Author Topic: Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent  (Read 1668 times)

astvilla

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Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent
« on: June 03, 2015, 10:48:32 AM »
I'm planning on moving out soon and I'm perusing craigslist and places4students for a room to rent. There aren't many ways to find places for rent it seems. Airbnb is absolutely insane with high prices (I guess it's more geared for short-term rentals rather than long-term though some of them were ridiculous). If anyone knows of any other creative way for searching listings that'd be awesome.

What are some warning signs or flags to look out for when searching ads for a room to rent? All CAPITAL letters? Incredibly long advertisements demanding this and that and incredible tight control on little things? (i saw an ad once where the landlords say they have security cameras inside the house to watch pets when no one is in the house and to watch you to make sure you don't do anything bad....that normal?). Misleading locations on maps? No pictures? Too many tenants? Demanding a specific kind of person with certain political beliefs or personality? Some of the ads look more like dating profiles sometimes. A warning I learned is only rent with grad students and no undergrads (which I've learned in my personal experience), things like that.

Basically I want to avoid any crazy landlords and just have a good relationship. I was told that it's better to rent in a room with multiple tenants rather than in the landlord's house alone by yourself because the landlord/couple can gang up on you and bully you whereas with multiple tenants you have some on your side should something happen. I'm also concerned about month to month leases where the landlord will try to jack up prices during the winter (when there are less listings). I understand some of the reasons why people do month to month but I'm afraid landlords will also pack and move or for no reason just kick you out and I would think most tenants don't want to worry about where they will stay next everyday. 

I know most people here are landlords so I expect some bias and I know concerns landlords can have are legitimate. Not all tenants are behaved either.

tl;dr As a tenant, what should I look out for if I'm renting out a room?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 10:50:20 AM by astvilla »

zephyr911

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Re: Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2015, 11:18:03 AM »
I'm planning on moving out soon and I'm perusing craigslist and places4students for a room to rent. There aren't many ways to find places for rent it seems. Airbnb is absolutely insane with high prices (I guess it's more geared for short-term rentals rather than long-term though some of them were ridiculous). If anyone knows of any other creative way for searching listings that'd be awesome.

What are some warning signs or flags to look out for when searching ads for a room to rent? All CAPITAL letters? Incredibly long advertisements demanding this and that and incredible tight control on little things? (i saw an ad once where the landlords say they have security cameras inside the house to watch pets when no one is in the house and to watch you to make sure you don't do anything bad....that normal?). Misleading locations on maps? No pictures? Too many tenants? Demanding a specific kind of person with certain political beliefs or personality? Some of the ads look more like dating profiles sometimes. A warning I learned is only rent with grad students and no undergrads (which I've learned in my personal experience), things like that.

Basically I want to avoid any crazy landlords and just have a good relationship. I was told that it's better to rent in a room with multiple tenants rather than in the landlord's house alone by yourself because the landlord/couple can gang up on you and bully you whereas with multiple tenants you have some on your side should something happen. I'm also concerned about month to month leases where the landlord will try to jack up prices during the winter (when there are less listings). I understand some of the reasons why people do month to month but I'm afraid landlords will also pack and move or for no reason just kick you out and I would think most tenants don't want to worry about where they will stay next everyday. 

I know most people here are landlords so I expect some bias and I know concerns landlords can have are legitimate. Not all tenants are behaved either.

tl;dr As a tenant, what should I look out for if I'm renting out a room?
Hi, I'm one of the landlords. I started out sharing my own house with tenants, and had anywhere from 1 to 3 at various times. I don't think the ratio is terribly important... other renters can side against you just as easily as with you.

Expectations are key. Go into detail about what works for you, and get them to do the same, to sure they aren't assuming things you can't/won't comply with.

If they don't want to do a written lease, it's a red flag. They may sell it as being laid-back or whatever, but leases are primarily for YOUR protection. The lease can specify a period of time and it can also specify a minimum amount of notice required for a rent increase, if you're concerned about that. I wouldn't pull that kind of shit but you're rightly concerned that some might.

RunHappy

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Re: Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 11:26:01 AM »
Agree 100% with getting a lease.

Also find out exactly what your financial responsibilities are in regards to utilities, internet, cable, etc.

AJ

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Re: Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2015, 11:52:37 AM »
What are some warning signs or flags to look out for when searching ads for a room to rent? All CAPITAL letters? Incredibly long advertisements demanding this and that and incredible tight control on little things? (i saw an ad once where the landlords say they have security cameras inside the house to watch pets when no one is in the house and to watch you to make sure you don't do anything bad....that normal?). Misleading locations on maps? No pictures? Too many tenants? Demanding a specific kind of person with certain political beliefs or personality? Some of the ads look more like dating profiles sometimes. A warning I learned is only rent with grad students and no undergrads (which I've learned in my personal experience), things like that.

tl;dr As a tenant, what should I look out for if I'm renting out a room?

This depends on what type of living situation you prefer. If you like to live in a very tidy house with well-defined rules, you might like one of those landlords with the long stringent list of must-haves. If you like a more laid-back atmosphere, and you don't mind the smell of weed, look for ads that say 420 friendly. IME, stoners are very laid-back people to live with.

In general, you want to meet people in person (preferably in the house you'll be renting) and trust your gut. If it doesn't feel like a good match, even if you can't articulate why exactly, don't do it.

Dicey

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Re: Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 01:01:52 PM »
Been a landlord with roommates and a roomate in other people's properties most of my adult life. The most important advice is to view the property very carefully and LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. Never do anything that doesn't feel right. Even if you're just not sure, keep looking until you are.

astvilla

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Re: Things to look out for when searching for a room to rent
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2015, 02:36:32 PM »
Good points especially on that lease, yeah 420 friendly is a red flag for me. A lot of houses 420 friendly get robbed at gunpoint in my area so I'm trying to avoid those.

What are some of the pros and cons to living in the same residence as the landlord?

I've also noticed that prices change by the same poster based off pictures. Say earlier it's $XXX/month and then in a later post it's a bit lower after no one bites. There are also ads that are put up for a very long time. Does that mean no one wants those places and there's a good reason for staying away?

I'm also wondering if the choice of words put in an ad needs to be scrutinized and when to look over something or pay close attention. Sometimes I get a feeling or an impression of what someone is really like based off their writing or pictures. (Like daily posting [almost like spamming] would mean someone very impatient and have high expectations, a stretch i know).  Pictures can also show how messy and if it's a religious household.  I'm afraid that people who are devout Christians might have a hard time accepting someone who doesn't have those values.  Should this be an accurate gut barometer to decide whether to avoid or take the plunge?   It seems pretty variable to me. I've also been tricked a couple times with misleading locations and I'm wondering if it's appropriate to ask for an address before wasting time to see a house so I know it's in an area I want. I know there are some privacy concerns to posting addresses but at the very least, landlords should report what landmarks or general area it's in that represents the actual part of the town it's in...right?

On the flip side, what are some things one can do to be a good tenant for a landlord and have a good working, understanding relationship? To me it's not just the house that needs to sell but the chemistry also has to match maybe?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 02:52:14 PM by astvilla »