Renting out the extra room your college-bound child leaves behind can provide you with extra income and a chance to meet new people. It’s a big decision, so plan carefully and make wise choices. Consider these tips to ensure that youcreate a good experience for you, your child, and your new tenant.
Help your college-bound child to adjust:
- Give yourselves some transition time. Your child is already coping with major changes while heading off to college. It will be less stressful for both of you if you wait a couple of months or so before taking on a tenant.
- Involve your child in the decision. People usually react more positively when they’re included in the decision-making process. Tell your child you’re considering renting the room and want to discuss it. If they’re comfortable, you can steam ahead. If they have concerns, slow down and consider your child’s viewpoint.
- Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Everyone will have to make some adjustments, so plan ahead to minimize any awkwardness.
- Have alternative sleeping arrangements ready for when your child comes home to visit. Even if you don’t have a guest room, you can get a futon or inflatable bed. If they’ll be sleeping in the living room, ask everyone to keep out during the early morning hours.
- Develop storage solutions. Store your child’s prized possessions safely. This could also be a great opportunity for the whole family to get rid of some clutter.
- Let your child know you appreciate their cooperation. Thank them for their flexibility and the contribution it makes to your family. Prepare their favorite meal or plan a special outing to show your gratitude.
Help yourself to adjust:
- Keep it legal. Check the local zoning ordinances in your area to get any required permits. If you’re renting, consult your landlord to make sure that any arrangements are permissible according to your lease.
- Play it safe in searching for a tenant. If you live within commuting distance from any colleges or universities, their student housing agencies are an excellent resource for finding prospective tenants. Organizations like roommates.com charge a small fee but provide more security than going it alone on Craigslist. Always run a credit check and ask for references.
- Sign a rental agreement. You can get rental agreement forms from your local landlord/tenant association or housing agency. Require a deposit to protect yourself from damages.
- Establish house rules, especially for shared areas. Discuss your expectations with your new tenant beforehand. Try to reach mutual agreement on issues like the use of kitchen and laundry areas.
- Cultivate open lines of communication. Friendly communication is fundamental. Maintain an open and respectful atmosphere so that you and your new tenant can work together to resolve any conflicts.
Renting out your child’s room when they leave for college can have economic and social benefits. Keep the best interests of your family and your new tenant in mind to create a pleasant home environment for everyone.
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