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Finding a Place
Room and board homes

Boarding homes or rooming houses used to be an extremely popular means to finding an inexpensive room to rent for students, travelers, and workers on temporary assignment. While there are far fewer room-and-board homes around today, some do exist. Basically, a rooming or boarding house, also known as a lodging house, provides a low-cost room for a tenant or a short-term or even long-term basis.

The definition for a boarding house means that the building must be wholly or completely rented out as lodging to up to three people who are not members of the owner or manager’s family. You will probably have to share a bathroom with other lodgers, and most of these establishments provide three communal meals a day, although some newer room-and-board houses offer private baths and kitchenettes. Since a rented room is usually in the owner’s family home, these rooms, though small, are often quite clean and well furnished. Some even include maid and laundry service.

One of the best things about renting a room in a board home rather than renting an apartment is the cost. According to Craigslist, a room for rent in the San Francisco Bay Area might cost between $350 and $600 a month, fully furnished, some with private bathrooms. In rural areas, the rent for a room in a room and board home will be even cheaper. And sometimes a landlord or owner will offer room and board in exchange for work. As with any rental, you should discuss the arrangements with your prospective landlord, and get a written contract that stipulates any duties you might have and what the owner will provide in the way of services. In the current economy, many people are willing to consider renting out rooms in their houses and are happy to have lodgers paying inexpensive rent.

Finding a room in a room and board home is as simple as searching on Craigslist or Rent.com.


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Types of rentals include studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, and 4-bedroom apartments; condominiums, single-family homes; shared rentals, and room and board homes. These may be listed by other names in some areas. When considering a particular dwelling, be sure to confirm the specifics of what you will be renting. We also strongly encourage you to make personal visits.