Renting Out Rooms

2 September 2012

Your kids have either gone off to university, or left home and you are left with a lovely house and extra rooms. Sure, you could convert one into your dream craft space, and the other into the dog's personal castle... but why not bring in a few extra $$$ a month by renting out the rooms? This is room and board, without the board.

Renting out a room is very easy, here is what you should provide:

  • room
  • dresser
  • bed
  • bedding
  • mirror
  • source of light
  • mini fridge (not necessary, but highly recommended)
  • desk + chair (not necessary, but highly recommended)

Your tenant will also need access to a washroom and the kitchen.

When renting out a room, look for going rates around the area and then undercut them a bit. If you can't find any going rates around the area, I suggest taking the price of a bachelor suite near the area and cutting the rent cost in half.

Benefits to the tenant:

  • You are providing them a place to live at a reasonable price
  • Many people cant afford the cost of an apartment on the wages they make
  • They get to know new and interesting people (you): great for networking
  • Helps them save money for their own place

Benefits to you as the renter:

  • You make money during difficult economic times
  • Get to know new and interesting people: great for networking
  • Ease the emotional burden of empty-nest syndrome
  • Makes use of under-utilized space

So now the general excuses I get from people who have large houses and are unwilling to rent rooms out:

  • Question: What if the person is 'bad'?
  • Answer: Request a police clearance for all serious applicants. It is pretty cheap to get and will screen out most the 'real baddies'.
  • Complaint: I don't like people I don't know in my house.
  • Answer: You are short on trust, and faith in humanity, and I get that. But you will get to know this person, trust me.
  • Question: What if they bring someone home with them?
  • Answer: Have a surcharge for a second occupant based on a nightly rate.
  • Question: What if they do something in the house I don't like?
  • Answer: Set up house rules. Type them up. Have you and your tenant sign them. The best answer is generally prevention.

Now for some anecdotal evidence. When I moved out on my own, the first place I moved was into a little ol' lady's basement. She had a spare bedroom and an extra fridge. She also had a spare bathroom, but I had to use her kitchen for cooking. This was 7 years ago, and she charged me $300 a month when the cheapest Bachelor apartment I could find was around $600 in that area. It was a total life saver and her influence, knowing there was someone there if I needed to talk, was awesome.


  • Kerry
    After having three hellish tenants in a row I will never, ever rent to someone again. They made more damage and used more utilities than I was able to recover in rent while making the whole inconvenience worthwhile. I think it's easier to evict people if they share your bathroom and kitchen, but if it's a basement apartment you're screwed because you can't evict the person - even for not paying rent - without going through the housing tribunal.
  • Guillaume
    try I manage to pay my rent by renting weekends. I've been doing it since Decemeber. Loving it so far!
  • Kerry
    What a great site and concept! Thanks Guillaume!

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