Before you rent out a room, you need to understand some basic rules and laws about how to act like a landlord. Not only do you want someone who is trustworthy and will pay their rent on time, you need to find someone you can live with. America Now News.com has tips on how to protect yourself and make sure your landlord experience is a smooth one when you #RentARoom.
First of all, make sure you do a criminal background check and a credit check. Both are important because you want to make sure your potential renter is not a criminal and you want to be sure that they have a trustworthy payment history and can pay rent on time. These checks can be expensive, so be sure to factor the cost into your application fee. Don't allow renters to roll the cost into their first month's rent because if you decide not to rent to them, you won't get paid.
Ask for references, preferably from past landlords. Keep in mind people will probably provide references they know will put in a good word for them, which is why the criminal background and credit checks are so important.
Once you're ready to offer a lease to someone, go over all the rules of the house with them, from where they can store their food to what chores they're responsible for, as well as any other rules like can they have overnight guests, where should they park, etc.
As far as the lease itself, be sure you have a thorough lease that covers all eventualities, from damage to moving out early. You also might want to consider a short-term lease to start with, just in case your relationship with your renter goes sour or you decide you'd rather live alone.
Finally, make sure to check all applicable laws for Texas, Austin, and even your local neighborhood. Some HOA's have rules about how many unrelated adults can live together in a single abode, and even the city of Austin is considering a law that would limit this as well.