How to Legally Rent Out a Room in Your House

By | February 24, 2012

Renting out a part of your house or apartment, or subletting, is a great way to earn extra (and generally passive) income – income that can help supplement your own rent payments. But too many people take the illegal route, housing people in areas that they should not be housing them. When they’re found out, not only does the transaction end, but they may end up being punished financially.

Legally renting out a room, of course, is much more desirable – and it’s probably not as difficult as you think. But before you do, you’ll want to make sure you prevent any potential problems by checking out the legality in your own home and your own area. Here’s a guide to making sure you dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s.

Check Your Local Laws

While we could give advice all day long about the best practices for maintaining a sublet space, the most important thing – and something we cannot do for you – is to make sure that in your property, this is legal. If you live in a house, you may want to check local ordinances. If you live in an apartment complex, you’ll want to check your lease. Whatever paperwork pertains to your situation, read it.

Of course, the law may be flexible. You may find that it is not legal to sublet a room if you have X, but it is legal to do it if you have Y.  In this case, you may simply need to make some modifications to the living area to make sure that it’s up to the proper standards. Or you may to sublet a different room than you initially intended on renting out, forcing you to move some things around in your house. Whatever is the case, be willing to adapt to the circumstances.

Codes, Ordinances, and Agreements

Next, you’ll want to remember that you’re going to undertake the role of landlord – so you’d better act like it. The living space you provide needs to be up to code, live up to the standards of local ordinances, and the agreements you sign should give you the legal grounding to begin this subletting process.

This will require more research on your part, but it’s all part of the preparation of subletting effectively. Without this phase of the process, you might be subject to a number of punishments for various agreement violations.

Making it Happen Legally

It’s tempting to skirt the law and simply make an agreement in an “underground economy,” as it were, but the risks and potentially bad consequences are too great for you to consider this as a serious option.

Once you’ve taken all precautions and have adjusted your agreement properly, you’re ready to legally sublet a room in your house or apartment. From this point, you should simply be able to enjoy the extra company and the extra income you receive as a result of your hard work – and you don’t have to worry about someone suddenly putting a stop to this excellent arrangement.

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