes months to remove somone from your home without pay, and many large paperwork fees to start the eviction process. So naturally I want to proceed with extreme caution and pick the right person.

    How would one screen for the right candidate?
    How do you protect your items in the house from one day coming home to an empty home?
     
  2. nudeyorker

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    Is it a separate apartment in the basement with it's own entrance?
    I would start by requiring to see the pay stubs from their last two pay checks, have three professional and three personal references and require them to pay first month, last month and a security deposit.
    I would also require them to sign either a short-term or long-term lease and sign a copy of house rules.
    My mother and step-father used to have rental property and these steps would weed out the riff-raff in most cases.
    Good luck!
     
  3. helgaleena

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    Some people use a realtor. Some use a community organization bulletin board, such as at the campus housing center of the university you attend, the church you belong to, the local gay and lesbian center if you're around there a lot, the food coop you shop and volunteer at, etc. It is also good to take the recommendation of trusted friends, repeat trusted friends, whom you know to be honest themselves. These affiliations to the community act as screening against large proportions of completely unknown and untrustworthy 'craigslist-type' strangers. You know you share common values and have a peer group to complain to if they go rogue.

    As to internal security, installing locks on the bedroom doors and strategic cabinets is never a waste of money, so that you can delineate clearly where your things are versus the sub-letter's.

    To draw up a lease, your local Tenant Resource Center will have blanks.
     
    #3 helgaleena, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  4. hud01

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    the advise about references and employment is good. I don't know where you live, but in my town it is illegal to rent, so you need to check your local laws before you go through the lease process. I have a friend who leased out his finished basement for 10 years and had no problems
     
  5. Rikter8

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    No, its a traditional ranch, with a 2 car attached garage. There are rental homes in the neighborhood, and I'm in an excellent area thats easy access to colleges, but away from all the mess.
    I'm going to be finishing off the basement shortly so it will be it's own private space. Can have a bedroom downstairs if need be too, but figured I'd leave the basement for his/her personal studio/work space. It's a 3 bedroom 2 full bath ranch, so they would have their own pick of the bedroom as well as their own bathroom. Kitchen would have to be shared unless I put in a kitchen downstairs (Could easily be done). Nothng special, studding the walls and drywall. Low cost with hopefully some benefit.

    A lease agreement would be for sure drafted up, but wasn't sure how to actually "Pick" a tenant.

    If I dont use craigslist to advertise, should I put up a letter on the college bulletin boards? Or?
    I think I'd rather have a working professional rather than a student (Responsability reasons), but - mabee if the rules are clear enough it might be ok?

    Woman VS Man differences? Would it be better to rent out to a college gal vs a guy?

    Good Info for sure. I'm not really a part of any organizations, so that's why I'm a bit lost.
     
    #5 Rikter8, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  6. helgaleena

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    It's all important that you stick with the type of people you associate with in your regular life, Rikter. If you don't want students, don't go with the campus bulletin board, but with others.
     
  7. Rikter8

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    Thats part of my problem. I live a very quiet life.
    Not sure if students would be a good idea or not - but I'm sure they would want a place to live thats clean and quiet.
     
  8. Bbucko

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    I've had some phenomenal roommates/housemates and some horrors. I wish I had known in advance who'd turn out how, but obviously I didn't.

    The best roommate I ever had sublet my bedroom (I moved into the living room). We had a minimum of privacy but were extremely discrete in ignoring whatever the other was doing in such a small space (about 650 sq feet in total). We remained close friends after the living situation until his death in the early 90s.

    The worst situation I ever had was with a coworker, whom I didn't know well personally but who had some great friends whom I knew and trusted. The only real red flag, in retrospect, was that it became apparent after spending about three hours together that he was a high-functioning guy operating with about a 70 IQ; at the time I didn't think through how sharing my home and living expenses with someone who really wasn't capable of reasoning would prove to be such a challenge.

    But it wasn't his limited intelligence that ultimately led him to break the lease unilaterally by moving in first a BF (without any consultation whatsoever) then adopting a dog (again: specifically forbidden in the lease). He never paid a bill (except the actual rent) on time, and in the end stiffed me for a portion of the final electric bill. Oh, and his pig-faced "porn star" BF didn't just turn him on to Crystal Meth, but eventually encouraged him to steal, though not ever from me (that I'm aware of).

    I lived on edge for the last six months of the lease, and learned to develop a separate, very cordial relationship with the landlord. This minimized my direct exposure to any legal actions should they have developed (none did: the landlord was just relieved when we finally vacated at the end of the lease).

    Despite the added expense (which I can't really afford, at least not easily), I have lived alone for about six months now and am much, much happier.
     
  9. Dave NoCal

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    As for students, a graduate student would porbably be a better bet. All my my successful roommate situations were with people I already knew reasonably well and there were no surprises. Other than college dorm room roommates, I have not had any that were not already acquaintances.
     
  10. helgaleena

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    Grad students are generally adults and serious about their lives, which is not always the case with undergrads. Agreed. So if you are near a big campus, don't rule them out.
     
  11. LittleDicky

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    It's one thing to rent a room in your home and share common living space. It's quite another (legally) to rent out your basement as a separate, independent apartment.

    Be sure it's legal to do so. The space will have to be inspected, and you will receive a "Certificate of Occupancy."

    Depending on your locality, I understand that the basement windows need to be a certain size, and there must be more than one entrance/exit, in case of emergency..... Things like that. I think bathroom and kitchen plumbing issues are also taken into consideration. All of this is to determine that the space is habitable.

    Without the "Certificate of Occupancy," you have no legal recourse should a tenant default on his rent. The apartment would be illegal, and the courts can't uphold an illegal agreement (the lease). Even if the tenant is paying month to month, the apartment is still illegal if it hasn't been approved.

    In such a case, the tenant can get away without owing you a dime.

    Be careful, and check with a lawyer -- and probably your local housing authority.


     
  12. D_Rufus_D_Dufus

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    ^^^ That is exactly what I was going to say^^^
     
  13. Rikter8

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    Fair enough - Egress window is mandatory here in the event there is living space in the basement (Such as a bedroom)

    It would be more like sharing the home, upstairs and downstairs. I could put a kitchinette or sink downstairs, but didn't plan on spending a ton of cash during the remodel. Just simple stud, drywall and carpet to make it cozy, and extra space. 1300 sq ft upstairs, and likewise downstairs would be comfortable, and larger than in any other rental unit for sure. (Cleaner too)
     
  14. MarkLondon

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    My sister rents out to post-graduate students and researchers from the local university and has had no problems.
     
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