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How to screen potential roommates for apt. on farm?

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  • How to screen potential roommates for apt. on farm?

    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.

    "[FONT=Arial]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. "[/FONT]

    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?

  • #2
    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.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      save lives...spay/neuter/geld

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        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!

        Comment


        • #5
          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.
          Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
          Thank you for everything boy.


          Better View.

          Comment


          • #6
            How to screen potential roommates for apt. on farm?

            Very, very carefully. Good luck and be safe.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              Last edited by JanM; Apr. 4, 2011, 09:27 PM.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                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!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JanM View Post


                  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!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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).
                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          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!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.
                            save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FineEquine View Post
                              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.
                              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.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Western View Post
                                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. 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?
                                Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                                Thank you for everything boy.


                                Better View.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
                                  Also their car. 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.
                                  save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      put their name on COTH
                                      Originally posted by BigMama1
                                      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                      GNU Terry Prachett

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                                        http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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