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Renting Out a Room in my House
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Renting Out a Room in my House
Renting out room - include utilities?
I've been renting out a room in my house for a few years. I've always just included
the utilities as well as paper goods like toilet paper in the rent, but I was just
curious how other people handle this. I guess I figure my child and I probably use
more than the renter when it comes to water and do more laundry. I feel like it's
been fine up to now, but I'm just thinking what to do if I get someone who uses a
lot of water (since they aren't paying for it).
It would be cumbersome if even possible to try to charge a tenant for
a % of water use- how would you calculate it?
I rent out a couple of spaces in my house and just figure utility
costs into the price of the rooms. Sometimes I get a renter who uses a
lot of heat, but that's balanced by those who don't. I do have rules
about water use, and expect everybody to adhere to them.
As far as stuff like toilet paper goes, you the householder are the
provider. It would be pretty petty to make an issue of TP use!
Since you sound worried, I wonder if you're charging enough rent. Take
a look at market rates for your location.
When there are several persons sharing the utilities on a master
meter, one fair way to divide the expense is the ''per capita
method''; e.g. three people, each pays one-third. Since you are
renting a room for a set price you need to calculate the per capita
cost, and figure that into the room rent. You need to screen
potential renters to rule out those who take extra-long showers in
your interviews; if they have excess usage your rental agreement or
month-to-month lease (you do have one, don't you?), can specify
surcharges, or rebates for low usage. If you have a just one water
line, you can hear the water running, so you will be aware of the
I would definitely add a charge for water. This is going to be
necessary, now with all of our rationing. I myself am quite the water
hound (garden, taking my baths) and I would not want anyone resenting
my water use. I want to pay my own water bill, so that I know what I
am doing, and it is worth it for me. I don't want to annoy anyone.
Hopefully you can figure out a way to make it fair for everyone.
Since you are two people, and the renter is one, it does seem
reasonable to split the bill three ways. However, children tend to
have more laundry than adults, so maybe you can split it four ways and
have your renter pay one fourth of the bill?
Love that H2O
Renting a room to Japanese speaker in exchange for childcare
I am just about finished with renovations to my home to make the room on the first
floor rentable. It has a separate entrance and now has a full bath and I can still
get to the garage without going thru that space. The reason I've been doing this is
that my 6 yr old son is half Japanese and is an immersion program but doesn't hear
Japanese in the house since his dad moved out. I know how hard it is to raise a
child to be bilingual and I'd like to give my son every opportunity especially since
he is still young.
My idea has been to find a renter who speaks Japanese who would spend time with my
son and speak In Japanese. I would want someone who could babysit early mornings
(just by being in the house) so I could go to an early morning exercise class. I
would also like to encourage a few activities that would get them to talk and
Given that this is not just a regular rental I thought that I would reach out to the
BPN community and see if people have advice on how to find the right renter, how to
set up the situation and expectations correctly and then also suggestions on what
(else) I can do to raise my son to be bilingual.
Thank you for the advice!!
Your situation is a bit tricky, since it is equally a job and a
rental. You are equally an employer and a landlord. It may be best to
advertise as a ''job'' with housing benefits, rather than a rental
with work requirements. That way you can screen for your requirements
for language skills, security, and child friendliness.
Other options would be posting a flyer in a Japanese church or social
club, or just asking around among friends and acquaintances. If you
are in Berkeley, Cal Housing has a housing service where you can post
your ad, with your requirements.
I would contact the Center for Japanese Studies at UC Berkeley
Center for Japanese Studies 2223 Fulton Street, 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94720 Phone # 510 642 3156
Here are my recommendations:
Since your child is only 6, and you are planning on having him babysat
by someone you don't know, make sure you use a girl. Get a female
Japanese renter. This is not to cast any shadow on the Japanese
community, but I would recommend hiring a female babysitter in any
community. (To prevent sexual molestation) Do all of the usual
interviewing and checking of the person's history, since you are going
to leave your child with her. Also, since this person will be living
with you, make sure that they know their way around the kitchen, and
know how to prevent fires, etc.
Two, my advice for your own sanity is to get someone who is fluent in
English, but who is from Japan. I just had a roommate from Japan for
the past year, and his English was not so good. What did this mean for
me? This meant about 40 hours of my year was spent standing and
explaining basic things to him. Never being able to finish a sentence
without ''what? uh...what is that? uh....'' and then my patiently
having to repeat and explain what I meant. At first you have patience,
as you think ''oh, this person is excited to learn English and I am
such a great teacher!''. But then, if their English does not progress,
you find yourself getting quite tired of always having to explain
everything, as if to a child. Not as easy as you think, folks. Imagine
you are in a rush one day, and you just want to say ''oh Kiyo, can you
take out the garbage today?'' as you leave the house. No. You cannot
ever say anything fast like that, on your way out. Every single thing
which you say must be explained. I only mention this to you to give
you a heads up.
You already have a son, who is 6, and I'm sure you are a patient,
loving parent who takes the time to explain things to him. Now imagine
that you will have another very larger child who you will have to
teach, if you take someone in who cannot converse in English.
If I were you, I would also try leaning Japanese myself. This could be
a fun thing to share with your child over the years, as he could help
you along. You could also add the Japanese channel, NHK? I think it's
called, to your home TV cable. That channel is only in Japanese and it
is how my child (now in college) learned Japanese.
It sounds like it could be a very nice set up, and hopefully that
perfect Japanese (English speaking as well) lady who is sweet and
responsible is out there waiting for you!
Good luck to you!
Kudos to you for recognizing the importance of continuing the Japanese
part of your son's life. There is a great pre-school in San Francisco
called Little Angels with classes on Saturdays until 1 p.m.. My
daughter loved it there and then transitioned to the all day Saturday
Nihongo Hoshuko school down the road near the ocean until 8th grade
equivalent. There may be a similar Saturday school in Richmond. Both
schools helped her expand her Japanese tremendously while playing and
learning with Japanese kids her age. Many of the kids were from
families that were just in the U.S. from Japan due to school or work
assignments of parents so your kid gets to blend with fluent Japanese
kids. There may also be a tenant connection potential there for you to
find a live-in Japanese speaker. Check out Little Angels and the
Japanese Nihongo Hoshuko. Also the Japanese Embassy in Japan-town
might have some tenant ideas for you.
You can find your Japanese tenants & nannies on
http://www.bayspo.com/. You can post wanted adds. You need to hire a
Japanese live in nanny for your boy. Hopefully his father can talk to
him in Japanese all the time. You can go Downtown Berkeley YMCA for
your morning exercise. I saw a Japanese volunteer baby sit in their
I would look at places where there are ESL classes and see if you can
find a native Japanese speaker or check out the UC campus - Japanese
Be fair to the renter - this is not just rental but some child care -
you need to either pay them for the time or really drop the rent.
Look into the Berkeley Japanese Methodist Church or the Buddhist
church. They have activities for kids that might include some language
lots of wonderful Japanese movies eg; My Friend Totoro. You have to
find the one that is not dubbed in English.
Renting out an in-law unit using Airbnb
If you have an in-law unit that you've offered for rental through Airbnb, please share
your experiences, good or bad. We are considering finishing our basement and renting it
out using Airbnb, but we've got a baby and I'm a little nervous about bedbugs, safety,
and nuisance (noisy talking late at night, for example, slamming doors, parties, etc.).
Would love to hear whether you've met some cool, respectful people or whether you've had
more mixed experiences. Also, would people even want to rent a room beneath a house that
has a baby? Should we disclose that our baby wakes up with the morning sun?
Airbnb worked out great for us. You can put lots of detail in your listing so that you get a
good match. For instance, we offered no tv. I wouldn't want to rent a room with no tv, but for
plenty of people that is fine. So just tell people about parties and babies and anything else
that is of concern. I have to say, however, that it is a lot of work. Laundry and cleaning is
part of it, of course. Meeting people at odd times to hand off the key can be a problem. You
might consider getting some kind of fancy lock with a combination so you don't have to be
there. And sometimes the emails are overwhelming when someone is looking for just the right
place. But the people who rented were very respectful and money was never any problem.
We are considering renting out a bedroom in our house in
order to get a little more income that will help pay for
college tuition. I would like to have a quiet graduate
student and we have a large quiet, private room s/he could
rent. We might share a bathroom and s/he would definitely
need to use our kitchen. My husband is very wary of doing
this and I'd like to know what others who have done this
have experienced. He worries about an intrusion into our
privacy, the possibility of theft, and I guess I don't
necessarily want someone who wants to sit in our living room
and socialize with us or with their guests. What have you
done to ensure you get someone who is compatible and
respects your privacy? What if it doesn't work out? We
have a large expensive beautiful rug in that room, over
hardwood floors--would you leave it there or remove it?
Any/all responses would help.
IMHO it does not sound like a good fit for you. Aside from
sharing a bathroom with a complete stranger, (yikes!) and
having a child/children in your house with this stranger,
this person will be paying you rent to live there, that
means eat there, sleep there, have friends over there, sit
on your couch, spill stuff on your floor, rug, whatever.
How can you expect someone to pay you for a room to sleep
in and be invisible the rest of the time? I think you need
a different strategy. fwiw
don't do it....
The mindset of moving a large rug out of fear of theft is
not compatible with the mindset of roommate hunting. I
recently advised someone on BPN about choosing a roommate. I
had many successful ones over the years - own BR & BA,
shared kit. Go back a few weeks, there were some good tips.
The difference with your situation is that you are a couple
and yes, your kitchen won't be private. No make-out sessions
at the sink. This could be no big deal, or awful, depending
on how you feel about it. How to draft the situation just as
you want it: spell it out. Room and bath only, shared
kitchen, these are your cabinets, ANY other rules you want
in all areas, no matter how quirky or one-sided (you get a
cat but they don't, you're the boss, own it), spell it out
in the ad and weed all but good matches out. You get a bad
or weird feeling or sense of incompatibility or anything at
first meeting, forget it. Be willing to wait for the right
person because this is your space. Then everybody go by
agreed upon rules and trust the person among everything else
certainly not to steal your furniture! Because you put the
care and demands in up front. One other thing besides not
acting on this if it scares you or changing your attitude,
if your husband doesn't want this and you can afford not to,
- good luck
Renting to students can be terrific or awful.
Considerations include price range, how much of the house
you want to share and how to check out your potential
tenants. Will the space be furnished or unfurnished? Do you
include utilities in the rent or are they separate? How's
storage? I've been renting a combo bedroom and bathroom out
to Cal students for 5 years. I use Craig'slist and Cal
Rents to advertise the space, and do initial vetting on
line and on the phone and if i like how the person sounds,
I invite them to check the place out and give me
references. Tenants also sign what has become a 3 page
rental agreement with the rules for living here. We have
good separation of space but share the whole house
including the laundry but most of our tenenats hang out in
their rooms or the kitchen. Ive taught a couple how to cook
and fed quite a few of them. The CalRents website has a lot
of good info about sharing your home and the most reliable
of my tenants have used that site.
I would not worry about theft. The privacy issue is of major
concern. What you want to do is to offer a ''room for rent''
and not a ''house share.'' When interviewing, explain that the
person will have kitchen privileges, but not so with the
living room, etc.
You can also find out quite a bit about the person in the
interview process. You clearly don't want to rent to a
homebody or someone who enjoys cooking. Sometimes you can
luck out and find someone who works a ton and mainly needs a
place to crash. Also, some folks are only in the Bay Area
during the week and need a place to sleep when they're in
town. That would be ideal. I think you can find someone with
compatible needs. However, if they don't have a private
bathroom, price accordingly. That could be a major down-side
to a prospective renter.
Done This Before
Renting out a room is a good way to bring in some money. An
extra person can actually be an asset to your household if
you are compatible. To find the right person, I suggest
that you be really clear in your ad about what you are
looking for. For instance, I don't really know what you mean
by ''privacy.'' If you don't want to share the living room,
say so. Also, before you meet anyone, put together a list of
questions. And be aware that they are considering you and
what kind of a roommate you will be. I would be careful
about limiting guests too much. Normal people have friends,
and if you are sharing your house, you want someone who gets
along with others. Yes I would remove the rug. A hardwood
floor is easier to clean than a rug. Theft is unlikely. A
roommate knows that if no one has broken in, they are the
most likely suspect. Usually, a place is rented out for at
least a year. If you don't get along, you just suck it up
and wait until the end of the year. You could also do just a
school year. That way you don't have to wait so long if you
don't like them, and your college kid has a place to stay in
the summer. Good luck!
SO you want to rent out a room in the house, but the renter
can't sit in the living room ? What about when they need to
eat or use the bathroom ?
It sounds as if your house does not have a clearly
demarcated second unit with a separate entrance. If you
don't have this sort of interior design, anyone living in
your house will be part of your household.
You clearly don't want anyone else to be part of your household.
We've rented a room in our home. Usually students are not
interested in sitting in the living room with us or our
guest, but there is a TV in the room we rent. The room we
rent is downstairs next to a bathroom and they ALMOST have
exclusive use of it...notice I say almost. We have posted
a set of written rules, but I do have to remind them to
turn off the lights. One kept hers on all night resulting
in a $50 increase of our electric bill, but once I
mentioned it she turned it off.
Have you considered hosting? For us it works. The school
screens the students and sometimes they are only with you 4-
8 weeks. If you don't get along, you contact the school.
Most speak passable English. We've had some that we truly
enjoy and are still in contact with each other years
later. Then there are others who keep to themselves behind
a closed door in their room. You can get a feel for the
student after awhile. The best thing is that, if you don't
like the student much, you know there is an end date.
However, if you like them, departures can be tearful!
I have rented rooms from families as a ''quiet graduate
student'' in the past, and I can say that I was almost
pathologically afraid of intruding on the family's privacy
or making them uncomfortable. (I stayed with one family --
this was a bad situation -- who yelled at me for never
engaging them in polite, but brief, conversations when I saw
them. You can imagine how fun the subsequent conversations
were.) I ate poorly because I was afraid to share the
kitchen, cleaned the shared toilet routinely, and generally
treated the space sharing as a form of obligatory
trespassing. I don't *think* I ever stole anything! --
although I may have used things like paper towels or
silverware that I believed/was told it was ok to share (but
always washed or replaced). The point is, if you want to
share your house with someone as uncomfortable with the
arrangement as you are, those people are always out there,
because the economy is what it is. It is basically
tolerable and, if you're a little friendlier than the family
above, sometimes pleasant.
By ''graduate student'' I assume you're looking for someone
with genteel, upper-middle-class manners, respect for
property rights, and a retiring nature who nonetheless is
too poor to afford a better living situation -- right? You
will have no trouble finding such a person and making it
clear to them that you expect docility and deference. No
trouble at all. It's fair to ask yourself whether you want
a relationship like that with another person, however. If
you really don't think you'll get *anything* positive from
the experience besides money, don't do it. No one, no
matter how polite and quiet they are, truly wants to live
with people who resent and dislike them. If you think you
can be civil and respectful to your tenant and afford
him/her a modicum of trust, though -- as I said, this
situation can be perfectly fine.
- they carpet train us before our prelims
I share the same concerns as you regarding renting a room
in my house. My suggestions are the following:
1.always get references from a previous landlord
2.If you have a graduate student, they will be busy and
won't be around a lot. This you can screen out. Either get
an employment reference or other professional reference.
3. A deposit is mandatory for any kind of rental
4. CONTRACTS are mandatory. ALWAYS be sure to have a
written contract with anyone in your home. If you have any
issues at all (damages, whatever) and have no written
contract you have no protection whatsoever on any level.
5. Use your instincts. If you really like that rug you are
talking about, and it's really important to you, remove
it. If you feel that it will kill you if something happens
to it, take it away.
There is certainly some adjusting and accomodation (pun
intended...) necessary when renting a room out in your house...
Here are some suggestions:
o Treat it as if you were renting out a full apartment,
rather than just letting a room. Have a written lease, use
written rental applications, require a security deposit, get
references, use a tenant background check/credit report
service (e.g. Fidelis AM but there are many) and so on.
o The above is necessary because there is little difference
between renting a full unit and renting a room.
o The rule of landlording, regarding getting rid of bad
tenants, is to not let them in to begin with. Screen them
per above, be clear about the house rules, the terms of the
lease, the rent, security deposit, what's included, what's
not, etc. up front.
o Don't discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender,
sexual-identity, physical ability, and other protected
classes. When renting shared space, you have a little more
leeway, but not a lot.
o Ideally, your boarder would be confined to their room at
all times they are at home, and you would only see them
coming and going. But that's simply not reality. They're
going to be in the kitchen, they're going to have stuff in
your fridge, on your shelves, and they're going to want to
sit in the living room, and sometimes they are going to want
to have a guest. If you can't deal with this, you probably
aren't suited for it.
o Review the tax implications with your tax advisor. You
should be able to write off a portion of expenses tied to
the room rental, against your income.
From what you have written, it sounds like you should let your husband
have the veto on bringing a stranger into your home. Privacy is a big
deal to most adult married men. We have had a house cleaner's
boyfriend steal my husband's stuff, and have never gotten over it.
If you happened to KNOW a tidy, quiet, well-mannered student, that
would be a different matter. But IMHO it would be a false economy to
bring in an unknown tenant to help pay the rent who could easily cause
you unlimited headaches.
Your happy marriage and peaceful home are the priority here,
Renting room to childcare provider
We are fortunate to have a large house with five bedrooms,
one of which we have rented out to a boarder in the past.
We'd like to do this again, but this time, offering to rent
the room to childcare provider that could put in a couple
hours each day during the week in the morning as a ''mothers
helper'' to get the kids dressed, fed, off-to school, etc.
We can't afford a full-time nanny, and I would assume this
person would have other work that provides the bulk of
Does anyone have any experience with how to structure this?
I presume that the correct approach would be to have one
lease agreement for the room, and a separate agreement for
the childcare services. (As opposed to a single agreement
that provides room and board in exchange for child care.)
I imagine the two agreement approach would, for example,
allow the boarder to continue boarding in the event he/she
could no longer provide childcare for whatever reason.
Your real-world experiences appreciated.
Plenty of Room
How much is the room worth? 10hours per week at $15 per hour is 600
per month. This doesn't seem like it would be a fair arrangement if you
charge for the room in addition to child care.
Renting out a room in our house
Hello BPN People
we have a small room in our home with a private entrance,
private patio, and bath-- we're in Kensington at the
bottom of the hill just off Colusa Cir. (walkable to BART,
Solano, etc.) and I'm wondering what we could rent it
for? The room is to be rented seperately as a mini-studio
w/o house priveledges. We provide a hot plate, microwave
and frige, only a bathroom sink -- not sure if we'll
provide laundry priveledges or not. The space is very
woodsy and beautiful-- yet small (10 X 11)-- the patio is
another 10 X 10.
Do you think this type of place is rentable in this area?
JUST a room-- with no access to the rest of the house?
We'd have to do some soundproofing work on the room and
would appreciate hearing from anyone who has experience
renting rooms in this area before we invest the time and
money into converting it into our mini-studio
I don't think you'll have a problem renting out your room.
I rented out a small cottage in the back of my former
house in Albany. It was even smaller than yours (with no
private outdoor space), and I got $600/month for it.
Granted, it was closer to Solano Ave than yours, but your
neighborhood is nice, too...and close to BART. What I did
was to list the room on Craigslist for the amount I
thought I could get. I initially rented it at $700, but
then we lost 2 tenants during the first year because it
was too expensive for them. When I lowered it to $600, I
got an amazing tenant who stayed for a long time. Good
I've been renting out a room in my house, which is near the
N. Berkeley BART station, for the last 3 years. The room
does include kitchen privileges, but I've had a number of
people in it who cooked so little that a hotplate would have
sufficed for them.
I've tried a few renting methods: first I listed it at U.C.
Housing Office online and my first 2 renters were students.
Then I decided I wanted somewhat older renters, so I
switched to craigslist. I still use CL, and now I also use
I first rented it for $650./month, then raised it to $700.,
and had little trouble keeping it occupied.
I haven't wanted a real long-term renter, don't want to make
that kind of commitment, and my first several renters
averaged 3-6 mos. Then I had a few weeks' gap to fill and I
decided to try listing it on CL as a weekly rental at
$300./week. That was very successful and I realized that I
could make substantially more money specializing in
short-term rentals, so now I list it as a weekly rental on
CL and then negotiate a monthly rate if someone wants to
stay 4 or more weeks.
On airbnb, the rates are per day, and I list at $50./day. My
current renter is by way of airbnb, she is staying 3 months,
and we negotiated a monthly rental of $850.
I'm really happy doing short-term rentals- the income is
great and I've enjoyed the parade of people through my house
(a web developer from Russia, an astrophysicist from
Australia, a digital storyteller from Malaysia, and an
assortment of others- not a bad apple in the bunch).
I made the room really nice- fresh paint, nice furniture,
TV, stereo, computer desk, comfy bed, etc.- which is
important to attracting quality renters. I provide all linens.
Well, that's my experience, I hope some of it is useful to you!
I live in central Berkeley and have an extra room I am thinking
about renting to a student. They could come and go as they please,
would have no chores outside of cleaning up after themselves in
the bathroom, keeping their room clean, and doing there own
laundry. They could join us for meals or not, as they prefer. They
could not have overnight guests. Has anyone done this and what
experience or advice can anyone offer? What would be a fair price
Thanks for any assistance anyone can offer.
I rented two rooms for a year (to a postdoc and her son, and a grad student) to help
cover my husband's rent when he was away on sabbatical. You can gauge current
rents by checking on craigslist and with the off campus housing office at
calrentals.housing.berkeley.edu. The rent you can request won't be as much as you
may hope, but you'll benefit taxwise by reporting the rental income and writing off
expenses including the depreciation on the percentage of your home that you're
renting - you'll wind up declaring a loss actually. I found that year kinda tough, found
it hard to have people in our home, but you sound like a more relaxed and more social
person than I am!!
Recovered landlord (!)
My friend the expert hostess for exchange students says that no
guest living situation can work unless the houseguest has his or
her own bathroom. You don't mention the number of bathrooms but
she think this is vital for peace. She also say that male
houseguest need their own bathrooms because of the way they take
care of the bathroom. I cannot help you with price. And I think
you are smart to spell out no overnight guests.
renting a room can be really wonderful, socially, and incredibly difficult too. Be
prepared to trust your renter and also be very direct about your expectations
regarding pets, noise, bathroom use, kitchen use, smells (incense, pot, cooking
meat, etc.), what spaces are shared (kitchen & linen cabinets, etc.) parking in
driveway, bicycle storage, space for hobbies & gardening, energy use, telephone/
dsl lines and anything else that may be difficult to share. We have had many
housemates in our house and it was easy until we had kids: then we became a lot
less flexible. The big issues for me were: noisy coming and going that woke me up,
boyfriend spending everynight over (cuz boyfriend was prohibited by his
housemates from having overnight guests) and cooking in kitchen together every
night, boyfriend's dog barking and shedding, 2-hour long baths (we have only one
bathroom), broken car stored in driveway for 12 months, smoking in house when
expecting baby, and television on constantly in shared space. But, this housemate
was a wonderful person: always happy to sooth baby when I was at the end of my
tether, and was warm, friendly and a wonderful presence. I just wished that I had
been more clear from the start. It is better to state what you cannot tolerate or
share in the beginning and also important that you ask potential housemate to
consider what they need too. It is not fair to stipulate ''no overnight guests''. You
can stipulate advanced planning, length of visit, and that regular bathroom and
kitchen use is only by one, not two people, cuz your house can really only take the
impact of one more person. What if the housemates family member wants/needs to
visit for a few days? What if the housemate falls in love -- must rent a hotel room?
I would never rent with a ''no overnight guest stipulation'': it implies a strong lack of
trust, and if you are not prepared to throw the benefit of the doubt at your renter
and assume trust initially, then you shouldn't have a renter
I am considering the possibility of renting one of my 2 bedrooms in my small, cozy,
N. Berkeley bungalow. There are some special considerations to take into account,
and I'd like advice on whether this sounds feasible and realistic. Also, since there
are renters on this list, some advice on a fair rent to charge would be much
appreciated. I want to get a sense of whether this is a good idea or not before I start
rearranging my house!
Here's the story. The room is the front bedroom with direct access from the front
door, not a separate entrance, but a bit of privacy when entering. It is 14.5' x 10.5 ',
and southeast windows that give nice light. There is a nice size closet, which I would
need to keep a small amount of space in for myself. I would plan to furnish the
room simply, and there are several shelves on the wall over the best place for a
The house has one small bathroom off the hallway between the bedrooms (nice
bathtub, tile, etc.). I keep the house clean and neat, it's nicely furnished, and there's
a fireplace. There's also a nice sized and peaceful back garden (currently being
partially redone, so a bit torn up). The neighborhood is quiet, and is 1.5 blocks from
BART, and a short walk to Monterey Market area.
I would not be looking for someone who wants to make a permanent home, as I'm
not looking for a long term tenant/housemate, maybe 2-3 months at a time, then
review, continue if mutually agreeable. I'm thinking maybe a visiting academic, grad
student or other person in transition, etc. Use of the kitchen and living room would
be included. It also might be a good set-up for someone wanting a quiet place to
write during the day, but not actually live in. I work at home (I would be moving my
office from the front bedroom to the dining room), am in and out, but my work and
lifestyle are not noisy. I would want a tenant who is also reasonably quiet.
The special considerations are that I have 3 (very nice) grown dogs, so the person
would have to genuinely like and know dogs- it's just a lot of dog energy around.
And, I have one (very nice) cat. The cat's door is through the front bedroom window,
and there is absolutely no place else that I can set it up because of the dogs. So, the
person would also have to enjoy cats and not mind her walking through. The pet
issues are my biggest concern- would it just be too hard to find someone who
would be happy sharing a house with 4 animals?
Looking at room rentals on Craigs List, the prices seem to be generally in the
$600.-700. range, but it's hard to tell what's comparable to this.
I would really appreciate any feedback or advice!
This is advice from the Landlord Liaison at the Cal Rentals
Office (part of UC Housing):
Over the years many Berkeley residents have rented rooms to
visiting scholars and found it an interesting and rewarding
experience. The typical visiting professor or scholar comes
either for one semester (mid-August through December or January
through May) or for the academic year. This means that the
greatest demand for room rentals involves time periods that are
longer than 2-3 months. However, there are also people who come
for shorter periods, especially during the summer months. Grad
students are almost always interested in long term housing.
Visitors usually expect a fully furnished room with a bed,
dresser, desk and chair, adequate lighting, linens and,
increasingly, internet access in the room.
A furnished room with shared bath in the Monterey Market/North
Berkeley Bart area would realistically probably rent for
between $500 and $600(including utilities) in the current
market. If you use Craig's List as a benchmark for rental
rates, you should know that people often advertise rentals on
CL with the expectation of negotiating downward.
Pets in your home are not necessarily a negative, but some
cultures are not as dog and cat friendly as we are in Berkeley,
and three dogs and a cat may put some people off. But if so,
then you probably wouldn't want that person living in your
house. Sometimes visitors from other parts of the U.S., and
grad students (especially) have pets of their own and they find
it extremely difficult to find a place that will accept their
pets, so if your pets are amenable to sharing their space, this
could be a plus.
Finally, anyone contemplating renting out a room in the current
fairly soft rental market should be aware that the number of
academic visitors is down from in the past, and there is no
guarantee of continuous occupancy, especially for rooms that
are not in walking distance to campus.
If you would like to list your room rental, or a vacant house
our apartment, with the University, please contact the Cal
Rentals Office, 2610 Channing Way #2272, Berkeley, CA 94720-
2272, 642-3644. You can download a rental listing form from
Nancy at Cal Rentals
I would respectfully say a renter with whom you have no prior
relationship, paying anywhere near market rate, would not want
to have your belongings in his/her closet and let your cat in
and out, even if they didn't mind all the pets, and be told at
move-in that you would decide in 2-3 months if they still had a
place to live. I have had several renters in our home and they
view that space as paid for and temporarily their own and only
want to be responsible to pay rent on time and not cause
permanent damage or be too loud. College students in the summer
months may be more pliable, but won't pay very much for that set-
up, maybe half market rate.
What is the going rate for a room in a home in the Oakland
Hills? The room is furnished, has it's own small bathroom and a
semi private entrance from the side of the house. Do views
count? Do you charge for utilities? Kitchen privelages are
We have several rentals like the one you describe. For a one bedroom,
with it's own kitchen, and amazing views, we get $1850. Although the
units are new, the views are the main selling point for us, so yes,
they do count. If you're sharing a kitchen, and it's more of a
studio, I think you can charge at least $1250, if it's nice and an
okay size. We also charge for utilities, based on sq. ft., internet
($25) and satellite ($35). Good luck! -B.
We rent but we are not located in the Oakland Hills. What I do
when I need to rent our place is look into Craig's list, input
info similar to our place and look for the prices to get an idea
of the going price range. Good luck renting your place,
Yikes! I was not going to contribute to the discussion about
what to charge for a room, figuring I would let home owners
inform this person what they are getting. However, the $1850
for a one bedroom
apartment, even with fabulous views, is an incredibly high rent
for the current market.
Here in Cal Rentals at UC Berkeley, where we input over 20,000
rental ads annually, we see whole 2 and 3 bedroom houses in
nice areas going for this kind of rent. And $1250 for a studio
with shared kitchen? Not likely. If this landlord is
currently getting those kinds of rents, he or she is very
The rental market demand has softened considerably and rents
have declined quite a bit overall. Room rentals with kitchen
privileges are running between $425 to $650, depending upon the
size of the room and the location. If you are asking more, the
room had better have some extra amenities: a private bath,
extra large size, fireplace, superior view--those sorts of
things. We rarely see studio apartments, with kitchens that
are not shared, for over $1000 any more. Most studios are
renting for well under $900, even in good areas.
If you would like to give us a call and tell us some specifics
about what you hope to rent out, we can give you some market
comparables. That way, you won't be asking too much rent and
then wondering why you aren't getting any telephone calls from
prospective tenants. The landlord listing line for Cal Rentals
My husband and I are thinking of renting out a room (or two) in
our house for the next year or two. We have a 4B/2B house. I
am looking for advice from others who have done this. If you
ran a credit check, how did you do this? What kinds of
questions did you ask them when you interviewed prospective
tenants? What house rules did you have? If you had problems
with your tenant, how did you resolve them? Since we have a
young daughter, it complicates things alittle because the
tenant would have to be quiet once she went to bed but tolerant
of the noise a normal toddler can make.
A few years ago I decided to get a renter to help with my
financial situation. I started by asking friends if they knew
anyone who was looking for a room rental. Then I posted an ad
on Craigslist in which I was very honest and straightforward
about my two small dogs, the room itself and sharing a
bathroom. I interviewed a couple of candidates and also talked
to a friend of a friend who was interested. I ended up having
her move in with me and she stayed for 2 years. She loved my
dogs, took great care of them when I was away and was a great
roommate in every way. We did not become friends, but we were
friendly and polite to one another. From time to time I would
invite her to get-togethers I had at the house, but generally we
did not socialize together. She was a v. prompt rent payer and
overall it was a great first landlord experience. We are still
in touch and she still watches my dogs. Anyway, a few
recommendations I have: Find someone you know, but aren't
really close friends with. I didn't do a background check, but
got a good sense of what my former roommate was like from my
other friend who knew her. We didn't really have any major
issues during her stay but she would purchase big items (from
Costco) that we really didn't have any room for and that kinda
bugged but it wasn't a big enough deal for me to bring it up. I
picked my few battles carefully. I would be very honest during
the interview process, letting prospective tenants know what you
expect and are willing to provide. Because of your child tho',
I recommend a background check/credit check. It will put your
mind at ease. Good luck.
Advertise to single parents. There must be plenty of parents out there who
would love a shared living situation with other parents. You can share
babysitters and another parent will be understanding of your child's sleep
schedule - theirs may even have a similar one. Advertise here on UCBPN and at
places like Bananas.
I moved into a large house 7 years ago for the purpose of living
with housemates. I had a partner and have 2 kids. I have
successfully and happily lived with old friends, newer friends,
and students. The only unfortunate housemates were a very young
couple and their dog who I did not meet before they moved in
because they were relocating from the East coast. Your
housemates will be living with you, not just renting a room.
Choose them carefully. Think about what kind of people you are,
what your values are, your hours, your cleanliness needs, etc.
I find that younger housemates are less fussy than those of us
who have had more time to get stuck in our ways. My younger
housemates have become dear friends. Don't let age differences
get in your way. However, try to judge a person's degree of
responsibility. Think twice or three times about allowing pets,
even if you like animals. Consider who you will feel safe with
having in the house while you are asleep or away. You can run
credit checks, though for housemates I never have.
(Google ''credit checks for landlords'' for services. There are
many kinds of checks to choose from for a small fee.) However,
do write out a rental agreement. The written agreement, with
lots of details, makes it very clear to everyone what is
expected. This helps avoid conflict or uncomfortable
situations. Nolo Press has a very wonderful and simple book for
landlords with a CD with the forms you need. It's a good
investment. Living with other people can be such a rewarding
experience for you and your children. I hope you enjoy it as
much as I do. Good luck.
Sign me: Nuclear No More.
I just want to suggest that you rent to someone you know, or to
someone who knows someone you know. Or, do a credit check and get
references and call the references. A few years ago I was sharing
a house with 4 other adults (all of us grad students or working
people), plus two kids, and we naively rented one of our rooms to
someone who turned out to be a crazy lady. When we met her she seemed
like a reasonable person, friendly and intelligent, an older woman
who said she was a writer. We thought she'd be a good roommate - never
occurred to us to check references. Within a month, she had filed
restraining orders against all of us, was calling the police to
come to the house saying she feared for her life, and she refused to
move out, claiming she had no other place to go, and that our eviction
notice was in retaliation for her restraining orders. We were forced
to hire a lawyer, and we all had to go to court to defend ourselves.
It still was two more months of hell before she finally moved out. We
found out during the court process that she was paying rent on another
apartment in Berkeley, and had filed numerous restraining orders against
previous housemates, and had taken numerous people and organizations
(local churches, the YMCA, UC Berkeley) to small claims court. What
a nightmare that was!
Always check references
this page was last updated: Sep 3, 2014
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