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Ruth0552
Apr. 3, 2011, 02:39 PM
My husband and I recently split up and I am currently looking for a roommate. I posted on facebook, a local equestrian website, and told everyone I know. Finally, after no responses, I posted on craigslist. I have already gotten 2 responses, but I can't tell if they are real or scammers. They seem too specific to be scammers (I like traveling, eating out, and crocheting). But neither of the responses has typical American punctuation/grammer.

"please kindly get back to me and will like to know how soon you want to rent the place because i really in need of a room now.
Hope to read from you soon. "

Does that sound like a real person? I was planning on asking potential roommates for references and a copy of their most recent pay stub (so I know they can afford it). But I'm not sure what questions to ask these people online/via email to make sure they are real and/or not too sketchy.

Thoughts?

fivehorses
Apr. 3, 2011, 03:08 PM
Oh, I am so sorry to hear this.

Definitely screen thoroughly.
I would ask for the previous two or even three landlords. If they haven't had landlords, ask for a police check as well as references from work, personal friends, etc.

Be diligent. This person is coming into your home, and anyone who takes offense that you are too inquisitive is not the right fit.

In other words, being in a posiition that I might rent, and being a landlord myself...if someone asks me questions, I understand they are looking for a right fit.

Make a list of questions up...gear it towards things like likes, dislikes, non negotiables, how to approach an issue, etc.

My best to you, and I am sorry you are in this position. But, on the other hand, you might find a very good situation.

fivehorses
Apr. 3, 2011, 03:10 PM
And meet them at a restaurant, library, etc for the first interview, even if you only have one inquiry.

Explain you are in the first phase of interviewing the applicants.

When I interview for a farm position, thats what I do...meet canidates at a local restaurant, buy them a cup of coffee and we chat. If I like them, we then re-interview on the farm.

You cannot be too careful of your privacy and property.

Ruth0552
Apr. 4, 2011, 06:49 PM
I decided to ask for 2 personal references, an employment reference and a landlord reference.

I am planning on meeting everyone somewhere public first before letting them into my home. I don't need any stalkers :)

Seriously though, this sucks. Just the part about having to live with someone else, etc., alone. I wish I could afford the apartment on my own but it's not happening.

If anyone else wants to chime in with any pointers about renting/having a roommate, or knows anyone in my area looking for a place, feel free!

katie+tru
Apr. 4, 2011, 07:23 PM
Perhaps during your interview process, like when you'd meet in person with a prospective roomie, you should discuss any house rules or requirements you have. Bring them in writing even. Things like where one is allowed to smoke (if at all), what your rules regarding alcohol are, bringing SO's over, and splitting cleaning duties. Those are all things that can cause roommates to split so they should probably be discussed before any agreement is made in the first place.

My Two Cents
Apr. 4, 2011, 07:39 PM
How to screen potential roommates for apt. on farm?

Very, very carefully. Good luck and be safe.

JanM
Apr. 4, 2011, 08:53 PM
There are also web sites where you pay a fee and get someone's previous addresses, and criminal history (Intellius and a few others do this I think). Plus sites like Zabasearch have a lot of info also, for free; but if you want more in depth then they refer you to Intellius or other paid sites. Have you tried any local graduates schools? Many older students would love to rent a nice, quiet place to study and live. And if there are any big government offices there are often people who are assigned there for a matter of months or are geographic bachelors (or bachelorettes) and are only looking for a bedroom to rent Monday thru Friday. And the ad you posted info from sounds strange, so I bet it's a scam. And get the type of front door lock for the apartment you can change yourself, and that way if you have problems the person won't have access to all of your locks, and you can change it yourself. Make sure the apartment and your house/barn don't have the same locks. Remember if the person doesn't work out you'll probably have to legally evict them even if they've only been there a few days (I think I've watched Judge Judy too much lately).

Decide in advance what animals they can keep, or board with you. If the situation goes wrong you might end up having to get rid of the animals and the owner so it could get sticky. And you have to have rules about visitors, and what they can do on your property regarding animals. Visitors of the boarder who want to ride would be a horrible liability, and you need additional insurance for your house anyway. Also, what types of businesses can the renter have on your property? And can they sublease or have roommates or is the place big enough for a family? And you need rules to cover the renter moving in friends or relatives without permission.

Since it's a separate apartment make sure that any utilities that are separate are in the tenant's name, and not yours. And you might have a clause that if they don't qualify for utility service then they don't get the apartment. They definitely need their own phone, cable and other service accounts.

Ruth0552
Apr. 5, 2011, 05:25 AM
Okay, that one was a scam!

Thanks to everyone for their pointers.

I think I might have another promising contact- hopefully it will work out!

Kate66
Apr. 5, 2011, 06:40 AM
Since it's a separate apartment make sure that any utilities that are separate are in the tenant's name, and not yours. And you might have a clause that if they don't qualify for utility service then they don't get the apartment. They definitely need their own phone, cable and other service accounts.

Jan- I don't get where it's a separate apartment. I read that the OP is looking for a roommate for her apartment.

OP - anybody through word of mouth is better than a random person. As the others say ask about smoking, work habits, socialising habits, drinking, drugs etc. A key question I would ask is "why are you looking for somewhere to stay? What happened with the last place you were staying?" . Don't be embarrassed to ask anything!

2DogsFarm
Apr. 5, 2011, 06:41 AM
I was a landlord in Chicago for over 25 years.
After tearing my hair out leasing to the first set of tenants I went with a management company that did all the screening including credit & reference checks for a fee equal to one month's rent.

Since you routinely ask for a month's security deposit it was pretty seamless to get the place rented and the fee was deductible off the next year's income taxes as an expense.

They also guaranteed any tenants you accepted. so if they did turn out bad the company would get you new tenants for the balance of the lease at no charge.

FineEquine
Apr. 5, 2011, 07:03 AM
Lessons I've learned with getting "roommates"

No matter how shallow it seems, if you meet in person for an interview, it's fair to judge by personal appearance. Chances are if the person looks like a crack head they ARE a crack head. When your dealing with yourself, and your safety (financially, mentally, physically), never give a stranger the benefit if the doubt.

You could always tell the person, that you have the right to kick them out with no explanations if it doesn't work out. And put that in the contract <--- which leads me to another thing.. make the contract SO specific, (down to the dust mites on the floor) so even a 5 year old could understand it.
AND this is a HUGE one: take pictures of the house before, putting it in the contract, so as you're giving the tour, you point out all of the flaws and have the person sign off on it, saying that " I agree this is what the house looks like before I move in." So if that rentee does any property damage, you have proof :)

JanM
Apr. 5, 2011, 07:28 AM
Yes, I misunderstood apartment as separate-oops! But there are other things to include such as Fine and 2Dog suggested. And I agree with the pictures before and after, plus mentioning (not that the utilities will be separate) might be in the roomies name would weed out people who are deadbeats when they think they have to come up with deposits or a clean record and take for the hills. And the amount of parking-how many vehicles does potential roomie have? And how many do their relatives/friends have that they want to dump on you? And a list of habits and behaviors that are prohibited is a great idea. But depending on state or provincial law the kick 'em out now clause might not be enforceable. Also in the ad do you say how big the bedroom is? That might weed out people who have large furniture or have other space problems (a friend let someone stay with her for a while, in a studio MIL suite, who proceeded to move in tons of furniture from the house she was downsizing from-it comes under the no good deed goes unpunished rule).

Also, on animals you could put age limits or size limits as well as number of animals and types (dog or cat only, adult, under a certain weight, etc).

Ruth0552
Apr. 5, 2011, 05:22 PM
Yay- turns out one of the "applicants" is a friend of a friend! Doesn't seem like a lot but at least it is some kind of connection/reference!

fivehorses
Apr. 5, 2011, 07:22 PM
Thats great, but still proceed with caution, and whoever said don't be embarrassed to ask any kind of question...I totally agree.

You want this to work for both of you, and I would hope the person interviewing would also be asking you lots of questions too.
Good luck.

Western
Apr. 5, 2011, 07:33 PM
No matter how shallow it seems, if you meet in person for an interview, it's fair to judge by personal appearance. Chances are if the person looks like a crack head they ARE a crack head. :)

:lol::D:lol: Is that the same idea as, "If it LOOKS like a duck, QUACKS like a duck..."?

You should look at their shoes & grooming. Well-maintained shoes say a lot, especially if it's a female. Likewise, clean & trimmed nails. Personal care will usually match how one takes care of one's dwelling.

katie+tru
Apr. 5, 2011, 08:43 PM
:lol::D:lol: Is that the same idea as, "If it LOOKS like a duck, QUACKS like a duck..."?

You should look at their shoes & grooming. Well-maintained shoes say a lot, especially if it's a female. Likewise, clean & trimmed nails. Personal care will usually match how one takes care of one's dwelling.



Also their car. :yes: My mom always told me how back in the day when she and my dad where looking for their first apartment they looked at the cars parked around the area. Cars say a lot about a person. Is it clean on the outside? The inside? Covered in innapropriate bumper stickers? Full of trash?

fivehorses
Apr. 5, 2011, 10:26 PM
Also their car. :yes: My mom always told me how back in the day when she and my dad where looking for their first apartment they looked at the cars parked around the area. Cars say a lot about a person. Is it clean on the outside? The inside? Covered in innapropriate bumper stickers? Full of trash?

Thats so true. When I screen tenants, I always look into their cars.

Western
Apr. 6, 2011, 01:28 AM
I don't think cars are quite as good an indicator, because:

1. If I didn't live in an apartment building where I hated spending any time in the carport, my car'd be somewhat tidier. Rugs shampooed fairly recently, seats covered, but surface trash can unfairly catch the eye, especially if you have a dog as your co-pilot.

2. Americans can be obsessed with their cars, & keep them immaculately, but that habit doesn't necessarily extend to their dwellings.

Alagirl
Apr. 6, 2011, 02:04 AM
put their name on COTH :D

IronwoodFarm
Apr. 6, 2011, 04:52 AM
Create a rental application that states what you are offering, terms for rent/deposit/utilities/how rent will be paid, and get work, banking and personal information and references. Do check all references. Also use Google and Facebook to see what you can find out about a person....it is amazing what is out there.

If you are renting from a landlord, you should check is adding a roomate is an issue for the landlord. It probably won't be, but the landlord may want the roomate added to the lease. It assures that the roomate is also legally responsible for the rent.

I would also try to have a positive attitude toward sharing. While living alone may be preferable, sharing with a roommate who is a good fit can have some real advantages, too. I would approach it from that perspective -- you are gaining a new friend under difficult circumstances.

FineEquine
Apr. 6, 2011, 08:08 AM
Also their car. :yes: My mom always told me how back in the day when she and my dad where looking for their first apartment they looked at the cars parked around the area. Cars say a lot about a person. Is it clean on the outside? The inside? Covered in innapropriate bumper stickers? Full of trash?


HAHAH then I would fail! My car is horrible, it looks like I live in it. :lol:

I will say though, that my father drives a nasty, old, rusty, pickup truck. I remember always being so embarrassed when he had to pick me up from school, that's how bad it was. But my father is one of the most honest and hard working person you will ever meet. :) Can you tell I'm a daddys girl :-p

ReSomething
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:53 PM
Well, I'd fail on the fingernails and the car. Sorry.

Trying to remember my roomie searches from college and my family member when she got a divorce - advertise where you might find like-minded people such as church bulletin boards, really get the word out among your friends or co-workers, and use a formal rental agreement binding in your state that spells out more than you might think is necessary.

Good luck, I hope you find someone interesting and stable!

sar2008
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:07 PM
Also their car. :yes: My mom always told me how back in the day when she and my dad where looking for their first apartment they looked at the cars parked around the area. Cars say a lot about a person. Is it clean on the outside? The inside? Covered in innapropriate bumper stickers? Full of trash?

I would fail miserably. I have an infant, a 2yo and 4 horses...my car is a combination of a pack and play and a tack room. :cool:

cloudyandcallie
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:24 PM
OK I've not read all the posts so if this has been covered, sorry but:

Ask prospective roomie what her username is on coth.
Read all her old posts.
Decide if she is crazy or sane.

pds
Apr. 8, 2011, 05:25 PM
Ask on the spot to see their FaceBook page. This could tell you alot about them.:eek:

If they have pics posted that look like they could be on the next episode of "Girls Gone Wild" then you probably don't want them for a roommate.

JanM
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:43 PM
C&C-that's so hysterically funny, and so true!

Sar2008-I don't think with that entourage that you were a candidate for the apartment anyway. And there's a difference between a car that's used as transportation, and a car that's a rolling crack den.

Maybe the idea to check the car out needs to be updated for today's world. See if there's a back seat, and if not find out if they removed it to put the meth lab in (not I'm not kidding). Check car for multiple bullet holes (anybody can have one, but a bunch of holes is definitely worrying).
Ask them if "Shake and Bake" means a chicken coating before oven baking, or if they think it's a peachy keen method for cooking meth while going down the road (not kidding about that either-such vehicles have a tendency to burst into a big ball of fire while driving down the road).

Mukluk
Apr. 9, 2011, 12:11 AM
You will also likely do best with someone that is similar to you with regard to housekeeping/chore expectations, living conditions (how warm in winter, how cool in summer), personal property expectations (is borrowing allowed and if so under what conditions) etc. Best of luck, a good roommate can actually be a lot of fun.