Thinking about renting a property to old Aunt Edna? Or maybe a cousin’s kid needs a place to stay for a few months?
Renting to family members can be fraught with anxieties…we want to get that out in the open right away.
It’s stressful. How do you enforce the lease when this is someone you’ll see at family dinners? How do you chase down late rent without a big fight when you know for a fact your tenant-brother just got a big bonus?
Our advice to people who want to rent out a home to relatives is this: Don’t.
But we don’t always get listened to, so our back-up advice is this: Work with a Monroe property manager.
Here’s what you need to know if you absolutely must rent to your relatives.
Set Some Serious Boundaries
When you decide to rent your home to a family member, you’ll need to set some strict boundaries. Make sure your relative can agree to these. For example:
- All of your tenants must be screened, including your relative. Are they comfortable with you checking their income and their credit? Is there anything you didn’t know before about their criminal history? Talk about this before you hand them an application, and don’t skip it. The liability will be yours once you have this family member living in your home.
- Rent will be set at market levels. Maybe you’re giving your relatives a break and not charging the highest rents that you would be if someone else was living in the home. That’s generous. But, you don’t want to lose too much money on this. Talk about what your relative can reasonably pay. If it’s too low, reconsider.
- There will be a lease agreement. Make sure your family member is willing to sign a lease for a specific amount of time.
These might be uncomfortable conversations to have. But, if you’re going to rent to a family member, you must be prepared to treat them the same way you would treat any tenant.
Working with Monroe Property Managers
Turn the entire leasing, management, and maintenance process over to a property manager in Monroe. It’s the only way to effectively rent to relatives without emotions getting in the way. When they complain that a maintenance request hasn’t been responded to fast enough, you’re not the one they’re angry with. When rent is a day or two late, the late fee is coming from the property manager – not you.
This provides a buffer between you and your relatives. It also keeps you compliant with all fair housing and other rental laws. You can easily get distracted by what you’re responsible for when you’re renting to people you love.
Hire a property manager. It’s best for you, your tenant who happens to be related to you, and your property.
Questions about this? We’ve helped owners rent to their family members before, and we can talk through your situation. Please contact us Real Estate Gladiators. We serve Monroe, Issaquah, Bellevue, Everett, Lake Stevens, Kirkland, and other cities in and around King and Snohomish counties in Washington State.