Philly Room for Rent? Tips for Finding the Best Tenant


Sharing housing costs with a roommate makes economic sense, but the process of finding a tenant can be challenging. If you are considering putting a room for rent in Philadelphia, plan to devote some time to finding a good tenant.


Sharing housing costs with a roommate makes economic sense, but it can be a real challenge to find a tenant who’s a good match and agrees on the terms of a lease. If you are considering putting a room for rent in Philadelphia, plan to devote some time to advertising, screening candidates, and executing a lease contract.

Advertise a Room for Rent

With so many different marketing channels available, it’s possible to advertise in multiple places at once for little or no cost. Online websites such as Craigslist and EasyRoommate allow you to post specific information about your rental vacancy. Nearby college or work bulletin boards attract local individuals looking for a room to rent. Newspaper advertising can be a costly alternative, but if you go that route, opt for local papers where readers will already be familiar with your neighborhood.

Social media offers another advertising alternative. If you have a large Facebook network, ask friends to message you if they’re interested in renting a room or know someone who’s looking for housing.

Screen Candidates

Once you begin to receive calls or emails about your room for rent, begin the screening process by asking a few basic questions to determine why the individual is moving and if they have previous rental experience. You may also want to ask where they work to help them gauge their commuting time.

After the initial calls, select a few promising candidates and arrange to meet them in person. This may not be possible if they plan on relocating from out of town, but a personal meeting is the best way to communicate at this point in the screening process. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting the person to your home, meet in a public location. After this meeting, decide if you would like to show the individual the room for rent. If the space meets the potential tenant’s approval, the next step is to check rental references and request proof of income (such as a recent paycheck).

Execute a Lease

Before drawing up a lease, check with your local municipality or township regarding the number of unrelated persons permitted to reside in one home. A township zoning officer can usually answer your questions about local rental requirements. If you do not have a lease, you can find a template online and amend it as necessary. This lease serves as your contract, and will be the basis for resolving future disputes.

Renting a room can be a relatively painless process as long as you use the most popular, local channels to advertise and follow proper screening and lease execution procedures. Although renting a room may not seem like a business endeavor, remember that it is, and the process should not be taken lightly. A strong lease contract defining what is expected of both the landlord and the tenant is extremely important. And don’t forget to report rent as income on your tax return.

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Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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