Rent Out a Room in Your Home for Additional Income

Times are tough right now for everyone, and making ends meat seems to be harder than ever. There are some options out there that can help you make the bills. Have you considered renting out an empty bedroom or converting an unused office in your house into a room for rent? Or finishing your basement and turning it into an apartment for added income?


Everyone is different, and your comfort and safety is of upmost importance. You need to find someone who is responsible, can hold a job, and won’t interfere with your normal daily activities. Having a renter who has a lot of late night visitors or likes to party would not be a good match for a family with young children or someone who likes peace and quiet. When thinking about opening your house it is best to weigh all of the pro’s and con’s so you can make a well thought out decision. I find that personally I am more comfortable with someone I know like a friend or family member as opposed to a stranger.

You also need to figure out what to charge them for rent. This would be based on what you are offering (room vs. apartment, cable, phone, washer, and other amenities …), your monetary needs, and don’t forget your utility, maintenance and food bills will also rise. The last thing you want to do is lowball the rent to get someone in and then sink deeper into debt because of the added expense of an additional person living in your home.

Bringing someone into a room vs. an apartment also has it’s own set of challenges. In a room they will be sharing all of the common living space in the household, like the kitchen, bathroom(s), and washer/dryer area. You want someone who is flexible ad easy to live with, not someone who flips on the washer every time you hop in the shower.

You do loose a certain amount of privacy, but when money is tight, sometimes it is an effective solution to lessen the burden of the household bills. With an apartment you need to decide if heat, electrical, phone etc… is included or not. You do maintain more privacy, and can charge a higher rent but it is costly to build a basement apartment. You should be able to recoup the investment, but only if you have a stable renter. Once properly finished it can increase your homes value to have an “in-law” apartment, and when un-occupied can serve as a lovely place for guests to stay.

Interview the prospective renter to find out if they are a good match for you. Never take in someone you do not feel comfortable with or are uneasy about. And if need be have lease papers drawn up to spell out exactly what is included and what is and is not allowed in the house (like pets). You may be able to run a credit check on the prospective renter or possibly a criminal background and/or a sexual offender check (laws vary state to state, you may need an application from the prospective renter with their permission to run some of the background checks).

Sometimes it is nice to have some extra hands in the house to help out with chores, and of course the bills. It is however good to remember that sometimes it is easier to let people in than to get them out if the situation is not working for you. Like any landlord, there are many things you need to consider when prospectively renting a living space; I hope this article is helpful with some of those considerations.