The Legal Difference Between Renting a Room Versus House Hacking

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The Legal Difference Between Renting a Room Versus House Hacking

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House hacking: also known as, does this count as a fraternity? In serious terms, house hacking is when you are not renting out a property as a whole, but bedroom by bedroom. In a four-bedroom house, you may have four renters sharing the common areas but having private bedrooms, possibly private bathrooms if there’s an en suite. In an already complicated industry, renting out a singular room means the laws are about to get more hazy. That begs the question, how exactly do the laws change?

Renting Out Your Spare Room

There is a huge difference between renting your property out and renting out your singular spare room. Renting out a single room in a home that you currently live in gives you a lot of sway when it comes to standard housing laws.

House hacking: also known as, does this count as a fraternity? In serious terms, house hacking is when you are not renting out a property as a whole, but bedroom by bedroom. In a four-bedroom house, you may have four renters sharing the common areas but having private bedrooms, possibly private bathrooms if there’s an en suite. In an already complicated industry, renting out a singular room means the laws are about to get more hazy. That begs the question, how exactly do the laws change?

Renting Out Your Spare Room

There is a huge difference between renting your property out and renting out your singular spare room. Renting out a single room in a home that you currently live in gives you a lot of sway when it comes to standard housing laws.

With standard renting, you have to abide by discrimination laws, the ADA, etc. Everyone needs to be screened fairly and through governmental legislation. This isn’t the case with someone renting out the spare guest bedroom. When looking for a roommate, you’re allowed to be nit-picky. You may select the specific gender(s) you want to live with, say no dogs allowed despite being a support animal, and whatever else you may feel, according to law.

bedroom
bedroom

With standard renting, you have to abide by discrimination laws, the ADA, etc. Everyone needs to be screened fairly and through governmental legislation. This isn’t the case with someone renting out the spare guest bedroom. When looking for a roommate, you’re allowed to be nit-picky. You may select the specific gender(s) you want to live with, say no dogs allowed despite being a support animal, and whatever else you may feel, according to law.

“Because we find that the FHA doesn't apply to the sharing of living units, it follows that it's not unlawful to discriminate in selecting a roommate. As the underlying conduct is not unlawful, Roommate's facilitation of discriminatory roommate searches does not violate the FHA.”

There are still rules that need to be applied, however. Draw up a legitimate lease with proper signage. Give them thirty days of notice when it comes time to end their stay by your decision. Make sure they have a habitable space, with a bathroom they can use and full access to the kitchen.

Renting Your Property Room by Room

If you are not living on the property and just renting room by room to different people who are living together, then all laws apply. At that point, you are not looking for a roommate, as seen in the statement above. You are a landlord with multiple tenants, that’s all. You must follow all the legal requirements of a landlord.

“Because we find that the FHA doesn't apply to the sharing of living units, it follows that it's not unlawful to discriminate in selecting a roommate. As the underlying conduct is not unlawful, Roommate's facilitation of discriminatory roommate searches does not violate the FHA.”

There are still rules that need to be applied, however. Draw up a legitimate lease with proper signage. Give them thirty days of notice when it comes time to end their stay by your decision. Make sure they have a habitable space, with a bathroom they can use and full access to the kitchen.

bedroom with arched ceilings

Renting Your Property Room by Room

If you are not living on the property and just renting room by room to different people who are living together, then all laws apply. At that point, you are not looking for a roommate, as seen in the statement above. You are a landlord with multiple tenants, that’s all. You must follow all the legal requirements of a landlord.

bedroom with arched ceilings

One markedly difference between being a standard landlord with one family per property and a landlord who rents room by room is that your tenants will be dealing with each other on a day to day basis, and they can stir up quite a bit of trouble. Most of the time any roommate versus roommate arguments won’t truly be your concern until it comes to property damage, but the lines may get fuzzy fast. Once you sort that out with the tenants, things may get easier, though it may not stop them from calling you.

 

One markedly difference between being a standard landlord with one family per property and a landlord who rents room by room is that your tenants will be dealing with each other on a day to day basis, and they can stir up quite a bit of trouble. Most of the time any roommate versus roommate arguments won’t truly be your concern until it comes to property damage, but the lines may get fuzzy fast. Once you sort that out with the tenants, things may get easier, though it may not stop them from calling you.

 

In the end, how you choose to rent is up to you, whether it be your guest room, room by room in a separate property, or the property to a family. Whichever way you decide, that’s the right answer for you and we’re glad to be a part of your adventure.

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In the end, how you choose to rent is up to you, whether it be your guest room, room by room in a separate property, or the property to a family. Whichever way you decide, that’s the right answer for you and we’re glad to be a part of your adventure.

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The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.