A Landlord’s Guide To Renting Out A Room In Your House

By: ROS Team July 27, 2021

Share the Post:

Renting out a room in your house might be a fantastic way to supplement your income and help pay off your mortgage. When managing a rental property or another form of real estate, having the right mindset when renting out a room is crucial.

You are establishing yourself as a landlord when you rent out a spare room, and when doing so, you should be aware of the unique regulatory and legal matters that come along with it. If you aren’t, you might end up with bad tenants you can’t get rid of, or worse, you might open yourself up to potential lawsuits.

We’ll go over rules and methods for tracking revenue and expenses to gauge how much you’re paying in taxes accurately. We’ll also offer a few suggestions on how to deal with tenants.

Laws and Regulations In Renting

The laws and rules governing landlord tenant interactions differ significantly from state to state, and even among different cities within a state. It is worth examining any location-specific regulations that may be in place regarding renting out a room in your property to ensure you remain in compliance with the law. In this way, you will get an idea on renting a room in your house laws.

Laws and Regulations In Renting

For example, you may buy a condo. Still, the local homeowner’s organization may prohibit having additional residents who aren’t family members living in the home — essentially preventing you from renting out a spare room in your home.

In other circumstances, conditions rather than limits may apply. For example, a renter may be required to have autonomous access to the leased area. Alternatively, you may be required to have the accommodation inspected in some towns before renting it out. Check to see if your unused space conforms with the local rules.

Discriminatory Factors and Marketing

There are several exceptions to the usual protection classes set forth by the Federal Fair Housing Laws when choosing someone who will live in the same residence as you.

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits the use of discriminatory language in advertising a rental property, as well as basing your final decision on discriminatory grounds.

The following categories are protected:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Nationality /Ethnic Background
  • Gender
  • Familial Status


However, when choosing a tenant who would be residing in a space in your house in which you will also be occupying, the Federal Fair Housing Laws do allow some exclusions as we mentioned above.

This means that you may be pickier about the renters you choose because of the shared living space. For instance, if you are a female, you could advertise for a female roommate. If you are strictly religious, you may want to look for someone who shares your religious beliefs and dietary requirements. This would be prohibited in a normal rental situation but not when renting out a room in your home. This shows how respect is also given importance in renting out a room in your house.

Roomer’s Rights

Again, details vary per state. Citizen owners can access a rented unit when necessary. The renter is not going to be harassed or robbed, though. A renter’s rights must be considered while they are renting a room in your house.

Do not enter rooms without permission, as this might be viewed as an infringement of the renter’s privacy and build friction between the owner occupant and the renter. Non-resident landlords must give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property, except in the event of an emergency.

Security Deposit

It is an excellent practice to get a security deposit from the renter who will be staying in your spare room. It will safeguard you from financial loss during their rent term. Generally, deposits must be refunded within 21 days of a tenant’s move-out date. To be on the safe side, always keep an itemized list of any deductions from the deposit when the tenants move out.

Setting Up The Room

A room you are renting out must be “habitable;” that is, it must be fit to live in and meet building and health requirements. The landlord must make the space habitable.

Some considerations to bear in mind:

  • Do the windows need repair? Do they close?
  • Is there a restroom available?
  • Is there evidence of mold?


Many folks want a furnished room to rent. It must be a hospitable rent out spare room. If you go ahead and decorate the room, conduct an inventory first and document the room’s contents in photographs. Confirm the tenant signs an inventory list and does a quick walk-through examination of the room ahead of time.

Ending The Tenancy

Good tenants move out when they can do so. Unfortunately, some renters are not willing to go when they should. If you’ve decided to part ways with the renter, do so by opening a dialogue with them and conveying your concerns with them. Ask them to move out if your concerns can’t be rectified.

If they don’t vacate the room, you will need to initiate the eviction process. An eviction lawsuit must meet all the tight guidelines to prevail in court proceedings.

Managing Rent For A Room In Your House

There are both positive and negative aspects of renting out a room in your house for tax purposes. The bad news is that the government taxes any reported income earned from renting out the room.

Managing Rent For A Room In Your House

As a landlord, you qualify for certain tax benefits that allow you to offset your taxable income against your expenses.

Claimable deductions that reduce your taxable income include:

  • Cleaning and maintenance expenses;
  • Property insurance premiums;
  • Service fees imposed by companies like Airbnb;
  • Fees associated with marketing and advertising the property.


Tracking your income and expenses is a great approach to making sure completing your tax return is more manageable.

Read A Rental Agreement

Remain open and honest in your communication with the renter, and you’ll see great success with your tenant landlord relationship.

Providing a written rental agreement (depending on your area and the length of their stay) is usually a good idea, but it isn’t always necessary. Oral agreements are difficult to enforce. A lease agreement for renting a room in my house is a great way to protect both parties.

An explicit rental agreement should define what you anticipate from your roomer, as well as describe the main points of the agreement such as:

  • Rent amount;
  • Rent due date;
  • Guest policy;
  • Kitchen use; and
  • Laundry policy


Ideas For Creating Your Room Rental Agreement

Ideas For Creating Your Room Rental Agreement

Set Your House Rules

Clearly state the house rules in the rental agreement and ensure you and the roomer sign and understand the contract. Agree that the party who wishes to change any portion of the agreement must notify the other party, and determine when that notification should take place.

Guest Agreement

Include the overnight visitor policy in the house rules and agreements. How often can the roomer have overnight guests, and how long can they stay? Does having friends disrupt your regular life? Does having overnight guests mean paying a higher share of the utility bills? Is there any lease agreement for renting a room in my house?

Laundry Perks

If you need to, indicate a day and time each week when the roomer can do their laundry. How many loads/weeks is allowed? Is there a fee?

The property probably has a driveway or garage. Designating where the roomer can park in the driveway may be beneficial. Will the roomer and landlord have direct access to each other’s vehicle keys?

Smoking and Pets

Determine whether or not smoking and pets will be allowed. If so, where can the roomer smoke, and where are pets allowed to roam?

Room Access

Unsupervised access into the renter’s room can be considered an invasion of privacy. When is the time a landlord can be allowed to enter the roomer’s room?

Suppose the house is on fire, which is a true emergency, or the renter leaves the windows open. Respecting each other’s right to privacy is critical.

Phone and Internet Services

Describe all the services accessible to the roomer while they rent the room along with any expectations you may have for splitting the costs, including how the tenant should pay.

Recycle/Waste Management

Household garbage disposal must be well-known to all roomers. How should they separate their trash? Ensure garbage day is clearly displayed.


You will have more money and less stress by renting out a room in your property in the long run. However, selecting the proper renter is critical – use a thorough screening process and use software like Landlord Studio to track your revenue and spending so you can benefit from the tax breaks that come with being a landlord.