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Old 04-27-2009, 01:07 PM
2 posts, read 5,418 times
Reputation: 10


Hi there! I'm getting ready to move to shared house in Bristol Virginia (Washington County), and had some questions that I need answered. The house that we are looking at renting, the rent is pretty high for a bunch of college kids working minimum wage, but one of my buddies' parents own the house and they want us to pay the rent equal to the mortgage for it. They want $960/month for a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house, two story (the downstairs is a finished basement with a bedroom bath and den). I wasn't too sure about the price, as it felt high for this little town, but any input is appreciated. This home is ideal because it's near school & near all of our work places, and the one guy's parents own it so it's a little easier then dealing with a stranger. Anyway, we plan to split the rent & utilities between roomates and rent each room out seperately with the landlord (each having our own agreements/contracts, as individuals, etc). So here is where the question comes in, we had planned to rent the 4 bedrooms to 6 people (and having two rooms shared between friends) to keep the rent reasonable ($160) for each of us. We already have 5, and possibly the 6th tenant in line ready to move in. BUT the landlords (and one of the guys that plans to rent to us' parents) said that there was a law that said we couldn't legally have that many people in the house? I had never heard of this, and neither has anyone that I have spoken with, and I couldn't find anything on Google that helped. The situation is ironic since the current tenants include 6 people in the same house, (a couple, their young daughter, the woman's mother, and two other guys), but for some reason they think it's okay for them, but not for us? Is there any rhyme or reason or basis for this decision? If anyone could provide links or reference material about this that I could use to argue our point to the landlords- it would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-27-2009, 06:07 PM
Location: Virginia
209 posts, read 1,024,252 times
Reputation: 120
Not sure about that area as each city, town has it's own law. Here where I live. The rules for a rental if I remember correctly are: you can have 4 unrelated, if you chose to rent to 5 you have to ask for a special use permit. Some places count a couple or brother and sister as 1. The best thing you can do is ask the zoning administrator or the codes enforcer as they would have their own interpetation of the law that they use.
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:40 AM
168 posts, read 771,615 times
Reputation: 92
100% true. Each area had different laws,...and almost everywhere has some form of this law.
It's purpose AFAIK is to avoid situations with 20 people living in a house meant for 4.
From fire reg's,...to septic capacities and such,....many realistic, although abstract variables play into the fact that houses are built with certain occupancies in mind.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:24 PM
2 posts, read 5,418 times
Reputation: 10
Hi There! It's me again. Thank you for your quick responses. I greatly appreciate it. So, if it's not possible to get 5 or 6 roommates in the same 4 bedroom house to keep rent reasonable, then should we consider a different house? Four roommates are a definite have-to-have situation. What is rent usually? Is $960 a reasonable rent for a 4 bed room 2.5 bath 1090 sq. ft. house? Should we try to get the landlords to renegotiate the rent price on the house? They say that the rent price is strictly their mortgage payment on the house, is that likely for this style of house? Is it worth it? Utilities are not included in the rent. The utilities run about $550 total. So the total for the house is around $1510 a month, which is a lot for us on minimum wage jobs to swing. That's why we were looking for multiple roommates to even out the costs a little. Are these the average costs for a rental house in the Bristol region?? Any input on what I & my future roommates should do from here? I just need some honest opinions on what is the most reasonable option. Thank you for your help!!

Last edited by Minisprout44; 04-28-2009 at 09:32 PM.. Reason: clarification of a sentance
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:52 AM
Location: Virginia Beach
486 posts, read 1,766,357 times
Reputation: 155
Yes, it's totally probable that $960 only covers their mortgage. In my experience, there's no way a 1090 sq. ft. house has 4 bedrooms. I think you have the square footage wrong.
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:07 PM
66 posts, read 162,062 times
Reputation: 31
I am always leery of people who demand you pay the same amount of rent as the mortgage payment. Sometimes that is the fair rental value, but often it's not. One's monthly mortgage payment can be affected by one's credit hisory, the amount of down payment, the term of the mortgage, interest rates, and the housing market at the time the home was purchased, whereas rental rates are determined by somewhat different factors. I know nothing about rental rates in the Bristol area, but you should do some research for the rental rates of comparable homes and then you can better determine if the rent he's asking for is fair.
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