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Old 12-16-2013, 11:31 AM   #1
Baroquenride OP
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Question WA Landlords- How do I rent out rooms?

I live in WA and this is directed at WA landlords mostly, but open to OR landlords input. I'll be renting 2 of the rooms in my house soon (master bedroom/bathroom, smaller room). I've never done this before and looking for advice on the legal rental agreement paperwork as well as the background check part (how do I do it, etc). I'm open to all advice, but specifically interested in the HOW-TO aspect of getting into this.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:16 PM   #2
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Let me google that for you!

We rented out our house while living with my wife's parents, but I've never rented a room out of my house while living here. It is difficult and costly to evict someone, so make sure your lease agreement is really solid. Probably not much help but good luck-
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:19 PM   #3
Baroquenride OP
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Very cool- thanks!
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:58 PM   #4
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Make sure you talk to your homeowners insurance agent. The liability section of the policy (the part that protects you from lawsuits) does not cover business activities. You need to make sure you have an exception for "roommates" that pay rent, which is basically the situation you have here.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:36 PM   #5
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I've worked as a property manager, and long ago rented a room from someone, so I'll throw in 2 cents.

Get to know Washington state tenant laws. They're pretty basic, but you should be familiar with them. (they are unenforceable without going to court with a lawyer, so they don't carry that much weight. Police will not enforce them, they only enforce criminal complaints.)

Find the most detailed tenant application that you can. Lots of them on the web, I pasted several together for my needs. I used Intelius for background checks and also checked credit (through another website).

Get the most detailed rental agreement that you can. You want all your expectations on paper, especially for renting a room. Include things like groceries, overnight guests, laundry etc. And I would stick to a month to month lease.

The hardest part of finding roommates is selecting people that you'll get along with. Find easy-going roommates and everything else will be easy. Choose difficult roommates and your home could become hell.

Good Luck..
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:03 PM   #6
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I use this place for screening tenants:

They are in Spokane. I make the prospective tenants pay the fee for the check. Most people who are going to have trouble with a background check will not want to waste their money. The people at Airfactz go thru the screening process and then give me a thumbs up or down. If you do your own background checks, you will need to be careful to follow the applicable laws pertaining to credit checks including maintaining the prospective tenants important info and results of the screening in a secure location. Having a service do this for you takes away that hassle.

I have never rented a room in my house. Just a whole house. So no ideas on that. Sounds scary to me.

Airfactz has some tenant agreements available on their website to their customers. You might also search for WA State Tenant / Landlord Laws. I give a pamphlet to every tenant at check in so they know their rights and resposibilities. There are also some mold and lead paint forms and disclosures I use. I think I got them from some WA state website.

Good Luck!
Screening tenants is totally worth it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #7
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We screen our prospective tenants through a co. called Rental Research at applicants expense. We rent out houses but same principle. Set your standards and don't make exceptions. For example we require them to not spend more than 40% of their income on rent. Income too low? Sorry. Credit bad? Sorry. (Although we have somewhat lowered our credit req's over the years. )
Biggest factor is what previous landlords say. If they answer no to the ? Will you rent to them again, we won't touch them.
And always put everything in writing.
Good luck. Land lording is not for everyone but works well for some. Wife and I are a good team, and several rentals have allowed me to "retire" at 53 yrs old.
I'm going riding now
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:18 AM   #8
Yo. I'm Bow.
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room for rent

they are not your friend. business is business.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:25 AM   #9
Almost There
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Originally Posted by Deanman View Post
Set your standards and don't make exceptions.

This x1000

I have a rental and let somebody in that didn't meet the qualifications I wanted. They had a sad story though and swore they had turned their life around.

It took a year and a lot of frustration to get them on track and I was lucky. They finally got their act together but it could have been much worse and cost a lot of money to get them out.

A couple months of not getting rent while the room is empty is well worth it if that means getting the right person.
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