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What is a Room Rental Agreement?
In the state of Arkansas, if two or more individuals live within the same dwelling, but one or more roommates is not listed on the lease, it may be in each party’s best interest to sign what is known as a room rental agreement, otherwise known as a roommate agreement form. In some cases, landlords may require an agreement to be signed between roommates in order to maintain liability from all individuals residing in a unit. Furthermore, this type of document protects the liability of the primary lessor should any issues arise concerning the other individuals occupying the property. Typically, this type of form allows individuals not included in the lease to sign a document agreeing to specific terms – such as the amount that will be paid towards security deposits, rent, and utilities.
In essence, this form creates a written agreement between multiple individuals residing within the same dwelling. The agreement often focuses, primarily, on what portion of overall rent and fees will be paid by each party. It serves as a way for the landlord to determine who is legally responsible for each portion of the rent, utilities, and any other fees included on the lease. Furthermore, this document provides individuals not included in the lease with any disclosures legally required by the state of Arkansas. This form can and should be used any roommate conflicts, as well as for determining legal issues should they arise. Lastly, some landlords may choose to utilize this document to notate security deposits paid by each roommate so returns can be made fairly at the end of the rental period.
Typically speaking, this form is provided by the landlord and is very similar to a subleasing agreement. The document provides documentation of basic information for each individual living in the unit who is not included in the original leasing document. It should be noted, however, that this document is very different from a sub-letting agreement and in many cases is not looked at with the same level of validity due to the nature of the contract. Primarily, this document serves as documentation and to set the expectations of contribution between two or more roommates. More often than not, the primary tenant on the lease is legally responsible for all fees and utilities owed to the landlord during each payment period unless otherwise agreed upon.
However, if there are any questions in regards to payment of the security deposit, who agreed to pay what portion of the rent and other fees each month, and who is responsible for maintaining which utilities, this form can serve as a point of reference for both the roommates and the landlord. Some landlords may choose to utilize this form to hold individuals who are not on the lease accountable for certain portions of rent and utilities. Ultimately, however, it is up to the responsible party on the lease to ensure all fees are paid by the due date. While the landlord is not legally obligated to uphold the validity of the form itself, the landlord may use this form, at will, for accountability purposes.
It is important to note that, from a legal standpoint, in a courtroom setting, this document may not be considered valid as it is not a legally binding contract. In most cases, it is considered less a legal document and more a formal agreement between two or more roommates. All the same, the landlord may choose to determine the validity of the document itself.
Writing the Arkansas Room Rental Agreement
Similar to the sub-leasing agreement or a regular leasing document, this particular form has several different sections that are are important to be included, both for liability purposes and for clarity. Furthermore, some sections, while optional, are helpful for documentation purposes for both the roommates and the landlord.
Parties and Property
This section provides information on all involved parties – typically, one paragraph provides information on the property itself, such as the property name and the name of the landlord or the management group, as well as the address the property is located at, and the unit number, if applicable. Next, the names of each roommate will be listed – in some cases, the primary lessor may be notated, specifically for documentation purposes. Furthermore, at need, the location of each roommate (master bedroom, guest bedroom, etc) may be included for further clarity purposes.
Some landlords may choose to include their contact information in this section as well, as it provides each associated party with necessary information should an issue arise.
Furthermore, this section will provide the details of the lease – the initial date each roommate began living on the property, and the last day of the lease. It should be specifically stated that the roommate agreement is only to last the length of the lease, unless otherwise agreed upon between the tenant and landlord.
This is, in most cases, one of the most important parts of the roommate rental agreement. In this section, the amount of the security deposit for each roommate can be notated, along with the date the deposit was received. Many landlords use this section for documentation purposes as any issues or concerns that may arise in regards to the security deposit can be cross referenced with this document.
Some landlords may find it beneficial to include a disclaimer in this section in regards to the security deposit. They may notate which sections of the home specific deposits are applicable to – a roommate’s room, if damaged, will only come out of the sole roommate’s deposit, whereas the common areas come collectively out of each deposit – to ensure accountability.
Lastly, this section may contain a disclaimer in regards to the return of the security deposit. In most cases, landlords are required to return all deposits within 30 days of moveout. This information should be provided to each tenant along with expectations should damages occur.
Rent and Utilities
For many landlords, this section is also important, if not vital. This section of the lease often dictates the overall amount of rent due. In some cases, individuals may provide the amount that each specific roommate will be responsible for, in order to hold each roommate accountable – however it is important, and many landlords choose to put this disclosure in the document, that from a legal standpoint, the primary individual or individuals on the lease are to be responsible for unpaid rent and utilities.
Furthermore, this section will dictate the amount each roommate has agreed to pay towards utilities on a monthly basis. Lastly, some landlords may choose to use this section to provide tenants with information associated with late fees and penalties for late rent or utilities.
This section will provide information for moving out of the unit – including any pre-arranged move out dates, as well as information on the procedure for moving out – both proper and improper move out. Information in this section may dictate fines or penalties associated with early termination of the lease or eviction. This section may also include information on the required amount of notice prior to move out.
Additional Expectations and Policies
While optional, this section will detail any additional policies and expectations set out by the landlord. Some landlords may enforce policies such as quiet hours, as well as provide information on property specific policies such as gate codes and other information that may be beneficial for the roommates involved.
Other information that may be included in this section include any agreements come to between the roommates. Information that may be beneficial to resolving potential conflict between roommates can be included here as an expectation between all tenants, whether or not they are included on the leasing document.
Notice of Termination/Lease Violation/Other Concerns
The final section of the leasing document provides individuals with information regarding the expected notice of termination, as well as specific contact information for the landlord should individuals need to report a violation of the leasing document. This section should also include contact information for each individual living in the dwelling in case of potential issues.
Signatures and Dates
This last section of the leasing document provides each roommate with a place to sign and date the agreement. Each roommate should sign this section of the document to verify that they have received the information included on the document, therefore holding them accountable and responsible for the agreement. The landlord should also sign the document, verifying they have read and agreed to the terms of agreement as put forth by the tenants.
Should any concerns come up during the individuals throughout the individuals tenancy this document can serve as a guideline for expectations between roommates. While this document may not provide legal protection to the roommates in the court of law, in many cases, it does provide grounds for forms of investigation, should the need arise.