I’m going to offend a few people here but if a writer can’t state the truth in civilized terms, there’s no point in being a writer. Ruffled feathers are always a possible by-product.
With very few extenuating circumstances, you probably don’t want to rent out a room in your home, not for more than a few weeks, anyway. Plus nowadays, you need to check local ordinances first. That said, if you’ve known the person since grade school, or truly are Best Buds, then maybe renting out a large room, or an entire floor or wing might work out for all of you. If so, blessings on all involved. An editor I know has a wonderful arrangement like that.
Otherwise, the repercussions from renting out a room are probably not worth whatever you might receive by way of rent payments or desired companionship or feeling good about helping someone in need.
This even applies to people you are related to. Grandkids are known to kick holes in walls, and worse, during temper tantrums. Fortunately, adult relatives are a lot less likely to do things like that! However, they may roam the house at night, scaring the bejeebers out of you, stink up the house worse than your cat’s litterbox, or set up a workshop in the garage to run power tools while the neighbors complain.
Other Potential Issues
Other reasons I’m so dead-set against most people renting out a room are many:
- The first issue is security, whether you’re male or female. Pre-screening can help but it won’t catch everything.
- Even if issues of privacy don’t come up – and they usually do – after several months you will get on each other’s nerves.
- Everyone wants and needs their independence, so resentment on both sides will grow.
- Friction develops when children are involved.
- If your boarder doesn’t practice the best hygiene, the rented room will start to smell musty, even if it doesn’t spread throughout the house.
- Pets, if allowed, or the boarder herself, may or may not get along with your pets for whatever reason(s).
- A two-month stay can turn into four years and there’s no way to end it, short of a dire need for the room on your part.
Example: Your employer announces you have to work from home now or commute to a location 40 miles away.
- Refurbishing the room to make it sanitary and usable again can get very expensive.
However, the long-term repercussion from renting out a room for a prolonged period of time is that you are never free of that person in the future.
In the first place, he/she/they will stop by every so often to ask if you have seen such and such of “theirs” on the untrue “basis” it was loaned to a family member, not given to them. Or they simply forgot it when they moved out. Really now? But you look around the house for it every time, anyway.
More annoying is that the person only remembers to notify a few people about moving, and after 12 months, USPS will no longer forward mail from the people the individual didn’t notify, even with a Permanent Change of Address on file. Can you blame them, given the millions of people who relocate every year in this country?
Five years down the road you’ll still be forwarding the mail yourself or sending it back. This includes correspondence from his employer, his union, and even his 401(k) administrator. You will have to decide when to draw the line in the sand and say Enough!
The confrontation won’t be pleasant and you may even find Postal Inspectors and others hinting that you stole the mail, simply because you sent something back and it supposedly didn’t arrive. When it comes to missing mail, the first place any organization should look is at their own employees. How many times has a book club billed you for 5 months for a book you refused unopened 4 months earlier?
And as far as theft at the post office, maybe one day, some employee’s guilty conscience will cause them to return my diamond-and-black sapphire anniversary ring that slipped into a collection box by mistake one weekend. Some turkeys wouldn’t recognize a single black sapphire if it punched them in the nose, let alone a circle of them. Hopefully, karma caught up with the liar(s) a long time ago. Things get misplaced and flat-out stolen in the bowels of the post office, too. Stuff happens!
So, yes, think carefully about renting out a room in your home, for all of the above reasons and more.