Debunking 5 Myths About Renting out a Room to a Stranger


Michelle makes regular updates on her side income and one of the things she does is rent out her spare room to her sister. It’s a great way to make some cash for anyone that has an extra room and as one see it definitely contributes to the bottom line at her end of month tally.

Just like Michelle, most folks are more inclined to rent out a room to friends or family because they know the person and likely have an understanding on their behavior and lifestyle.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these folks are less likely to rent out their spare room to people they don’t know simply because the unknown will cause more headaches than it’s worth. Or is that really true?

To this day, I’ve been renting out my room for the past 7 years and had 13 different people cycle in my two spare rooms that I didn’t know prior to having them move in. All of my roommates were people I found via the internet.

With that said, I want to debunk some myths about renting out rooms to strangers.

Myth #1: Your roommates are going to throw wild parties and invite every one of their friends over.

Truth: You’re roommates will probably reflect more on how you live. Based on my experiences, most roommates are grateful that you’re taking them in over another roommate.

Most of the roommates I had were from out of town taking jobs in the area. Rather than signing a year-long lease in an unknown area, they realize that renting out a room is far more economical and more flexible in terms of lease agreements. For this reason, they’re extremely grateful that they’ve been selected to rent your spare room.

Additionally, I’ve gone away on vacation for weeks at a time and my none of my roommates had any wild parties(that I know of). So, you really have to display how you want your roommates to live and chances are they’ll respect your lifestyle and keep their shenanigans to themselves whether it’s in their room that their renting from me or away from my residence.

Related: What You Need To Know About Renting A Room In Your House

Myth #2: You’ll be constantly chasing your new roommate the first of every month for the rent money.

Truth: A lot of people are deterred from renting out their rooms because they have these negative images of late paying roommates who’ll trash your place.

That’s definitely not the case.

I just checked my records and it’s been 44 consecutive months since the one and only time I’ve had to chase any roommate for rent payment.

Other than that isolate incidence, I’ve regularly received payment on or around the first without any hassle. Most roommates realize that renting a room is paying for a service so if they don’t pay, their stealing and the roommates I’ve had are not in the business of stealing or mooching.

Myth #3: Your new roommate will ruin your personal belongings

Truth: I don’t own many personal possessions in the common area(Kitchen, living, and deck). I do have a TV(older tube type TV) and a small collection of DVDs. The DVD didn’t grow any legs and the TV still works with no cosmetic damage.

I did buy a brand new high end grill(I like to grill my food) at the beginning of the summer and gave my roommates full rights to use it anytime. One of my roommates has used it nearly as much as I have if not more and I can say that the grill does not look like it’s been abused.

It’s possible to share personal possessions without being a control freak.

Myth #4: Your new roommate will want to be your friend and want to do everything together.

Truth: Your new roommate may want to be friends, but I’ve never had an instance where my new found roommates wanted to “tag along” everywhere I went. My roommates have their own lives and go about it while just using my spare room as a place to live. I rarely ever go food shopping with my roommates. We do go out to eat or to the bar together once in a while. This past Christmas we celebrated the holiday by getting a nice Douglass fir and doing a gift exchange. In the end, it all depends on how you want to be involved with your roommates.

Myth #5: Your roommates will be loud, noisy, and inconsiderate.

Truth: My roommates have never had blasted their music or TV in their bedrooms late night nor have my roommates come back stumbling drunk on Saturday nights like college students.

I find this holds for my roommates who were professionally employed at 9 to 5 jobs and my roommates who had jobs with irregular schedules(working night shifts).

My roommates have been respectful to myself and to other roommates. I have not had any animosity between my roommates and myself because of personal property including food items in the fridge.

I’ll go and say that my residence is noticing the wear and tear with the additional people living in my residences, namely the carpet and the walls. I’ll go into this on another post.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There could be some outlying instances where these myths hold true. I have received e-mails confirming some of the aforementioned myths, but it’s not something I get regularly.

Despite the fact all my roommates were strangers when they first moved in, I’ve quickly got to know them and in some cases developed a mutual understanding or friendship that continues even after they moved out. After developing a friendship or mutual understanding, it’s no different than renting out that spare room to a friend.

The hardest step is to renting out a room to some unknown person is taking the first stop.

For those that rent out a spare room for side income to a family member or a friend, what’s your concern about renting out a room to a stranger?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike is a part-time “live-in landlord” who first started to rent out his spare room to make extra cash as a way to pay for graduate school. With the lack of advice to help him get started, Mike started a blog at rentingoutrooms.com where he shares his thoughts on the topic in hopes to better people’s financial situation.

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