8 Things You Should Know Before Renting a Room

Sonia Figueroa
Sonia Figueroa
Published on November 13, 2018

Although renting a room in not super common in Chicago there are those individuals that might need some pointers just in case here are 8 Things You Should Know Before Renting a Room.

renting a room

This is a guest blog post from Nag Endra a full-time content writer. Credits at the end.

If you’ve just decided to move out of your parent’s house, you’ll need a new place to stay. Most people like to rent their own apartment or house, but that can be quite pricey, especially if you’re only a student, or just started working.

If you’re a college student, you may get a place in dormitory, where rent is cheaper. Alternatively, you can rent a room inside a house. Renting a room is a lot cheaper than renting a whole apartment or house. Of course, it comes with another type of price – it has less privacy and it comes with housemates. But, that shouldn’t be a problem – or at least you can be at peace with it – if you prepare yourself with these eight things.

1. Know you’re renting from who

You can rent a room from the owner of the house (whose name is attached on the house certificate), or you can rent a room from the tenant of the house (whose name is not attached on the house certificate, but got a permission from the owner to live in the house).

The law varies over states, but in most states, when you rent a room from the owner who also lives in the house, your status will be lodger. If you rent a room from subtenant, your status is subtenant. They have different legal right, but again, they will differ across states. So, make sure to know who you’re renting from, understand your legal status, and check for your legal right according to local law and regulation.

2. Read and understand the contract

Tenancy contract is intimidating, but you should never ignore it. Ask the house owner or tenant some time to review the contract. If it is your first time renting and you are not familiar at all with real-estate jargon, then you should bring the contract to someone with more knowledge and experience. Don’t just ask their opinion if it’s a good deal or not, but ask them to explain the content of the contract.

3. Know your access of the other area of the house outside your room

You are renting a room, but it’s pretty impossible and impractical to live only with your room. You’ll need access to shower and bathroom (unless you have one attached to your room), kitchen, maybe even common area and backyard.

Make sure to ask if you are allowed access to these crucial part of the house and ask if there is any area you aren’t allowed to enter without permission.

4. Check if there is any utility rules

House needs water, gas, and utilities, and by the end of the month they will send bills. Some house owner or tenant don’t want their utility bill to get blown out of proportion, or maybe they are very concerned about environment and don’t want too many energy wasted. You’ll need to get clear on this. Does your monthly rent have covered the utility bills without any limitation in use, or do they want to split the bills? This included not only water, gas, and electricity but also trash collection fee, internet, telephone, and other utilities.

5. Make inventory list before you move

You may rent a fully furnished room, partly furnished room, or an empty room. Whichever it is, make sure to list all the inventory that comes with your room (including the default in an empty room – such as lamp or window pane) along with their initial condition. Taking photo of each of the inventory is also such a good idea. Let your house owner or tenant see the inventory and agree with it, then make a copy and save it. If there is an inventory that is already broken before you move, then you aren’t obliged to fix or replace it.

6. Ask about the owner or tenant’s lifestyle

You may feel intrusive about it, but don’t be. Matching lifestyle will determine whether your decision to rent this room is right or big time wrong. After all, you’ll be living under one roof and will share many things. Is the owner the quiet type or the more outgoing one? Does he work during the day or during the night? What behavior they won’t tolerate?

If the owner ask the question back to you, you have to answer honestly. Don’t match your answer to the owner just because you really want to get that room, because you’ll just end up torturing yourself with housemates that you aren’t comfortable with.

7. Ask if pet is allowed

For some of us, pet is like a family and we want our pet to move with us sometimes. However, not everyone is like us. Some are allergic to pet, some are afraid of them, and some others just can’t stand them. Pet is a huge thing to come between a house owner and renter, therefore you must always ask permission that pet is allowed in this house before you actually bring your little friend there.

If your landlord is okay with pet, you need to know the rules as well. Are you allowed to put their food bowl at the kitchen? Are you allowed to put your kitty litter in the bathroom? It’s a talk about logistic, but it’s important to have clear understanding on this matter to avoid uncomfortable disagreement or exasperation later on.

8. Is room makeover allowed?

One way to make your rented room more homely is to decorate it yourself. However, landlord usually don’t like having their room altered. Ask them if they’re okay with you doing makeover and if it’s okay, how much are they willing to let you do it. Can you repaint the room? Can you put new wallpaper in it?

In the end, even if it’s different than renting a whole house on its own, renting a room is not worse. It’s cheaper and easier to maintain a single room than the whole house. Just make sure you’ve established and agreed to follow the rules. Who knows, by the end of your tenancy, you’ve got a new friend for life?

About Author:

Nag Endra works as full time content writer. His main writing includes on various real estate related topics. He is currently associated with Smile Tutor.

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