Interview by Earll Murman
When married, this widowed Port Townsend resident had an “open social house.” So when she settled into her house off of San Juan Avenue, she thought about home sharing. Although she didn’t need the income, she felt it wasn’t fair to use more space than she needed. She got off to a good start with the first couple of renters, and except for a year when she had a hip replacement, home sharing has been a regular part of her life.
She likes renting to young interns who spend time in Port Townsend as part of their Americorps experience. Working with local non profits, the renters are easy to find. And they come already vetted having passed through both the Americorps and the non profit selection process. With their ten month assignments, she has a couple months to use her room for visitors. Each renter is different, and it always is a challenge at the start to find how they will fit in. Some want to socialize and others want to be alone. She has rented to both males and females, and occasionally to a student from the boat building school. Each has worked out and there have been no problem situations. During this COVID-19 year, her renter follows all the protocols, just as they do at work.
The rented room is 10’ x 10’ and comes with an almost private bathroom, as well as kitchen and laundry sharing privileges and use of the living room. She likes to keep the rent below what she sees in the paper. Currently it is $400 per month including all utilities and wifi. No damage deposit or final month’s rent is charged, and there have been no problems. The worst damage has been nail holes for hanging pictures, and she says “I know how to fix them.” No smoking is allowed. Access to public transportation has not been an issue as all renters have had cars or bikes.
During the time the interns are home sharing, they are like having nieces or nephews in the house. Sometimes they share a meal together, but it is neither required or expected. Since they are visitors to Port Townsend, she doesn’t see them on a regular basis once their internship is over. It has been a positive experience for 15 or so years, and she hopes by telling this story that others will consider home sharing. “You might discover you are willing to change something in your life if you give it a try.”