The other day, I got a call from a homeowner who is considering renting out her home but living in the attached in-law apartment. “Will renters be turned off by this?” she asked. I told her that there are others who successfully rent their homes while living on or very near the premises. In some cases, the owner lives in an apartment over the garage, an adjacent cottage, or even in a basement apartment.
Here’s my advice on the subject:
- Always be up front with the prospective tenant. Make the setup abundantly clear, both in your listing and during your initial conversation. Approach it as a convenience rather than a nuisance. For example, “I live in an apartment over the garage, so although I will give you complete privacy, I’m there if you need me for anything.” Be sure that you include this information in your lease and draw attention to it again in the cover letter that you send to the tenant. You can’t be sure that they will have heard you or that they will be passing this information on to other members of their party. Plus, you will have it in writing so they can’t say you never told them.
- Price your home accordingly. You may not be able to garner the same rent as you could for a home that is completely private.
- Be sure that you come through on your promise to grant them privacy. We have heard of several cases where the homeowner was somewhat obtrusive (yes, even “nosey”), to the extent that the tenants felt that they were being spied on.
- Being on the premises has its advantages. You can welcome incoming tenants with fresh flowers or freshly baked bread or similar gifts. Because you will be meeting them in person, you’re much more likely to establish a friendly relationship than if you lived elsewhere and had only had phone conversations with them. Take advantage of that personal connection, and you may find that your guests will become annual visitors!
Do you have any personal experience in renting out your home while living in part of it?