In 2009 I bought a small (850 sq ft) home via an FHA loan as a first time home buyer. Later, In 2013 I had a crazy month in which I accepted an out-of-state job and immediately learned my marriage was over. I decided the change of venue would be good, so I went ahead with the new job, changed my home insurance to a landlord policy and moved out of state. At that time I was unprepared for the move and left a fair amount of property behind. About 6 months later, I allowed a friend to move into my vacant home; for him it was a cheap, flexible arrangement that allowed him to improve his finances, and for me, I gained a caretaker for my asset and a small rent. He pays me like a roommate would, covering a little over half of the mortgage payment.
We've had this arrangement for about 2 years. I'm sure I'm square with the insurance (landlord policy), and my state/county (MO/Greene) doesn't differentiate between owner-occupied or not...residential is taxed one way, commercial is another. I've called and confirmed this. Additionally, I've been told by my lender and I've also read that my mortgage allows me to rent the home after I lived in it for the requisite amount of time, which I have. So I'm relatively sure my arrangement is in compliance.
That brings me to now. Over time, I made enough small improvements to the house to form an opinion that it is in bad shape and needs work.
Some examples. 1) It has three layers of shingles..! 2) It needs the electrical panel updated, which will require moving the weather head! 3) There is evidence of some settling---partly due to the weight of three layers of shingles I'm sure---and I suspect it requires foundation maintenance, hopefully just five or six well-placed screw jacks, but possibly worse. Finally, if foundation work fixes some off-level areas, 4) it'll need a new front door as it's been hacked to accommodate the wonky frame. I'm sure foundation work will result in a bunch of small issues too...drywall seam cracks, grout cracks, painting, etc.
While I would honestly prefer to sell it and be done, let's assume that's not on the table...if for no other reason, I'm not ready to make my friend homeless.
So my question is, should I discontinue treating this as a personal asset and begin treating it as an investment property? (Would it be a problem that my friend couldn't pay a fair market rent?)
If it matters, my loan was for 62k; the home is valued at 59,5, and I'm at 49720 remaining on the note.
I'm afraid the cost of work it requires is ridiculous compared to the value of the property, but unlike a worn out car, you can't just scrap it and walk away. If converting it to a true rental isn't my best option, I'd appreciate any alternative ideas I haven't considered.