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What is a Room Rental Agreement?
In the state of Alaska, should two individuals occupy the same dwelling, but one or more not be included on the lease, the landlord may expect the individuals to sign what is known as a room rental agreement, or a roommate agreement form. This form provides basic liability coverage for the individual who is included on the lease provided by the landlord. In most cases, the form allows the individual who is not on the lease to agree to specific terms, such as what will be paid in relation to the security deposit, rent, and other utility payments.
Essentially, this form allows multiple individuals to agree to what will be paid by each individual on the lease. It is a way for the landlord to determine who is legally responsible for portions of rent and utilities, as well as provide individuals who are not on the lease with specific information that may be legally required in the state of Alaska. This form can be used, should any issues between roommates occur, to determine who is responsible, legally, for damages, as well as for record keeping. Some landlords also use this form as a way to track which roommates paid security deposits and in what amount, so that the amount to be returned at the end of the rental period can be fairly determined.
More often than not, this form, provided by the landlord, is similar to a sub-leasing agreement. It provides basic information for the additional individuals not included on the original lease. All the same, it should be noted that this document is very different from a sub-letting agreement, and will not be looked upon with the same level of validity as such a form. Typically, this form is used for documentation and expectation purposes between two roommates. In many cases, unless otherwise agreed upon by the landlord, the tenant on the lease is responsible for all fees and utilities owed to the landlord during each payment period.
Should questions arise, however, in regards to who paid what portions of the security deposit and who agreed to pay what amount of money per month on the lease, this form is an excellent reference. Landlords may choose to use this to keep roommates who are not on the lease accountable for their portions of rent. Typically, however, it is up to the responsible party to ensure that all fees are paid. If there are issues, however, based upon this form the primary tenant may speak to the landlord about the agreement on the form. The landlord is not legally obligated, however, to uphold the validity of the form.
In a court setting, this form is typically considered less valid, as it is not a legally binding form but more of an agreement between two separate tenants and a document providing proof of the dollar amount of security deposits paid by each roommate on the agreement. It is important for the landlord to understand that in the majority of all cases, this form is not legally binding – however, the landlord has the freedom to determine the validity of the document itself.
Writing a Room Rental Agreement Form in Alaska
There are several important sections of the room rental agreement form that should be included to ensure that all parties understand the expectations set out in the initial agreement. Below are the sections that should be included, in order of appearance, as well as a description of important information that should be included in each section.
Parties and Property
This section, typically speaking, is relatively simplistic. Typically speaking, this section includes information in regards to who the primary leaseholder is, as well as who will be a roommate potentially not included on the lease. This section should also detail information in regards to the property and the address. Some landlords may choose to include their contact information in this section so that both the primary tenant and the roommate are aware of how to contact the landlord should the need arise.
Furthermore, this section will detail the agreements of the lease – for instance, the end date of the lease should be included here and explicitly detailed that the roommate agreement is only to last as long as the lease lasts unless otherwise agreed upon by the landlord and tenants.
In some cases, it may be beneficial to include disclosures in this section – such as referencing the legal disclosures as required by the state of Alaska that is included in the lease, as well as any information in regards to what the roommate is liable for should the primary tenant not be living on the property for any reason.
Typically, this is one of the most important parts of the room rental agreement form. This section details the expectations of the security deposit – how much the roommate have included for their portion of the security deposit and what the roommate will be liable for.
Landlords and property managers may feel it necessary to include a disclaimer here explaining, specifically, what the roommate’s responsibilities will be – in most cases, it means damage to the area of which they are renting, as well as any damage to communal areas. The disclaimer may also include information such as who the roommate is liable for – for instance, guests and pets.
Rent and Utilities
This section, while also exceptionally important, is relatively simplistic. Here, the landlord details how much of the rent and utilities each roommate is responsible for. This can be broken down by dollar amount, or fractionally. Any utilities or fees should be included in this section, should the roommate be liable for them.
Some landlords may also choose to include any fees associated with late payments in this section.
This section provides guidelines on the process required for moving out of the unit – both for proper and improper moveout. The section should include information on the terms of notice for termination as well as the process should just the roommate move out at the end of the leasing period, as well as all other move out instructions as set by the landlord or property manager in the lease.
Many landlords may choose to include an optional section in the room rental agreement form that dictates any personal matters agreed upon by the roommates – such as the distribution of food, specific schedules/quiet hours agreed upon, etc. This section is typically only included at the roommate’s request and is not considered a part of the legal roommate agreement form.
This section may also include notice information, information for the tenant or the roommate in regards to the procedure that should be followed should the roommate take an extended absence for any reason, as well as information on maintenance and other rental issues that may occur during the roommate stay.
Notice of Termination/Lease Violation/Other Issues
The last section of the room rental agreement form, this section provides the tenants with information on contacting the landlord should any issues arise. If not previously included, the landlord may choose to include their contact information in this section. Furthermore, this section should provide the contact information of the individuals who will be residing in the unit, as well as information on proper reporting for any issues and violations.
Signature and Dates
At the end of the document a signature section should be included. This section allows each of the roommates, as well as the landlord, to sign off, stating that on the specific date they read and acknowledged these agreements.
Ultimately, the roommate agreement is relatively simplistic and allows the landlord and roommates to agree upon expectations set out for each roommate who will be residing in the unit. There are many websites locally that assist tenants in finding potential roommates and that provide postings for rooms to rent – a quick google search should bring to light local websites in your area to create postings on.
Furthermore, there are several ways to mediate roommate conflicts – starting with the agreement written and expressed above is one of the best ways to attempt to mediate. However, as this document holds limited validity, it is important to note that your tenants should be aware of the legal expectations behind their lease and follow those.
While the form may seem simple, initially, many tenants who reside with a roommate find it beneficial to have the expectations written out for them to reference at a later date, if needed. This is also a great conflict resolution tool and outlines the expectations of the roommate should they need to vacate the room. It assists the primary tenant in understanding where their legal responsibilities lie in regards to having a roommate.
Should any legal questions arise, however, it is up to the landlord to know that the expectations outlined in the original lease are what legally binds the tenant, and the lease should be followed should concerns come about.