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What is a Room Rental Agreement?
A room rental agreement is a legal contract that defines the rights and expectations of all people that reside in a rental unit, including individuals not listed on the original residential lease between the landlord and master tenant. It is necessary to complete a room rental agreement when more than one person lives in a rental unit but may not be stated on the lease, as in when a master tenant seeks a roommate. This document is considered to be a signed contract and is vital in the event of legal action.
When a tenant is renting an apartment, he or she may occasionally find the need to add in additional roommates, and when this is the case, there are many benefits. These can include:
- Making it easier to pay the monthly rent, especially in more expensive neighborhoods and districts.
- Making utilities more manageable.
- Making larger units easier to clean and manage.
- Making it easier to furnish an apartment, especially considering that the costs of purchasing things like furniture and appliances can be split.
- Forming social bonds and allowing a renter to room with a friend or set of friends.
- Making it easier for older individuals who are on a fixed income to pay their ever-increasing rent.
One of the best features of starting a roommate agreement is the fact that it’s a legal document that can establish a set of rules and a framework for renting with roommates. In the state of Idaho, it’s fairly easy to create a roommate agreement that will work to the benefit of all of the involved parties, and once signed, these serve as a legal contract that is flexible enough for the roommates to add future renters as time progresses. It’s crucial that any added-on roommates sign the document before moving into the unit.
In many situations, the primary tenant will remain the signer of the original lease, so there’s no implicit need to change up the lease terms. When it comes to provisions for the roommates, it’s critical for the rental agreement to be all-inclusive, so all disclosures must be included, and roommate responsibilities will need to be outlined as well. In addition to this, a landlord has no legal obligation to anyone that isn’t on the original lease, so if there is a violation of the lease terms by one of the roommates, the onus of responsibility will fall on the original lessee, and this can lead to eviction proceedings.
For the sake of clarity, a good agreement must be clear so that:
- Noise is kept down so as not to disturb neighbors and fellow roommates.
- Rent is paid promptly.
- None of the original lease terms are broken as they pertain to smoking, pets, and treatment of common areas.
Some of the steps that a tenant will need to take to create a legally binding roommate agreement will be laid out in this guide as well as some info on how to write one of these documents.
Requirements of an Idaho Room Rental Agreement
Unlike some states, the state of Idaho doesn’t require that there be any disclosures attached to the lease or the roommate agreement. That being said, based on federal law, if the building was built pre-1978, then there may be lead-based paint, and if this is the case, it’s required that the landlord make tenants aware of the potential presence of this dangerous material. This should be included in the agreement, especially since lead-based paint can be detrimental to any children or pregnant women dwelling in the unit.
In many cases, Idaho renters pay a security deposit that can be used by the landlord to help fix any incidental damage that may have occurred during a tenancy. Most roommates chip in for this security deposit, but it’s important to understand that in the state of Idaho, there’s no upper limit on the security deposit. Additionally, once the tenancy ends, all lessors are bound by state law to return the full amount of the security deposit within a period of 21 days. When using a primary tenant, roommates should be afforded their share of the deposit once it’s received by the primary tenant.
How to Write a Room Rental Agreement in Idaho
As mentioned previously, it’s imperative that you include all of the required sections of Idaho Room Rental Document so that it’s legally-binding and has a good level of coverage for all roommates. Here’s how to write one:
As with any legal document, the timeliness of the agreement should be clear. One of the first things that need to go on the agreement is the date that it was first created.
For one of these documents, just about all involved parties, with the exception of the landlord in most cases, will need to be signatories. For this reason, on documents of this type, there are typically at least four lines that will allow for all of the roommates to sign. In addition to this, there can even be places where the involved roommates print their name for clarification.
It’s important to note that involvement in this aspect of the roommate arrangement isn’t compulsory, but for those roommates that do not opt to sign, the legal protections and rights that the agreement covers won’t be provided. Under most roommate agreements, the lease signer is often considered to be the primary tenant, and all other renters are considered the subtenants.
Details of the Security Deposit
As mentioned, in the state of Idaho, there’s no preset limit on the amount of the security deposit, and under Idaho law § 6-321, all security deposits must be returned to the tenant within 21 days. For roommates, the amount of the security deposit may be split amongst the renters, which can make a higher security deposit easier to manage. For clarity, it’s a good idea to include all of the information pertaining to the security deposit within the roommate agreement. When the amount is split, each roommate’s allocation should be explicitly included.
Additionally, it should be made clear how the security deposit is to be returned to the cotenants in addition to how damages to the property can affect the final value of the security deposit.
Rent Due Dates and Payment Amounts
When rent isn’t paid in a timely fashion, this can serve as grounds for a lessor to begin eviction proceedings. For this reason, it’s critical that each roommate fully understands his or her obligations when it comes to the monthly rent payments. In the agreement, the exact payable amount needs to be included as well as the due date.
When renting out rooms, not everyone has the same space allocation. When this is the case, one roommate may pay less in rent than another, but in every case, the agreement should note which areas belong to which roommate. For clarity, the agreement can outline the number of bedrooms in a unit and also clearly state which area goes to which roommate.
Utilities and Parking Records
When it comes to both the rental payments and the utilities, some roommate agreements provide for a primary payer that handles these costs. In this type of case, the roommates will pay their shares of both the rent and the utilities to this roommate who will then cut a check to pay the costs. The agreement needs to explicitly name this person for each utility, and for the rent payments, this should be listed as the primary tenant.
Insofar as parking, many properties also allocate parking spots to their tenants. In many cases, this can extend to the subtenants as well, but which spaces go to which tenant needs to be mentioned in the agreement as well.
Cleaning, Yard Work, Food Prep
For the sake of the legal relationship, common areas are typically expected to be kept neat and tidy by the roommates. To ensure this, many roommates include a tidiness clause in their agreement that not only stipulates that common areas are to be kept up, but also may establish cleaning times and roommate responsibilities. This can even extend to schedules for yard work and food preparation.
In areas of Idaho that have a large student population, there’s a tendency for leases to be signed for 12-month periods or more despite the fact that a student may not dwell in the area year-round. In these types of areas, subletting is a popular way for tenants and subtenants to ensure that the rent is paid during winter and summer break. If this is something that the roommates can agree upon, it’s important to state binding rules for both the tenants subletting the space as well as their sub-lessees.
Dealing with Noise and Privacy
Similarly to how there are rules for general tidiness and cleanliness, there should also be established sections dealing with both noise and privacy. Most agreements establish quiet times that are extendable to guests. Also, for the sake of privacy, some roommate agreements clearly set limitations for overnight guests that can include limitations for how long they can stay as well as clearly laying out that the roommate is responsible for all of his or her guest’s behavior.
Vacating the Property
No tenancy lasts forever, and when it’s time for all to vacate, it should be clearly outlined how the process is to be facilitated. This will add a lot of order to the final move-out process. Aspects of this like the cleaning and repair schedule should be provided. In addition, the amount of notice each tenant should provide before moving out needs to be clearly stated as well.
Finally, to close off the room rental agreement, underneath the primary tenant’s signature, all subtenants must sign and print their names as well as date the document.