Renting out Rooms in Hercules

I am an empty nester with a beautiful 5 bedroom home in Hercules. I've never rented before, but would like to rent to students from UC Berkeley, Contra Costa College and Diablo Valley Colleges. My worst nightmare is getting a problem tenant that I can't get to leave. Seems like tenants have more rights than homeowners. Are there any resources out there that can guide me? Help me get tenants, create a rental agreement, determine the correct rent etc. Any insight into this area appreciated.

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Have a formal application that explicitly lists if they have pets. There are some FEHA/ADA tricks renters use that they hide they have a dog until the last minute then drop a “support animal” Medical Letter. I’m a dog lover who recently had to put their chihuahua down after their roommates pit bull attacked it. Also research them online to find pics of them and their animals first. Trust your gut on the people. There seems to be a lot of renters out there from the bigger cities who know how to work the medical excuse system.

California has a law that protects an owner who rents to one lodger. The owner has many more rights in terms of selection and removal than in a traditional landlord-tenant relationship. You may want to begin with the local junior college, as there are few U.C. students this semester, and many, many vacancies closer to campus.  Also check out the Nolo landlord book, and use their forms for a rental agreement.

Tenants do have more rights than homeowners. I would suggest you start not by renting to college students, go for a bit older. Start by contacting the city and finding out about rent control. You will need a business license. Check with your insurance company. There are standard rental agreements which is what we use.  Do a credit and background check on everyone without exception. The laws are always changing.  Right now in Berkeley you can not if someone has been convicted of a crime or run a criminal background check on potential renter. This means you could be renting to a drug dealer or murderer and not know it. Be nice, but be firm otherwise you will be taken advantage of and it will cost you.  Be prepared to enforce the rules.

In this era of covid it's going to make things much more difficult.  I suspect you are in a higher risk group for covid which is another reason not to rent now or not to rent to college age kids.  Do your homework before allowing anyone to move in.  Once you accept any money from anyone to stay in your home they have a legal right to stay. Start by taking a look at books from Nolo Press,  https://www.nolo.com/  That's were I started. 

Not trying to scare you.  Just give you information.  On the plus side I would think you should be able to get in the $700-$1,000 per room.  You could have a nice monthly income.  I am in a higher risk category as well and have rooms I could rent as well. I'm not even considering it at this time with covid. While I could be making around $4,000 like you, I'm not even considering it.