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  1. #1

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    Renting to a friend - etiquette ???

    I have a question about how to handle a situation. I am trying to be as careful as possible because this is my best friend and neither myself nor my husband want to have any regrets over this situation or lose a friend.

    A very good friend of ours has recently gone into business for himself. Technically he has worked for himself for a few years as a hair stylist who booth rented. In January he found his own place and opened his own salon. Currently he is the only one there and is hoping to rent out some booths very soon. I think the cost of things was more than expected with some remodeling issues and the money he had saved to pay his taxes got used up. Now he is being asked to move out of his place as his lease is up and the landlord wants to rent it to family. So now in order to move he has to come up with deposit, first/last months rent, etc. It just is really bad timing for him with taxes also being due and the money no longer in his bank account.

    This is where I need help. He has asked if my husband and I would consider having a room-mate. Neither of us are thrilled about it but we know it would be temporary, probably just a few months, and he IS our best friend. The question we both have is what do we say about $$? He talked to us today and never once mentioned rent. It really sounded to both of us that he is hoping we will just let him stay for free. That would be fine if he was homeless and trying to get back on his feet but he is just trying to save up money to get caught up on everything in order to avoid tax extensions, credit cards, etc. I feel like asking him for a small amount is more than fair, our bills will go up having someone else in the house so it doesn't make sense to me to pay extra to help him save money. Is there any kind of etiquette, here?

    I feel like we should ask for a fair amount ($400-$500) which would include EVERYTHING (rent, electricity, cable, internet). It would allow him to save over $1000 a month on what he is currently paying in rent and utilities, cable, internet, etc. At the same time I don't want to offend him or make it seem like we are taking advantage of his situation. One pro to asking for the money is that it should keep him from over-staying his welcome. It could get really awkward if 5-6 months have gone by and he hasn't paid a dime and still hasn't hinted about leaving. He can stay for longer than he intends if he is paying rent.

    So, what do you think is the correct way to handle this? Do we ask for rent at all? How would you handle this?
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  2. #2
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    If I didn't want a roommate, I would tell him I didn't want a roommate.

    But as you seem to want to make this happen for him, I would absolutely let him know that you intend for him to pay rent. I would have what he is paying for listed out when you present this to him so he can see that the amount is fair. And I mean, I think it would be best if you got some actual, hard date for him to move out, or you're asking for a sticky situation. I know that you don't want to seem as if you don't trust him, but if he does overstay his welcome then that might ruin the friendship anyway. It's always best, IMO, if all the details are clearly laid out in these sorts of situations.

  3. #3
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    I think you need to have an open and honest discussion about expectations. From what you've posted, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for rent. Whenever anyone enters into a roommate situation defining expectations beforehand can save headaches later on. The other thing to consider is your new marriage. If you don't have a lot of extra space having another person around can put a ton of extra stress on relationships. I wouldn't do it unless both of you are in complete agreement.
    "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." -- Samuel Beckett

  4. #4
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    I'm going through this with one of Mini-Mac's friends. He may lose his digs in June and is having trouble finding anything in the area including a job. I told him that he could stay with us but I would expect him to contribute some money towards food.

    My thinking was that our mortgage, cable and internet bill won't go up if he's here and probably the other utilities won't go up all that much either but the food bill will. Plus I don't want to set up a situation where we feel like he's being a freeloader and he has no incentive to leave. Now, there is nothing about him that would lead me to think that could happen (if there was, we'd probably say no) but I figured you can never tell what the future will hold so set up the situation so it won't go down a bad path from day one.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  5. #5

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    I vote no. Your friend did not research expenses of opening his own salon correctly. Everything costs more than expected. When he didn't broach the subject of $$$ for rent it was a red flag. He has put you on the spot by asking. If you agree to it you will lose some privacy. I hope you don't lose a friend. Good Luck with your decision.

  6. #6

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    Is the $400-$500 making a profit for you? I would ask for expenses only if it were my best friend, but I would also give it a time limit.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    Is the $400-$500 making a profit for you? I would ask for expenses only if it were my best friend, but I would also give it a time limit.
    ITA

    Have to say, the $500/month seems excessive for simply increased utility bills. They aren't going to increase by anywhere near that amount. And obviously the whole reason he's doing this is because he's innomoney. If you want to help him out by having him move-in with you, then let him stay there with a firm move-out date. Otherwise, it sounds like you are taking advantage of the situation to me.

  8. #8
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    I've done this twice in the past, no rent either time.

    Time #1 was a disaster, I ended up enabling and things blew up in a dramatic way.

    Time #2 was much better because the person had already lined up a place to go afterwards, so there was no risk of overstaying welcome.

    In this situation, I worry that your friend may end up more like #1. He has bills and cash flow problems that aren't going away anytime soon, and your place is going to be too comfortable of a solution - especially if it's free and/or utilities only.

    I'd probably say no, you're not up to a roommate. If you do say yes, I think you should charge modestly discounted rent (15-20% cheaper than he could get elsewhere) and agree to some set period of time -- three or six months. I also recommend signing a lease with him.

    At this stage of my life, I wouldn't do this for anyone. I'd sooner help out with cash.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    Neither of us are thrilled about it but we know it would be temporary, probably just a few months, and he IS our best friend.
    The only reason you are considering this is because he is a good friend, so treat it as a favor to a friend, but don't take on any of his financial responsibilities. Figure out an average of the electric, water and groceries you spend now and tell him he has to be responsible for anything over that each month and then set a firm end date. Get it in writing.
    If this is to end in fire
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  10. #10
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    Think very realistically about whether you will feel put upon. And definitely set expecations. Those things can harm the relationship even more than saying no up front. I have a friend who asked me if her husband could stay with me a week due to work. It wound up being on and off for 2 1/2 months. And when she comes to visit, she never gets the dates right, shows up a week early, cancels at the last minute, stays longer. She is driving me nuts. She has a huge heart, and if I needed a place, she'd just give me a key. But I have a demanding work schedule, and I need more predictability so if I don't want to be annoyed with her all the time, I need to sit her down and set expectations.

    You do have the newlywed excuse. I would never ask newlyweds if I could move in.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  11. #11
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    If this were going to be a week or two in the case of emergency, I'd certainly be ok with the request. But this is fairly open ended. By calling himself a "roommate" he's suggesting a longer term option, and I know I would not be ok with that. It can be hard to say no upfront, but you can also do damage your friendship by letting him put you in a position where you feel put upon.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  12. #12

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    Renting to a friend - etiquette ???

    Thanks everyone. I'm torn on the money but he doesn't have to move out to save money. He has the option of taking another unit in his current complex for slightly cheaper rent and he has the option of getting a tax extension. This is why I want to charge rent. It is still saving him over $1000 a month and is not even 1/4 of our mortgage and bills. I feel charging is the only way to keep him on the look to move and not stay for too long.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  13. #13
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    Anyone, any time could stay at my house and I'd be happy but my husband is the opposite. He gets annoyed by little things that actually wouldn't bother him if it was me doing it but a long time guest sends him around the bend. The school year that we had an exchange student was tense and I was permanent referee. I think $300 or $400 a month is a good money amount - it's not just the extra utility costs, it also the upheaval. You're beyond the "let someone sleep on the couch" stage of young adulthood, I think. I'm guessing you have a bedroom he would have to himself,: if you charge him rent I think that's important. Any crap you have stored in there should be removed so he has full use of the room. In any case,if he's such a good friend I'd expect that he pitch in as far as household chores. If you don't expect or want that, I'd charge a bit more.
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  14. #14

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    If you decide to do this; make sure that the terms are delineated in writing, clearly understood, and agreed to, before he moves in.

  15. #15

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    Brian, I agree with your thinking. If you say no he won't be homeless - he'll just get a cheaper unit. And he called it being a roommate himself - roommates pay rent. Since it's not a dire situation, you & your hubby deserve to be compensated for loss of privacy if nothing else. $400-500 a month sounds fair to me. It's enough to make him feel comfortable about staying there & eating your food & enough for the 2 of you to feel like he's not taking advantage of you. But I concur that you should get it in writing. You could casually say something like "so how much were you thinking is a fair rent & how long were you thinking of staying?"

    ETA: if this ends up badly, having it in writing will make it easier for you to evict him

  16. #16
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    If you do go ahead and do this, put everything in writing, and make sure there is some kind of lease agreement.

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    Are you his only option? No parents, siblings, or other family? Do you or your husband need regular sleeping times? Do you have facilities for the friend (own bathroom, sleeping place?)? where is he going to store his household of items? It would have to be dire straights for me to say yes.

  18. #18

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    Renting to a friend - etiquette ???

    He would have his own room and his own bathroom. The stuff he has would mostly go in storage because he has an entire town home worth of stuff but he is welcome to bring anything he wants that will fit in his room. In addition, we have another spare room he can fit other things in if it won't fit in storage. I'm hoping he will just find something else but I've learned from all of you to get everything I'm writing and be honest about expectations.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  19. #19

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    Even if the terms of the arrangement aren't in writing, if your friend is paying rent, that is how the living situation is interpreted - as a lessor / tenant arrangement. And, regardless of a lease agreement and the terms of the agreement, it is VERY TOUGH to get someone evicted. I don't know your friend, and it might not even help me to know him. The bad side of anyone has the potential to come to the surface where money issues are concerned. Think about the potential that your friend's situation will get worse rather than get better, and where that might lead.

    It's part of my job to anticipate the worst, so I apologize if the above sounds a bit negative. In life, I'm not really cut from negative cloth at all.

    I hope everything works out for you and your friend.

    O-

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliviaPug View Post
    Even if the terms of the arrangement aren't in writing, if your friend is paying rent, that is how the living situation is interpreted - as a lessor / tenant arrangement. And, regardless of a lease agreement and the terms of the agreement, it is VERY TOUGH to get someone evicted.
    This varies by state. In some states a roommate does not have the same laws as a lessor.

    However, I would get EVERYTHING in writing, because evictions are near impossible to begin with, and even more so if there is no clear document of expectations!

    (Also- I wouldn't do this for free or even for expenses. I think the rate quoted is fair as a break in living expenses for friends but an amount worth the OP's trouble.)

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