Author Topic: Etiquette of renting out a room  (Read 3070 times)

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dearabby

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Etiquette of renting out a room
« on: June 05, 2013, 02:56:00 PM »
Im not sure where to put this, so hopefully this is the right spot.

I have a room in my house Id like to rent to a new roommate.  I had one before that worked out really well and I found her from Craigslist, so using the same source this time.  Its a great service, but there are also a lot of flakes and people to sort through.  The issue Im having is with how to handle verbal acceptances and queuing of people to see the place.

On Sunday, I had one guy see the place, and he was really nice, albeit fairly young, and said hed like to take the place.  I told him Id like to have a deposit within the next couple days so I felt OK with telling other prospects that it was taken. He agreed and said hed stop by first thing Monday with the rental agreement and check.  I havent heard from him (he had been very quick to respond before), so e-mailed to ask him to respond by today or Id be contacting other potential roommates. It left me in a weird spot where I wasnt sure if the place was open or not in addressing all the responses I got. Did I mess up in saying the place was his, or is it better to say the first person Ive approved who brings me a deposit?

There are two people lined up for tomorrow, Jane who is interested in renting later in the summer, and John who seems like he could be a good guy.  Im also trying to schedule Susan who I got a good feeling about right off the bat.  Do I need to make a decision for each person I see when they're there, and allow them dibs since they got there first? Or can I say I have one other person Im interested in meeting and then make a decision after meeting all 3? I imagine after meeting all 3, I'd decide w/in a day.

This roommate stuff is really confusing and I just want to be done with the selection part. Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions you can provide!

gramma dishes

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 03:01:49 PM »
...   Or can I say I have one other person Im interested in meeting and then make a decision after meeting all 3? I imagine after meeting all 3, I'd decide w/in a day.

Okay, Mr. First Guy didn't come up with the rental agreement and check first thing Monday as he said he would.  I would have "X"d him off the list right away.  You'd have the same problem with rent -- every month.

For all the rest of them I think what you came up with (quote above) would be just fine.  You're likely to be living with the person you choose for quite awhile and it's important to get the one you think you'd honestly be most compatible with.

Wulfie

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 03:31:59 PM »
We have a standard of the first person with an accepted application gets the apartment (room in your case) They have 48 hours to bring in their deposit. If not, on to the next person.



Background check, Background Check,, Background check!

Get a Background check on them. They are inexpensive and it can keep you from getting seriously burned. I am a professional landlord and many times I have had great feelings about someone who later turns out to have major red flags (in one case he had an active warrent for assult!) . I have also had a case of where the person just did not give me a good feeling, screened them, had to approve them (they met the screening critera) and they turned out to be one of my best tenants. Screening the applicants also shows that you are professional and you are less likely to have issues later on.

So many stories that I have seen on here could be solved by having a standard set of House Rules that the new tenant is required to sign at the time of move in. This includes things like quiet hours, rent due dates, how utilities will be split, guests, ect. Consider writing some of these up. If you want some samples, PM me and I will mail you the standard ones we use that you can then modify to fit what you want.

cwm

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 03:33:01 PM »
Personally if I was renting a room out from someone, I wouldn't mind hearing that they were waiting to meet another person or two before making a final decision, as long as there was a timeframe involved. Don't leave it open, just say you'll let them know within the week, for example. And then make sure to get back to everyone and let them know one way or another. I'd rather know I'm on the short list and know how long I'm waiting for an answer than be kept in limbo or led on, whether or not it was intentional.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 03:42:09 PM »
I think renting a room is very different than renting an apartment.  Assuming they will have kitchen and living room privileges, you are going to have to spend a lot more time with this person than if you were renting them their own space.  There are a lot more things to talk about, like what their normal schedule is like, both M-F and S-S, setting a rotation for the kitchen and laundry facilites, setting rules about noise times, TV times, etc.

So, personally, I would want to meet all the prospects and then make my decision.  The first guy is out - he didn't follow through on what he said he would.  The 3 others you have scheduled?  I would meet them all, tell them your last scheduled appointment and that you will make a decision by X date and time, notifying the selected person by email, with a firm date and time for drop-off of deposit.  And if the person doesn't drop off the deposit by that time, you will move on to the second person on the list.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 03:47:19 PM »
I think renting a room is very different than renting an apartment.  Assuming they will have kitchen and living room privileges, you are going to have to spend a lot more time with this person than if you were renting them their own space.  There are a lot more things to talk about, like what their normal schedule is like, both M-F and S-S, setting a rotation for the kitchen and laundry facilites, setting rules about noise times, TV times, etc.

So, personally, I would want to meet all the prospects and then make my decision.  The first guy is out - he didn't follow through on what he said he would.  The 3 others you have scheduled?  I would meet them all, tell them your last scheduled appointment and that you will make a decision by X date and time, notifying the selected person by email, with a firm date and time for drop-off of deposit.  And if the person doesn't drop off the deposit by that time, you will move on to the second person on the list.

I completely agree! This person is going to be inside the walls of your home. You want someone whose company will be agreeable to you and whose references you have checked. Someone who makes you believe they will pay rent on time, be reasonably neat around the house, be communicative and reasonable about problems when they come up.

You do not owe anybody the room just because they saw it first, etc. You owe them clear communication, yes. But that's all.

Want an indicator of how much freedom you should have to select a roommate? Roommate agreements are completely exempt from every legal requirement for Fair Housing.

gramma dishes

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 03:49:17 PM »
...   I would meet them all, tell them your last scheduled appointment and that you will make a decision by X date and time, notifying the selected person by email, with a firm date and time for drop-off of deposit.  And if the person doesn't drop off the deposit by that time, you will move on to the second person on the list.

I think this sounds like a good plan.  But the ones who will not get the room should also be notified as soon as you've finalized your decision so they will not be left in limbo and can continue their search quickly.

shhh its me

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 04:34:05 PM »
   I think its fine to say " I set 2 other interviews in the next 2 days , so I'll be able to let you know on XX"

With a roommate there more to it then " will they not break anything and pay the rent on time" you have to be able to tolerate the person.I don't think in addition to a background check having a second interview over coffee would be inappropriate to discuss some of the minutia of sharing space. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 04:37:49 PM »
You can also reject anybody you want to, remember. And you can do it without waiting until after you've met with  all the other applicants.

WillyNilly

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 04:45:57 PM »
Finding a roommate via Craigslist (or any method) is not the same as selling a used sofa via Craigslist. You needn't give anyone preference over a quick reply (actually you don't have to with the sofa either...) You will need to live with this person, this is not a light decision and you have every right - heck obligation - to carefully consider who you pick. a bad fitting roommate will be a miserable situation for both of you, so take your time to choose wisely.

Lauren7891

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 11:12:09 AM »
I've used Craigslist three times now to fill a room in our apartment.  The way we do it is to schedule no more than 4 showings a night, two nights in a row.  We tell all the potential roommates that we are showing the apartment to multiple people and that we'll have a decision within two days.  After meeting everyone, we rank them.  Then we contact our first choice. If they accept, great! If not, we move down the list.  We usually give them 12-24 hours to commit before moving on to the next person.  You definitely shouldn't feel like you need to "hold" the room for anyone who didn't get back to you when they said they would!

NyaChan

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 11:22:51 AM »
My last landlady used to post ads as well.  When a potential tenant who she was  excited about just went into radio silence without a word, she just shrugged her shoulders and told me that it wasn't a bad thing, because clearly, the girl wasn't our kind of people.  By our kind of people, she meant she wanted a tenant who would have called to say they had changed their mind out of courtesy and consideration for the people who were waiting for her. 

Good riddance to him - you should find someone else who keeps to their deadlines.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 11:23:17 AM »
Personally if I was renting a room out from someone, I wouldn't mind hearing that they were waiting to meet another person or two before making a final decision, as long as there was a timeframe involved. Don't leave it open, just say you'll let them know within the week, for example. And then make sure to get back to everyone and let them know one way or another. I'd rather know I'm on the short list and know how long I'm waiting for an answer than be kept in limbo or led on, whether or not it was intentional.

I agree. When I was looking for a roommate, so this was sharing an apt, not just renting a room, I felt like that renting a room would have been more accurate. One I looked at, the girl looking asked me no questions about me, my habits, etc.

And pretty much said Id have the bedroom, but all the other stuff there, furniture, kitchen stuff, was hers and staying put when her friend/roommate moved out, so I felt like it wouldnt have really been my home too. But the not wanting to know anything about me sealed the deal of me not wanting to live there. So if I were looking to rent a room, and the person renting it said they had several people looking and theyd get back to me soon, Id be fine with that, as I would be living with them as well!

*inviteseller

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 02:48:52 PM »
You could set a date (say June 30th) and interview people until then.

veronaz

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Re: Etiquette of renting out a room
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 03:04:40 PM »
OP, are you doing a criminal background check or at least a police check on these people?  Are you verifying income/asking to see a couple of recent paystubs?

The first thing I would do is ask to see ID.

Being "nice" when meeting a potential landlord doesn't really mean anything.