Our extended family has had many boarder situations over the years and most of the single people in the family have now chosen some type of boarder situation during this time. I'd like to share a few of the situations we have experienced. If you are currently having difficulty in making ends meet it may give some additional ideas to consider.
Situation 1. An energetic retired couple whose children have grown now rent out rooms in their large house with three bedrooms upstairs and three down. Currently they have the three downstairs bedrooms all rented to single ladies. In addition they have built a "mother-in-law" apartment on the property and rent that out to a couple. All the renters use a separate entrance while the owners continue to utilize the entire upstairs of the home. A substantial income is produced monthly to supplement their retirement.
Situation 2. I and my three children lived in a four bedroom home. We met a young Japanese college student who needed a low cost place to stay for the semester. A mutual acquaintance introduced us and the situation worked wonderfully for all involved. We became close friends and she taught my kids some basic Japanese. We laughed, talked, and learned to always take our shoes off when entering a home. Wow. What a savings on the carpet! Sachiko learned to cook some American food and when she returned to her country we all felt as if we had been greatly enriched by the experience.
Situation 3. A young single woman bought her childhood home. It was two stories with complete facilities on each level. She lived upstairs with her brothers family and the downstairs rooms were rented by single cousins.
Situation 4. The owner of a very expensive house moved out of the area. It was above the price level for the average family so he rented the home to a single professional man who managed the home and rented out to three additional professional people. Each had two bedrooms and 1 bathroom. They shared the kitchen and living room. All were constantly on the go so the house was often quiet unless they planned a gathering. This situation was replicated by a home owner whose income had been reduced and part of the room price included weekly housekeeping.
Situation 5. An older man bought a house in cash and did not want to live alone in case something happened to him now or in the future. He invited his nephew and his family to share the home and they pay for all utilities, do all the cleaning, and prepare his meals. Still with another extra bedroom the mother of the woman moved in and pays a modest amount for room and board and is a back up babysitter if needed. The mother then has the opportunity to rent out her own home.
There are many other examples I could give but I wanted to list a variety of some of those that I know are working very well and benefit the participants not only economically but socially as well.
In reality, a boarding situation may offer the modernized version of the extended family with appropriate compensation established so that no one is being taken advantage of. Or, in the other examples is a professional arrangement for busy people. In most cases being in a boarder situation will require a person to severely limit their at home entertaining so make arrangements accordingly.
In my experience there are a number of things that are necessary to keep any arrangement successful. These will seem very simple and obvious but are often the downfall of good relationships.
- Establish fair financial expectations and no excuses for not meeting them.
- Sign rental agreements as appropriate.
- Always clean up your own mess including dishes, bathroom, and rooms.
- Smoking outside only and keep cigarette butts picked up.
- No overnight guests. When they say "get a room" that means someplace else.
- Don't eat someone else's food unless it is specifically offered.
- Don't leave personal belongings in common areas.
- Don't wait for someone else to empty the trash, or pick up something that's needed.
- Always change the toilet paper roll in shared bathrooms. This can start major conflict. And, of course the seat should always be left down. Even a bigger fight.
- Park in designate space and tell people who stop by where they should park. Even 5 minutes is too long to wait for someone to move.
- Remember that even if it is family many of the components of the situation are similar to a professional relationship. Don't push the limits.
- Most situations will not allow pets.
- When you move out leave the room the way you found it or better.
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
You might also be interested in:
A history story of a large American boarding house
Guidelines for running a boarding house from England
Open-door policy. A story of renting rooms featured in Good Housekeeping.