5 Things to Look for in Room Rentals

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5 Things to Look for in Room Rentals

Staff Writer · Mar 5, 2010

Approach room rentals the same way you would an apartment search. The process is basically the same, but renting a room in a house does make a difference. Here are 5 things to look for:

1. Amenities

What are the amenities available? For example, if you need Internet access for work or school, you’ll want to make sure broadband or satellite Internet access is available, since tying up the telephone line with dial up service won’t likely be an option. Heat and air conditioning systems matter, especially if the room you rent is located in the basement or attic. Beyond comfort, it matters for monetary reasons, because you’ll have to pay your portion of the bill. Write down a list of amenities that you can’t do without, and only choose room rentals that fit your criteria.

2. Storage

You may not have much room to store all of your belongings in the room you’re renting. Storage space is important, and if you don’t have storage at the house where you’re renting, you’ll have to pay extra to rent storage space. Ask about storage when comparing room rentals. Some owners have more than enough storage available in their garage or in the house, but others may have used up any available storage to clear the room you want to rent.

3. House Rules

It’s important to be respectful to the owner of the house with the room rental, and your other housemates. However, some house rules may go beyond what’s required to maintain a peaceful and comfortable environment. You won’t know until you ask, and you should inquire about any house rules before renting a room. For example, a house rule that prohibits you from having any visitors at any time is not reasonable. Look for stringent rules that are not reasonable, as you compare ads.

4. Other Housemates

The owner of the house may rent several rooms to different people. This may not be your ideal situation, and you might pass on a room rental because of it. Find out how many other people will be renting a room. If the room you’re considering is the last room to be rented, then get as much information as you can about the other housemates. You have to be smart about what questions to ask, because a good owner won’t gossip about the other housemates. However, you should be able to get basic, non-gossipy information, to help you make an initial determination as to whether the room rental will be a good match. Before finalizing your decision, visit the house and talk to housemates to get a sense of whether you’re compatible.

5. Communal Areas

Unless you plan to lock yourself in your room while you’re there, you’ll share communal areas with other housemates. Knowing what you want ahead of time, such as the number of bathrooms or a patio, will help you to choose the right room rental. For example, if you’re always on the go, you should stay away from most room rentals in houses with only one bathroom. It’s almost a guarantee that there will be times when you need to rush to work or school, but the house owner is using the bathroom.

Keep these 5 things in mind as you assess opportunities for room rentals. Decide ahead of time which of these are deal breakers.

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