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Helpful Tips for Landlords When Renting to Roommates

A big advantage of renting to roommates is that you're able to cater to more people who need a home yet seek to enjoy lower housing costs. This is most applicable to cities with high rents. But renting to roommates also comes with problems.

Sometimes, a roommate refuses to pay his or her share. One roommate may be a neat freak while the other could be a slob. Conflicts are not uncommon.

As a landlord, you need to be prepared to handle roommate troubles. How do you avoid them right from the start? Read this article to find out.

Establish roommate guidelines.

Renting to roommates requires that you set rules and guidelines. These guidelines should clarify the duties and obligations of each tenant. Each tenant should know how much to pay each month, who does what and when in terms of cleaning, and quiet hours.

All roommates should sign the Tenancy Agreement. 

Landlords can choose to collect the full amount of rent from any one of the roommates who signed the lease or rental agreement. In that case, you need to make sure that all roommates sign the agreement. If not, you could suffer legal consequences. Anyone who doesn't sign the lease has probably not read or understood it. The same person can break the rules.

Related: Basic Rules That Should Be Included In Every Lease Agreement

Run a comprehensive background check on all occupants.

Tenant background checks are vital and should be done on every roommate. You may not be aware of this, but some tenants try to hide a poor rental history by moving in with a roommate. Tension between roommates can also happen because a landlord failed to weed out potential troublemakers. 

Assign a tenant representative. 

Instead of constantly communicating to all roommates, choose one roommate as the point person. This roommate should be willing to contact or update you if any concerns arise. Having a "tenant representative" simplifies your life as a landlord. This also helps reduce your stress.

Collect only one check for the full rent amount.

Insist that you collect just one check from both roommates. Since all roommates have signed the lease, each roommate is liable for the rent regardless of who pays or doesn't. By stating in the lease agreement that you collect a single check, you are also helping yourself avoid getting involved in your tenants' financial issues.

If you’re ready, make Landlord Prep your go-to resource for landlording education. Here, we offer a complete DIY landlording course to get you on the right track. Join our academy today. If you want, you can check out Flavia’s real estate investing webinar first!