Got a room? Renting it out would bring in some cash

Reported by Mika Highsmith email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Looking for new ways to make ends meet? Who isn't these days? If cutting back on lattes and slashing all your bills isn't cutting it, why not reach out to strangers?

Indeed, a growing number of homeowners are turning to finding folks to rent out rooms.

Sarah Andrus, for example, cut back on her nursing schedule to spend more time with her daughter. While it worked for her family, it put a pinch on her finances. So she decided to rent out a room in her downstairs.

The extra $550 dollars a month really helps out, Andrus said.

The practice of renting out rooms is catching on, says Bill Schneider, with Lifetopia, a web-based roommate and housing service.

"Over a six-month period in 2008, we noticed a 27 percent increase of landlords posting online, and over the last 30 days an additional 20 percent increase," Schneider said.

Andrus found her tenant on Craigslist, which reports that ads for rooms or shared housing spiked 16 percent since June.

Homeowners who open their homes need to remember they're becoming a landlord. Experts suggest checking credit reports and conducting a complete background check. They also say spelling out stipulations is a good idea.

And, spelling it all out in a contract is a good idea.

Most room rentals aren't longterm. Andrus had another renter come and go and recently signed a six-month lease with her new live-in.

"Overall our experience has been really good. We're definitely going to continue to do this," Andrus said.