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Canadians have been dealing with the high cost of living for a while now. So, in order to help make things more manageable, many residents have taken to living with roommates in order to help make these costs more manageable.
But how does this impact you as an investor?
Renting to roommates has a few key differences to renting to single tenants, but overall, it is usually manageable with very few hassles. In fact, a large portion of student rentals operate on a roommate structure.
However, it is important to know how to navigate these circumstances so that you do not find yourself in a troubling spot later if conflict does arise. So, in order to help you get started, here is everything you should know before renting to roommates.
First, student rentals and properties with multiple roommates may be treated differently by mortgage lenders. So, if you plan on running a student rental or renting to roommates, click the link below to book a free strategy call to ensure you are getting the right financing option today.
How is Renting to Roommates and Student Rentals Different Than Renting to Single Tenants?
When it comes to renting out your investment properties to roommates and student rentals, there are a few key details that you need to take into account that make it different from single-tenant rentals. These differences boil down into three main categories. These categories are:
Unlike single-tenant rentals where the full responsibility for the rent and taking care of the property sits firmly on the shoulders of the primary resident, roommates and tenants in student rentals need to be able to share the responsibility.
This means communicating to your tenants from the beginning that they are going to be jointly liable for the property. You can ensure this by stating that the tenants are ‘jointly and severally liable’ on the lease agreement and making each tenant sign the agreement. This means that for the purposes of the lease the tenants are essentially treated as one person.
As a result, they are each responsible for the rent and maintaining the property. If an issue arises where one of the roommates cannot pay or is causing conflict, it is up to the tenants to resolve this issue and ensure that everything is taken care of.
You can further affirm that the tenants are all on the same page regarding their responsibilities by encouraging them to draft and sign a roommate agreement. While you cannot necessarily enforce the contents of that agreement, it does give them a firm starting point when it comes to assigning and managing individual responsibilities.
Of course, there may occasionally be times where the tenants where the remaining tenants will have to ask you to step in and deal with the tenant in question, but the responsibility falls onto the tenants first.
When renting a property to multiple tenants in student rentals or rooming houses, communication is key. This not only includes how the tenants communicate their responsibilities, but also how they navigate communicating with you as the property owner.
Naturally, if you are renting a house to five roommates, you would want for each of them to be responsible enough to inform you in the event that there is an emergency of sudden concern. However, at the same time, you and your property managers do not have time to take five calls about the same situation from five different tenants.
So, the best solution to this is to encourage your tenants to appoint a ‘tenant representative.’ The representative should be the person who all of the roommates agree is the most responsible and is most likely to pass on any important information to you and the rest of the house. This individual is then responsible for communicating with you directly when there is a concern. Of course, under extenuating circumstances, you would still have a line open for them to communicate with you.
In turn, if you need to communicate with the tenants, you will be capable of delivering messages directly to the tenant representative and they will be responsible for relaying that information to the rest of the household.
One of the largest differences when it comes to renting your property to roommates is the exit strategy regarding tenants moving out. Often, tenants who are renting on a roommate basis are going to know each other beforehand and will not want to live with strangers. This can cause problems when a single tenant moves out.
When a single tenant moves out, suddenly each tenant is going to be responsible for a much larger portion of the rent, unless they are willing to live with a new roommate who can come in to take on the responsibility of the previous renter. However, unless the current residents know someone they can bring in, they will likely end up living with a stranger that will impact their communication structure and existing living agreements.
As a result, you can find yourself hoping that a group of roommates move out at the same time, so that you can bring in an entirely new group once they’ve vacated the property.
It also may be harder to sell a property that is being rented to roommates than a property with a single tenant because the assumed level of risk associated with the property will be greater and may deter buyers.
So, it is important that you take the time to come up with a plan for potential exit strategies for tenants leaving and you selling the property so that you are not caught off guard when the time does come.
Discover How To Rent A Property With This Step By Step Guide
Roommates and Student Rentals
Student rentals are some of the most common situations where you will find yourself renting to roommates. These can be great because of the consistent demand for student rentals each semester and school year but can also be difficult to manage due to the high turnover rate of students moving to new housing between semesters or graduating/leaving school.
For more information regarding how roommates and multiple tenants in your investment properties may impact your mortgage, give us a call at LendCity. Our team is ready to help you navigate your investments and ensure that you achieve the long-term success you have been dreaming of.