Roommate Rental Agreement
One way to get some of the basic issues of sharing an apartment clarified is to create and sign a rental agreement with your roommate/s. The purpose of a rental agreement is to set up guidelines at the beginning of a lease that determine the responsibilities of all roommates. You can keep disagreements to a minimum if each tenant understands his/her basic responsibilities. It is best if all roommates have signed and dated copies of the agreement to avoid problems.
While a roommate agreement is not binding on the landlord, it is binding on the tenants who sign it.
A roommate agreement should include the following:
- The agreed dollar amount that each tenant is responsible to pay for rent. Rent may be split equally or may vary if the size and convenience of bedrooms differ.
- How phone and utility bills will be paid and who will pay them.
- Who is responsible for the security deposit or how it will be divided, and how repairs for any damage to the property will be paid.
A roommate rental agreement may also include household duties such as garbage removal, dishes and kitchen clean-up, and bathroom maintenance. Other guidelines may include subleasing, assignment, abandonment, and guest policies.
If problems arise later in the year, the roommate agreement can be used to help resolve disputes. Not only is an agreement useful in resolving problems, but it may be a suitable defense in the event that paying roommates are sued for another tenant's non-payment of rent. While this agreement is not binding on your landlord, it will offer you some means of recouping damages or overdue rent should your roommate go AWOL.
The aforementioned information is provided as a general guide and is not intended to provide specific advice. Readers should satisfy themselves that the information is accurate for their purposes and use.