Deborah Jacobs is a lawyer, entrepreneur and award-winning journalist who has covered everything from travel to taxes. Her books include the critically acclaimed "Estate Planning Smarts -- a guide for consumers, as well as her forthcoming book, "Four Seasons in a Day." In advance praise, The Book...
On the two occasions, so far, when my husband and I have rented out our home — each time for three months — we wound up charging our tenants’ security deposit for about $400 worth of property damage. In each case, we also absorbed the cost of several hundred more dollars’ worth of repairs when we weren’t totally certain that breakage (for example, of locks, door mechanisms and drawer pulls) was their fault. There were moments when we questioned whether it was all worth it.
When our only child started college in September, my husband and I embarked on our own semester abroad. To pay for it, we decided to rent our Park Slope townhouse for three months and downsize to smaller quarters in rural France. Thanks to a favorable conversion, of the dollar against the euro, the cost of living would be less.
Try as one might to vet tenants, the sharing economy involves risks. You should ask tenants why they will be renting, who will live in your home, whether they have pets and what they do for a living. Here are some of the lessons for homeowners based on our experiences as landlords and tenants.