You want to tap into another stream of income by renting out a room in your Florida home. You have never acted as a landlord, so how should you proceed?

U.S. News & World Report lays out considerations for opening your home to your first tenant. Learn how to protect yourself and (hopefully) avoid a disaster.

The law

Look into the latest landlord-tenant laws in your state. Knowledge of the law helps you form a framework for conducting yourself as a landlord and taking care of your tenant. For instance, laws permit landlord’s from entering a tenant’s space without notice.

The tour

As you interview potential tenants and give them a tour of your home, be careful about the personal information you share. You want to be friendly, but potential tenants are strangers you allow into your home. Limit your liabilities by keeping the location of spare keys and other sensitive information to yourself when you first meet candidates.

The background check

When narrowing down potential tenants, invest in background checks. Specifically, learn whether any applicants have evictions on their records, have a criminal past or bad credit. Candidates may not be forthright on their applications or tell you everything you need to know during your initial meeting. A background check can save you a serious headache later on.

The guidelines

It is essential to have guidelines before anyone rents a room in your home. What is the due date for rent? Which common areas in the house does the tenant have permission to access? Can the tenant expect rent to increase in a year? Take your time when writing guidelines, as you want to anticipate (and resolve) conflict, confusion and misunderstandings before they happen.