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Last week I sent out an e-mail asking readers to provide some feedback on questions or other insight a newbie “live-in landlord” might want to get from a more experience live-in landlord.  The questions I received were pretty good.  I’m still trying to sort through my e-mails, but I thought I share a question from one reader that rang true to my own scenario 6 years ago.  The question read was:

Hi Mike,

I am a new live in landlord only 2 months into the process.
I got very lucky because my very first tenant has been wonderful.
I also want to rent out my finished basement because I need the money
but things are pretty good with my one tenant and I don’t want to turn him off
and scare him away with a third person. Any advice?
People have told me I got lucky with my first tenant and a second tenant
cannot be as good and will destroy all harmony? 


When you already have a roommate and want to find a second roommate, it does change the dynamics especially if the first roommate never anticipated living with two other people.

When I started this venture, I didn’t anticipate having two roommates because I really didn’t know how the first roommate would pan out.  After about 10 months, my first roommate worked out well that I decided to pull the trigger and find a second roommate.  In order for this to happen, I had to make sure my first roommate was all right with the idea because when he initially moved in, he didn’t anticipate living with two other people.

To put the plan into action, I communicated with my first roommate that a second roommate was moving in and that I was going to keep his rent the same.

From a roommate perspective, this isn’t entirely fair to charge the same rent price when more people are occupying the same residence.  To compensate him, I gave him the option of moving into the bigger room and the new roommate will take his current smaller room.  He declined to exercise that option and asked him specifically if he was “okay” with a new roommate moving in and maintaining the same rent price he was paying prior to the new roommate.  He wanted to stick to the same room because he didn’t want to move all his personal belongings and also mentioned that he wasn’t going to be living there much longer(he was going to attend graduate school).  This was a huge win for me.  Not only could I maintain the same rent price, but he was going to move out in a few months and the next person moving in would already be accustomed to living with two other people.

For those folks that are doing well with their first roommate and want to rent out another spare room, you’ll have to:

  • Make sure that your current roommate and yourself can tolerate the new person moving in.  This is probably one of the most challenging aspects of getting a second roommate.
  • Compensate your current roommate with a lower rent or other amenity benefits for having another person move in.  This point especially holds true in cases when the first roommate never anticipated living with more than one other person(assuming you’re the sole owner of your residence).
  • Make sure your residence is big enough to support the second roommate.  You want to make sure you have at least one and half baths.  You don’t want bottlenecks in the morning when everyone is trying to get work, would you?
  • Be prepared for some increased wear on your house.  I mentioned in my previous post on the items that exhibit wear.  It isn’t surprising that with more people living under the same roof, you’re going to have more wear.  I want “live-in landlords” to be aware of it.



  • Martin September 9, 2012, 6:53 pm

    It was awesome to meet you in person Mike!

    A situation like this actually happened to my cousin. Him and his buddy rented a huge house out, just the two of them. They loved the extra space and privacy. They also got a deal because it was a low-season. Then the landlord brought in a new roommate. This changed the whole dynamic.

    My cousin was frustrated but he understood that there was nothing in the contract stating he couldn’t bring in another tenant.

  • Christopher June 28, 2016, 7:50 pm

    I. Mike am Chris and looking for a room mate

  • Christopher June 28, 2016, 7:51 pm

    Good night Mike am Christopher and looking for a room mate


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