Trial run: Shared House

Trial Run: Join a Household

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, it’s a better bet you’ll find something workable at the or “co-living” sites such as Starcity and Common if you’re looking in the city, and if you’re looking for a rural setting. ICmatch is more about the long-term relationships than the housing, so if that’s your focus, read on.

Often those wanting to invite in potential community residents feel they can’t ask questions they want to ask, because of rental laws about discrimination. If you are setting up a work-trade with someone you are inviting to be part of your household, even if they contribute some amount of rent, 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.


Steps to legally “rent” out a room in your house as a trial run for a potential long term community member

  1. As noted in the Next Steps page, complete your own group profile, search others’ profiles, and meet up. Make sure you find a good fit on both sides by discussing your compatibility.
  2. 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, see if your agreement for a trial run can be structured as a work agreement.
  3. Set up a written agreement that includes house rules and responsibilities, signed by both parties with a copy for each, 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.
  4. You might find it useful to set up a listing on, so that you can easily set up trial runs that have built-in accountability on both sides. By marking all months as unavailable, you can prevent it from being accessed by those you don’t personally invite, then give your invited guests a short window in which to access the listing as you make it available just for them. However you set it up, make sure to provide photos and a complete description of the property, so that your potential mini-community members can make an informed decision.


The ICmatch emphasis on contracts should not be interpreted as signalling that it is set up to facilitate transactional rental relationships. It is important to have contracts, and also it is important to work toward the type of interpersonal trust and effective communication that makes it likely you will not need to resort to legal disputes about your written and verbal agreements. Still, you may get some reassurance by consulting with a local lawyer who can advise you of relevant details after you’ve drafted an agreement. 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 laws for the more populated provinces: British ColumbiaAlbertaManitobaSaskatchewanOntario, and Quebec.



You are welcome to form an ICmatch group that welcomes a renter as part of a household and with an intent for the arrangement being a trial run for joining a residential community, with access to shared spaces the same that other household members have.

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