Homesharing is a fun and exciting way to earn extra income, experience companionship, and have an extra set of hands to help with common household tasks. However, it can be intimidating to navigate the process of finding the right housemate. You want to ensure that the person you are welcoming into your home is a good fit – and more importantly you want to make sure that they are who they say they are!
This means that when you are vetting a potential housemate, it is important to go beyond just screening them (which is the process of asking questions and getting to know them). Once you've screened potential housemates and found the right candidate you must vet them - do a thorough background check to ensure they are trustworthy. Vetting the candidate that you think is "the one" will give you peace of mind and eliminate the likelihood of encountering issues down the road. Here are some simple tips to help you vet a potential housemate:
Vetting includes verifying the information a person has told you about themselves to ensure that they are who they say they are. In a day and age when people can easily make fake online profiles, this is a more important step than ever when seeking a new housemate for a home share arrangement.
In order to complete a background check, you will want to be thorough. Some documents to acquire include:
Income verification often comes in the form of a letter from the person's employer. It helps you to confirm that the person works where they say they do, has a stable job, and gives you proof that they will have the income to afford whatever monthly fee you have agreed upon.
A credit check provides you with an opportunity to learn more about the person's financial standing, reliability, and financial conscientiousness. You will also be able to see whether the person is in debt, and if so, how much; this information is important to know because it may impact their ability to make payments on time.
A police check provides you with an opportunity to confirm that the person's criminal record is clean and that they have not withheld any information about their past.
All three of these steps make it possible to confirm the person’s basic identity and information such as their name, current address, and date of birth.
Calling the person's references is another great way to vet potential housemates. Don’t be afraid to be thorough and ask the individual for a number of references. It is also a great idea to ask for a variety of types of references so that you can get a well-rounded understanding of what the person is like, and how they are viewed by others. For example, request references from a friend or family member, a previous or current employer, and a previous landlord or roommate.
Don’t Hold Back!
Vetting a housemate is your opportunity to ensure that the person who will be sharing your home with you is truly a good fit and a trustworthy person. You are entitled to gather a thorough amount of information and should not be shy or afraid to ask “uncomfortable” or “impolite” questions. People who refuse to answer these types of questions may be hiding something while the candidates who are honest and transparent are usually happy to provide you with answers (and in most cases expect you to ask these important questions).
If you are vetting a couple, make sure that you run background checks and collect references for bothindividuals, not just one, as an extra precaution. The whole point of thoroughly vetting your potential housemates is to keep you safe and avoid problems down the road.
We encourage you to reach out to the experienced team at HomeShare Alliance if you need some help vetting a potential housemate. We're committed to your safety and have the tools and resources to help you vet potential candidates to ensure you find someone who is reliable and trustworthy.