Safety Tips for Senior Homeshares
While Senior Homeshares is a great website, filled with wonderful people like yourself, there are still some common sense procedures you should follow:
- Only send messages through the Senior Homeshares site (or from messages that we forward to you). Our message system will never reveal your real email address to others, and you shouldn't either. We will forward any new messages to your email address, but to answer those messages, you will still be securely linked back to our site.
- Beware anyone who asks you to send money. Money should never change hands until you have gone through a process of meeting, getting to know each other, deciding that you would like to be housemates, and setting up whatever formalities you agree on (like a homeshare agreement, reference check, etc.)
- Never, ever, give a stranger your home address. Meet them first (see the next item), and do not share address information until you are truly comfortable doing so.
- Meet in a public place. There is safety in numbers. Meet for the first time in a public place like a restaurant, coffee shop or busy park. Never give someone your address or invite them to your home until you really get to know them.
- Take a friend or family member along, or let them know about your meeting. It's always good to get a trusted second opinion, so consider taking a friend or family member along for the first meeting. Alternatively, make sure you share with a friend or family member the details about where and who you are meeting: name, phone number, and any other additional information you have about your potential housemate. You can also ask your friend to call you during the meeting to let them know how you are doing. In fact, this can be used as an escape clause if you feel like the meeting isn’t going well: "I'm sorry, Joan, my friend needs me because of an emergency and I have to leave.”
- Put any agreements in writing. While it is up to you how formal you want your home share arrangement to be, you should seriously consider signing a homeshare agreement. Here are some links to sample agreements you may want to use as a template :
- The Committee on the Shelterless publishes a guide to home-sharing, including a sample home sharing agreement
- HomeShare Vermont has published a Guide to Homesharing
- Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon has posted a simple, succinct Home Share Rental Agreement
- Buzzle has posted a sample home share agreement on its site
- Nolo, a do-it-yourself legal site, has a section on Senior Homesharing that includes tips for home-sharing
- Learn about any potential housemate. Make sure that you ask for - and check - references. And if you want to do a complete background check, here are some options:
- The Better Business Bureau has certified the following services, as of January 2016:
Background Check Services:
Credit Check Services:
- Keep a trusted friend or family member in the loop. As noted above, it's always good to have a second opinion. Ask someone you trust to meet your potential housemate, review any agreements, or anything else that makes you feel more secure in your home sharing arrangement. And don't forget that you can add a "helper" to your profile - a friend or relative - who can not only help you with your profile, but also receive and answer your email for you, if you like.
- If any user puts something offensive in their profile or in an email, please click the Report This Profile link on that page, or contact Customer Support.