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Saturday September 26, 2020

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Home Sharing Programs Can Help Homeowners Find Renters

Can you share information about renting out part of my home? I am 76-years-old and interested in renting out a spare room for extra cash and for some help around the house.

Renting out a spare room in your house is a great way to generate some extra income and even get some help with chores. To find a good fit, older homeowners often turn to a "home sharing program" that matches an empty nester with someone needing affordable housing.

Please be aware that home sharing is not for everyone and may require a business license in certain geographic locations. You need to carefully consider the pros and cons of renting out a spare room in your house and make a list of what you want in a housemate/renter.

Finding a Match

If you decide to proceed in finding a housemate/renter, your first step is to seek out a home sharing program in your area.

Home sharing programs, usually non-profit organizations, screen both homeowners and renters. They check references, handle background checks and consider lifestyle criteria when making matches. They can also help you with a leasing agreement that covers detailed issues like smoking, pets, chores, overnight guests, use of common rooms, quiet hours, etc.

Most home sharing programs are free to use or the companies may request a small donation. Others, however, may charge the homeowner and potential renter a fee for their services. To look for a home sharing program in your area visit the National Shared Housing Resource Center website at

Other Options

If you do not find a program that serves your area, you can also search for housemates through online home sharing services.

These sites require homeowners and home seekers to fill out a profile to find a match. Once a match is made, you will be responsible for contacting and interviewing prospective renters and making the final agreement.

If you do not have luck with any of these home sharing sites, put a call in to your Area Agency on Aging (call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for contact information) who may be able to offer assistance or refer you to local agencies or nonprofit organizations that offer shared housing help.

You can also check with your local senior or community center or religious institution to see if you can post an ad on their bulletin board or in their newsletter. You can also advertise in your local newspaper or online.

If you find someone on your own that you are interested in renting to, ask the prospective renter to fill out a rental application (see to download and print one for free), run a tenant screening, a background check and call their references. Some tenant screening/background checks can be done for free online. Some credit bureaus offer credit screenings free of charge.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published September 13, 2019
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