Bob Carlson, America's leading retirement expert, reveals the big secret the IRS won't tell you.
Shared housing is when two or more people share a living space for mutual benefit. There's usually a “head-tenant,” the owner or renter of a property, and a “sub-tenant,” who moves in after agreeing to terms and conditions, which often includes rent and housework.
Many seniors and retirees choose to home-share with other members of the 55+ community. They might need financial assistance or seek companionship. Maybe they just need a friend who can remind them to take medication or help unload groceries.
|Example: A 65-year-old divorcee, who is living on her own for the first time in over 30 years, rents a room to an acquaintance from her church who is of similar age and situation. She and her sub-tenant split rent and housework while providing each other with friendship and peace of mind. The two women share support for each other while also maintaining their independence.|
Some shared housing is arranged intergenerationally. This places someone of the 55+ community with a younger adult who can exchange personal assistance or other services for rent.
|Example: A 75-year-old retiree is no longer able to drive and often forgets to take his evening medication. He’s not ready to give up his independent lifestyle but can't afford home care services. Instead, he contacts a home share program and is paired with a college senior who is willing to provide everyday assistance in exchange for a free bedroom.|
The terms of each home share agreement are unique! Terms depend on personal needs, preferences, and financial situations. While no two circumstances are exactly the same, shared housing is largely just people helping people.
There are several home-sharing programs available across the US. To get started, visit the Senior Resource Shared Housing Directory!
Not quite what you're looking for? Then try your local area agency on aging for more help near you.
Many other programs exist to connect seniors with housemates and roommates of all ages! Websites like Senior Homeshares help the aging community list and find listings for home-sharing opportunities, by creating individualized profiles which include personal needs, wants, and basic homeowner information.
After you find a potential candidate (or two, or three…) it’s a good idea to set up an interview and home visit - after all, you wouldn’t want to share space with someone whose personality isn't for you. This is also the time to discuss expectations for each party. Many seniors find it helpful and safer to conduct background and credit checks. Services like TenantReports.com can assist easily at a minimal cost.
Once you’ve found your ideal housemate, the final step is to draft a home-share agreement. This should be a written document that states all duties and responsibilities of each individual. It can be as brief or detailed as you like. But, a typical agreement will include rent and utility payments, household duties, guest and pet policies, kitchen use and food sharing, internet use, and privacy.