How to Rent Your Downstairs Apartment

It’s becoming more common to observe that a garage or first floor of a home turned into an apartment for lease income. These types of flats are often called in-law units, named after a location for your own mother-in-law to stay when visiting. Usually an in-law unit is a studio or one bedroom that has its own entry, a simple kitchen and small living room. Renting your in-law unit can allow you to pay your mortgage and stay on top of your monthly expenses. Renting these types of units is much like renting any different sort of housing.

Learn the legalities of having an in-law unit on your city or community. Laws regarding these types of apartment change by city, especially concerning issues like rent control. In-law units, guest houses and so on may signify that you’re turning your property into a multifamily construction; Assess the city codes to ensure your region is zoned appropriately by consulting with a layout contractor or contacting your local city’s Building and Inspection Department.

Repair any damages in the unit. Renting any type of apartment comes with a legal obligation, such as in-law or guest spaces. Carpeting has to be set up properly to prevent someone from tripping over a loose corner, the ideal amount of smoke sensors should be included, loose staircase or planks need to be fixed and anything such as mould or peeling paint ought to be addressed immediately.

Check with your insurance coverage to find out if it covers a separate unit or renters. Though the downstairs unit may be technically in precisely the same building as your residence, the insurance carrier may see it as a separate entity and require extra coverage.

Verify that your home will be able to manage the additional plumbing and electricity requirements. It’s quite different to have out of town guests stay in the unit once in awhile than to have a renter living there full time. Plumbing backups can be expensive and electricity overloads may be dangerous, even causing fire. Have a certified plumber and electrician, respectively, do a comprehensive inspection.

Cost the unit in accordance with market value. Research what additional in-law and guest units go for in your area. These units tend to be slightly less than conventional studio or one bedroom apartments since they are usually on the ground and often toward the back of the main home. In-law units also tend to be compact in accordance with smaller than normal kitchen and bathrooms.

Choose tenants with caution. Though you’re renting out the unit yourself, you will still be a real estate manager. The tenant will need to be answerable, which means minimal damages and paying the rent on time. Have all potential tenants fill out a rental program with employment information and references. The candidates must also provide you with a credit report. Pick the tenant who will be able to pay for the rent, based on his income, and one who is held in high regard from previous landlords.

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