ICmatch is about long-term compatible relationships, more than just offering or finding a place to live. The first set of steps explain ways to join a household and the second set of steps is about offering a place.
Steps to find a room to rent or work-trade as a trial run
Many parts of North America have a widespread crisis-level shortage of affordable housing. It’s understandable if you’re looking at this page with low income housing in mind. If affordable housing is your main concern, you might find something workable at sites set up for that purpose. Check out coliving platforms if you’re looking in the city. Try workaway.info if you’re looking for a rural setting. If you’re looking for a long term arrangement to join a household with highly compatible people, this is for you.
- Complete your ICmatch profile. In the first category of profile questions, Community Type, identify yourself as an IC seeker.
- When you get matches, look at others’ response to the first category of profile questions, Community Type. For their response to “IC seeker or founder/resident,” you’ll be looking for people who identify as an “IC resident” or as a “householder.”
- Search ICmatch group listings. To find that welcome a renter as part of a household.
- Search individual profiles too. On the Match for Free page, there’s a search field labeled “IC seeker or founder/resident.” Choose the option “I’m looking to join an established residence.” Simultaneously you can use other search fields to help narrow down your search.
- You can pay a low subscription fee to be even more findable. In the My Account page after you log in, you’ll see a tab called “Subscription.” For as long as you’re a paid subscriber, you’ll show up in the section below titled Members Interested in Finding a Room for Rent or Work-trade. Make sure that in the profile category Community Type, for the question “IC types I would live in or am forming” you checkmarked the option Trial run: Join household.
- Chat with members that look like a good fit. The Start page has tips on taking gradual steps safely.
- Ask for a written agreement that includes house rules and responsibilities, signed by both parties. Have a signed copy for each of you, ideally with each party having a witness. Many long-time communitarians agree that it takes about three months to determine if a new community member is a good fit.
- In addition, see our Safety Precautions page. Especially see these sections: Trial Run, Evaluating Established Intentional Communities, Avoiding Scammers, and 9 Ways to Identify a Cult-like Situation.
Steps to offer a room for rent or work-trade (as a trial run)
Often those wanting to invite in potential community residents feel they can’t ask questions they want to ask. For example, you might not have a place ideal for kids, but you don’t bring it up because of rental laws about discrimination. You might be setting up a work-trade with someone you are inviting to be part of your household, and they could contribute some amount of rent. In that case, it’s fair to ask questions such as those found in the ICmatch profiles. In many cases, rental laws do not apply when living accommodations and a business arrangement are part of a single agreement. This may give you more leeway to construct a contract unique to the needs and interests of all parties. Here’s how to start.
- Make sure that local laws and zoning permits allow you to rent or sublet. Some cities or HOAs have restrictions that allow only family members to live together at a single-family unit. If you are renting, you likely need permission from your landlord. If rental laws are burdensome, consider whether your agreement for a trial run can be structured as a work contract, as described below.
- Complete your own ICmatch profile. In the first category of profile questions, Community Type, identify yourself as a householder.
- Search in the section below titled Members Interested in Finding a Room for Rent or Work-trade.
- Equally important, on the Match for Free page, there’s a search field labeled “IC seeker or founder/resident.” Choose the option “I’m looking for IC seekers to join me in an established IC.” Simultaneously, use the other search fields (if applicable) to narrow your results to those most compatible. Start a chat with those that look like a good fit who want to join a household.
- You are welcome to form a free ICmatch group listing that welcomes a renter or long term work-share worker as part of a household. Use one or both of those terms to make it easy for them to find you. Make sure to include a photo. Write a 100-word description of the type of agreement you’re seeking and what your property is like. This allows your potential mini-community members to make a more informed decision.
- Set up a written agreement that includes house rules and responsibilities, signed by both parties. Have a signed copy for each of you, ideally with each party having a witness. Many long-time communitarians agree that it takes about three months to determine if a new community member is a good fit.
- You might find it useful to set up a listing on workaway.info (if work trade is involved). With a work agreement, the residence is offered as a personal invitation. Make it clear what shared spaces you are offering access to. It’s okay to reserve some spaces as private for you, and they should be offered some private spaces too.
- You might find it useful to set up a listing on Airbnb.com if no work is involve. With this platform you can easily set up trial runs that have built-in accountability and clear payment agreements on both sides. If you use Airbnb, you might want to start by marking all months as unavailable. This prevents it from access by those you don’t personally invite. When you are ready, your invited guests can immediately access the listing when you make it available just for them.
- In addition, see our Safety Precautions page. Especially see these sections: Getting to Know Group Members, Trial Run, and Avoid Professional Tenants. The Start page has more tips on taking gradual steps safely.
Consultants Specializing in Unconventional Rent Agreements
You may get some reassurance by consulting with a local lawyer or rental consultant. Legal professionals can advise you of relevant details for your area after you’ve drafted an agreement.
Members Interested to Join a Household for Rent or Work-trade
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The ICmatch emphasis on contracts should not be interpreted as signalling that it is set up primarily to facilitate transactional rental relationships. It is important to have contracts to ensure there is clarity when you join a household. It is also important to work toward interpersonal trust and effective communication. That makes it likely you will not need to resort to legal disputes about your written and verbal agreements. In some areas, zoning laws restrict homeowners from renting rooms to people outside their family. In other areas, you may need a permit or a license to do so. Additionally, there may be restrictions on the number of non-family members you can rent a space in your home to. iPropertyManagement has information on month-to-month rental laws for each U.S. state. Here are links to specific laws for the more populated provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec.