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What is a Room Rental Agreement?
A roommate agreement is a type of agreement that a tenant can decide to enter when they cannot pay the rent and the utilities on their own. It will be an arrangement that allows another individual to live in the unit, and the rent and the utilities that need to be paid will be split based on the amount of space that they each have. It is a binding contract, so the details of the agreement need to be documented in the room rental agreement.
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 Louisiana 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.
What to Include in a Louisiana Roommate Agreement
- The date of the agreement. This will include the start date as well as the date that the lease ends. If the lease can be renewed, it should be listed in this agreement as well.
- The names of all of the tenants that will be living in the unit. This will include tenants that already live in the space.
- The address of the property.
- The amount that each roommate pays for rent each month. Also, include where the rent should be turned in when it is due. Will one roommate submit the entire payment, or will each one take care of their portion?
- The amount that each roommate is required to pay for the security deposit. This will allow the security deposit to be returned fairly to the roommates when they vacate.
- How the utility bills and other finances will be split will need to be covered.
- The signature of all of the roommates will need to be at the bottom.
Roommate’s Rights in Louisiana
It’s important to note that roommates in Louisiana aren’t quite as protected by the letter of the lease as the original tenant. This is due to the fact that roommates are typically considered add-on tenants that are junior to the primary tenant. As a result, the room rental agreement is the only form of protection that a roommate can use since it binds the primary tenant to the roommate so that, if any issues crop up, the roommate will have a form of protection that falls outside of the agreement between the primary lessee and the landlord.
Requirements of an Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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, Louisiana law states that the landlord has 30 to 45 days to return the deposited money.
A tenant may decide to have a room rental agreement with another person when they are taking part in a residential lease to make it more manageable for them. Of course, this type of arrangement can make it easier to manage paying the bills on time, but it can also provide a social relationship that can last for years after the agreement is no longer a viable living situation. Some of the reasons that a person may consider a room rental agreement in Louisiana include:
- Rent Payments Become Easier to Manage: In some areas of the state, the rent may be higher because of the increasing population in the area. This can make it more difficult to pay rent alone, especially when a single tenant has a space that can easily be divided for two or more people to share. Imagine paying $1,500 for a two-bedroom space, when that is divided with a room rental agreement, each roommate will only have to pay $750 a month.
- Utilities Become Easier to Manage: Utilities are something that every renter has to pay unless the landlord takes care of the bill for a specific utility. For things like electric, cable, internet to be less of a hit for the tenant to take when the bill comes each month, some decide that having a roommate will make the utilities that are shared to be easier to pay on time.
- Easier to Purchase Furnishings: When a tenant first moves into a new unit, unless they already have enough furniture to fill the space, they are going to need to purchase some. When two tenants can purchase furniture, then the space is likely to get filled with furniture much quicker.
- Making Maintenance is Easier: Cleaning and maintaining a space can take up a lot of time, but if it is split between the roommates who live in the unit, then each person will only have to clean up half of the area. There can even be a cleaning schedule that can be used so that the chores are evenly divided.
If the unit has more than two bedrooms, or there are tenants that are willing to share a room, then there can be more than two roommates in a room rental agreement. This type of agreement is designed to establish how the living situation between the roommates will work and set up a framework that the tenants will need to follow. It is a legally binding arrangement that will hold each party responsible for their part of the arrangement, and if there are any issues about when the rent or the utilities are due, the rules that are to be followed should be discussed in the agreement.
The person who signed the original lease is going to be the tenant that is responsible for making sure that the original agreement is upheld by all of the tenants in the unit. This means that the rent will be paid on time, and all of the roommates will need to make sure that the noise restrictions and parking concerns are met so that all of the tenants have the same, fair treatment.
When creating a room rental agreement, all of the state and federal disclosures that are required to be presented to the tenant will need to be provided for the new tenant as well. Some of the disclosures that will need to be included are:
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
There are not a lot of disclosures that need to be presented in the state of Louisiana, but if the building was built before the year 1978, then the federal law requires the tenant to be provided with information about lead-based paint. This is something that can be found in buildings that were painted before this time, and since this substance can be unsafe for young children and pregnant women, a disclosure form must be included with the original agreement as well as any room rental agreement that is signed. Pamphlets should be available for the landlord to hand out to the tenants that rent their units, so a tenant will be able to get the information from them for most room rental agreements.
How to Write a Room Rental Agreement in Louisiana
One of these documents can make renting space out to various individuals much easier, but for the sake of legality, it’s also a good idea to have a strong framework. Here are some of the sections that will be required:
Information about the Unit and the Involved Parties
To start, anything that can be used to identify the agreement will have to be provided so that the courts (should they be needed) will have all pertinent information needed. One of the first pieces of info that should be made quickly available about the agreement is the names of the parties that will be signing it. These documents provide useful protections and can be used to identify roommate rights, so whoever will be rooming in the unit should sign their name fully.
In addition, space should be provided for add-on roommates so that they can be covered by the agreement as well. Sometimes, a roommate may opt not to sign. If this is the case, they will need to understand that the document’s rights and protections may not pertain to them.
In addition, details about the unit itself should be provided. This will include a potential physical description of the space as well as its legal address. The address should consist of things like the unit number, building number, physical address, side streets, the county, and the zip code.
Information about the Security Deposit
Security deposits are an essential aspect of renting a property because these deposits can be used to repair any damage that may have occurred during a tenancy. In Louisiana, the landlord is required to return the deposit within 30 days of a move-out. If money has been deducted for repairs, this cash value must be itemized by the landlord. For roommates, the security deposit is typically split amongst the initial renters, so as they move out, their share can be returned to them. The precise rules of the security deposit, as well as any rules pertaining to how it’s returned, should be covered in the roommate agreement.
Rent Due Dates and the Amounts Owed
It’s critical that rent is paid regularly and on time, so the agreement will need to establish the rent values that each roommate must pay when it is due. In addition, this part of the agreement should also make the precise due date explicit so that each roommate understands his or her responsibilities.
Not every unit is divvied up in the same fashion, and as a result, some roommates may have more space than others. When this is the case, some roommates may pay less than others, and some housemates may cohabitate in the same room. The agreement should include full details about all of the property arrangements so that each roommate knows which space is theirs.
Like rent, some roommate agreements identify a primary payer of the utilities. When each utility payment is due, the housemates may then pay their share of the overall value to a singular person who then cuts a check and makes the payment. The agreement should explicitly name the primary payer of this monthly value and state how each utility payment is metered and divvied up among the renters.
One of the conveniences that many landlords offer their tenants is a regular place to park, which can be very useful in busier areas of Louisiana. For a specific unit, a landlord may provide assigned spaces around the property, and if this is the case, the roommate agreement should record which areas go to which roommate.
Rules on Subletting
In areas of the state where many of the residents don’t dwell on properties for the full year, subletting is common. This is particularly popular in college towns since residents can be away for the summer and winter sessions. When this happens, someone still has to pay the rent for the times when part or the entire unit will be vacant, and for many, this is where subletting comes in handy.
Subletting allows the roommates to create temporary lease agreements with third parties, and it can help make sure that individual renters won’t be caught with rent payments when they aren’t using their space. As long as the original lease permits this kind of arrangement, it’s perfectly legal in the state of Louisiana. For clarity, if this is supported by the roommates, then the ability to sublet space in the property should be established as part of the roommate agreement.
Closing the Document
Before the document is signed, it’s also a good idea to establish some “closing out” procedures that firmly state the practices of ending the tenancy for all roommates. This will cover final cleaning and repairs so that the final process of making the unit vacant is easy and simple. After this, several spaces should be provided for current and add-on roommates. These will allow for each roommate to sign and print their name and finally date the document.