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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.
Sometimes, the costs of renting a property can become somewhat restrictive and challenging for the renter, which is why some opt to rent out a room to another so that things can become slightly more manageable. To do this, a room rental agreement specifically designed for the state of Illinois is required. One of these agreements serves as a legal contract and will allow a tenant to add individuals to the property without necessarily adding them onto the standard lease agreement. Like a standard lease, this document is legally binding, and the renter will need to fill out the agreement in its entirety before moving in.
These agreements are advantageous to the tenant because the renter will not be on the lease, which means that there’s no need to change up the lease and the rent can be paid with much more ease. In addition, utilities like heat and electric can easily be split amongst the tenant and the subtenant, which should make things easier in that regard as well. Those that are aging can derive sizeable advantages from this, especially when they are living on a fixed income.
It’s critical to properly create an agreement that covers all of the aspects of this kind of arrangement because any missed disclosures or clauses can sour the relationship rather quickly. Also, it’s important to remember that the landlord has no legal obligation to a person that’s renting a room on a property, so if the primary tenant’s lease is ending, the person renting the room will most likely have to move as well.
This is effectively an arrangement made between the tenant and the renter, and in most cases, the lessor is considered uninvolved. That being said, the document is designed to ensure that:
- Rent is paid at times prescribed in the original lease.
- Noise is kept to respectable levels.
- All of the lease terms such as they apply to things like pets and smoking are followed.
- Per 765 ILCS 705/5, no felonious action is perpetrated on the premises.
Violations any of these terms, even by the renter, can affect the relationship between the tenant and the landlord and can even result in eviction. In a situation like this, the primary tenant is entirely responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the original lease are adhered to.
Requirements of an Illinois Room Rental Agreement
To start, it’s imperative that the rules of the original lease are provided so that the renter understands them. This can include providing an original copy of the lease so that it’s available for easy reference. Additionally, providing the landlord’s information is a good idea so that the renter has a means of contacting them about anything during the tenancy. Any and all contact information can be recorded into the document as well.
Additionally, disclosures that are required by law should also be provided to the renter. For example, federal law stipulates that a tenant must be made aware of the presence of lead-based paints in units that predate 1978; with room rental, this information must be provided as well. Finally, most Illinois room rental agreements include a security deposit that can be used in a situation where damage has been incurred on the property. This money will be used after the tenant, and his or her renter has moved out, and if it isn’t used, Illinois law states that the landlord has 30 to 45 days to return the deposited money.
How to Write a Room Rental Agreement in Illinois
When writing one of these documents, there are a few sections that will need to be included so that the document is legally binding for all parties. Fortunately, since these are designed to reinforce the rules, they are well worth the effort in making them comprehensive. Here are a few things that will need to be added for completeness:
One of the first things that need to appear on the document is the date of the agreement. This is very important for legal purposes and provides a timeline for the start of the rental.
The second thing that will be covered in this agreement is who the agreement will affect. Most agreements of this type will include one to four lines that can be used to record all of the parties that will be signing. In most cases, this will be the original tenant, and any renters that will be renting rooms – typically, the lessor of the property will not be included.
In some rare cases, some roommates will opt to not agree. In these cases, their names can be omitted, but it’s essential to understand that, by doing so, they are waiving all of the rights and protections afforded by the room rental agreement.
The original tenant that signed the standard lease will be considered the principal tenant in the contract, and any cotenants will be considered secondary tenants under the rules of the agreement. Including the contact information and full names of each tenant is advised.
Details of the Security Deposit
Security deposits are fairly standard throughout the country, and in the state of Illinois, there are limitations on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. Nevertheless, in some cases, the roommates will split the security deposit to make the load a bit lighter, and when this is the case, it needs to be covered by the room rental agreement. It’s a good idea to note what each roommate is contributing to this charge so that all understand what they owe.
When the tenancy ends, the agreement should make it reasonably clear how the returned security deposit is to be divided amongst the renters. It should also establish that, if the property has become damaged, then some or all of the deposit will be forfeited for the sake of repairs.
Rent Due Dates and Payment Amounts
Since all parties are subject to the rules of the original lease, it’s critical to establish in this agreement when rent is due so that there are no problems with the lessor. For those landlords that require that everything is paid in a single payment, the primary tenant can collect all of the roommates’ money contributions and cut a check or money order to pay rent on time.
With the property being split up among multiple people, it’s a good idea to firmly establish which areas are allocated to which roommate. In the document, outline the number of bedrooms and indicate which bedroom and living space go to which roommate.
Utilities and Parking Records
Similarly to how some primary tenants will be responsible for providing the payments for rent, some utilities will also need to be handled in a similar way. In a utilities section of the agreement, the person(s) responsible for paying each utility should be explicitly laid out. This can be fleshed out even further in a “Special Provisions” section.
Cleaning, Yard Work, Food Prep
Keeping the common areas neat and clean can be very important for many roommates, and sometimes, it’s beneficial to establish how the property is kept up in the room rental agreement. For example, this section can clearly dictate how the yard work, cleaning, and even food prep is done, and any rotation of responsibility that can be used to ensure the property is kept in good shape. Some agreements even include a dedicated cleaning schedule.
Dealing with Noise and Privacy
For the sake of the well-being and comfort of all involved, rules for noise and privacy should be set. When it comes to noise, a common stipulation that is present on many room rental agreements is a set quiet period. This quiet period can extend from the night hours to the early morning and should be honored by each roommate as well as their guests.
Also, insofar as rules about privacy, the agreement can state rules that prohibit guests from interfering with a roommate’s ability to get ready for work. Additionally, some privacy clauses can determine if roommates can have overnight guests or limitations on how long a guest can stay in residence.
Sometimes, a room renter may sublet the space that they typically occupy. This is particularly popular for students, especially during the winter and summer sessions. It’s important to establish whether the room rental agreement allows for this kind of sub-lessor/sub-lessee agreement.
Vacating the Property
When the tenancy is at an end, there should be clearly-defined rules about how the process of vacating the property is to be carried out. This can make what could be a chaotic process much more streamlined. In addition to establishing a process for vacating the premises, it should also be clearly stated how each roommate will contribute to the cleaning and repair process that needs to be carried out at the end of a tenancy. Finally, a preset period of warning will need to be established for those looking to seek other tenancy so that the remaining roommates have time to find replacement room renters.
Once all of this information is provided, all that remains is for each of the people involved in the room rental agreement to sign, date, and print their names legibly to make the document legally binding.