The Massachusetts roommate agreement (“room rental agreement”) is a contract shared by multiple tenants in a shared living situation. This document outlines each tenants’ financial responsibilities, as well as detailed terms and conditions associated with the shared space. Each co-tenant must sign the contract.
Sometimes, rent becomes such a burden that a tenant will opt to take on additional renters. With this kind of setup, the additional renters sign a room rental agreement that’s an arrangement where everything, including the cost of rent and utilities, is split as fairly as possible. This form provides protections for each roommate and can serve as a legally-binding contract, which is why it needs to be fairly comprehensive.
What to Include in a Massachusetts Roommate Agreement
- The date of the signing of the agreement. This section should also include the date of the beginning as well as the date of the ending of the lease.
- The names of all of the involved parties should be included. This means that at least first and last names will need to be in this section. A middle initial or a full middle name is preferred.
- The address of the unit. This can entail identifying information like side streets and unit numbers.
- Each roommate’s rental contribution should be included. In addition, information about any payment processes and portion breakdowns should be included.
- The policies surrounding the security deposit will need to be recorded. This includes how long the landlord will have to return the deposits to each roommate, and how much each roommate pays.
- Also, include utility payment breakdowns and who pays which bill.
- Finally, include a signature section. In addition, there should be a space for roommates to print their name and sign the document.
Roommate’s Rights in Massachusetts
While roommates in Massachusetts aren’t as protected as the original tenant, signing a roommate agreement does provide its own protections. For example, a roommate that has signed an agreement like this has the right to eviction proceedings similar to those that are allowed for primary tenants. Also, a roommate has the right to reasonable repairs and to live in a safe environment. The primary tenant is deemed the master tenant in Massachusetts, and all parties must abide by laws forbidding discrimination when selecting and housing roommates. Also, all roommates have the right to take legal action against a landlord, even if they aren’t the primary tenant.
This type of rental agreement is designed to make all of the terms of the lease easier to manage, and it will also make this agreement legal in the eyes of the court. If anything happens during the time that is spent together as roommates, then the terms that are in the document will need to be upheld. The document can also address things like a cleaning schedule, a cooking schedule, and household repairs.
Massachusetts Room Rental Agreement Requirements
When there is a room rental agreement between two parties, they will both have to provide a few bits of information for the other person so that they know all of the pertinent aspects of the rental. This may not be something that is done with every agreement, but it will help both of the tenants be aware of the terms of the arrangement before the new tenant moves in.
A Security Deposit
This is something that is often required when a lease is first signed, but if the new tenant is moving in between lease signings, then they may not be required to provide part of the security deposit. This will most likely be collected when a new tenant moves it to replace the security deposit of the tenant that just vacated. In the state of Massachusetts, this amount should not be larger than the sum of a single month’s rent. This means that if the rent is split, then the security deposit should be divided as well. With any type of room rental agreement, the exact amount that each roommate pays should be itemized in this document so they can get it back when they vacate.
A Pet Deposit
If the landlord allows pets on the premises, and the new tenant has a pet that is going to move in with them, they are going to have to follow the rules that have been set about owning pets. Make sure that any rules are stated in this section of the document so that the new tenant knows them, even if they do not currently have a pet. Sometimes a landlord will require pet owners to pay a small fee for having pets in the home, so make sure to mention it here as well as any breed or number restrictions when it comes to pets.
With this type of agreement, it is essential that both parties provide their information so that they are easy to contact, but the original tenant will also need to provide the information for the landlord and the management company so that they can be reached in the event of an emergency. If there are other roommates that are residing in the unit, then they should also provide their name and phone number for the new tenant.
Notices and Disclosures
When a landlord rents out their property in the state of Massachusetts, there are going to be a few disclosures that they need to give the new tenant. This means that the same disclosures that are provided at the beginning of the agreement will need to be shared with the person who signs the room rental agreement as well. This can include a flood disclosure, a mold disclosure, a fire insurance disclosure, and a lead-based paint disclosure. Any information that the landlord passed to the original tenant should be copied and passed along to the new tenant so that they have the same information available to them.
How to Write a Massachusetts Room Rental Agreement
With a room rental agreement, there is going to be specific information that is in the main lease that will also need to be in this agreement. Some of the information that should in any new agreement will include:
State the Date of the Agreement
At the top of the document, the first thing that should be seen is the date that the arrangement will start and the date that it will end if the lease terminates. This section should also include the dates of the original residential lease agreement as well as the options that the new tenant will have to continue living in the unit when the lease terms are over. Will they be able to simply renew the agreement, or will they need to get put on the new lease?
Name the Parties
After the dates have been defined, the next section will be dedicated to introducing the parties that are taking part in the agreement. The full name of the original tenant, as well as the names of any co-tenants that are already living in the unit, will need to be included. There should be a line for the new tenant’s name as well as a few spaces for additional tenants that may be moving into the unit in the future. Next to each of the names on the document, there should also be a space where a phone number for them can be placed to reach them.
Identify the Property
Next, the location of the piece of property that is being rented is going to need to be identified. This means that any cross streets or identifying features of the unit will need to be placed in this section as well as the full mailing address of the unit. Make sure that the unit number, the street number, the county, the city, and the zip code are all included in this section.
State the Rental Terms
The next section is where the specific terms of the rental should be written down and agreed upon. This will include the amount that each person pays each month as well as how the expenses will be divided between the parties. Make sure to mention how the rent must be paid and the date that it is due each month. If there is a late fee that will be added to the rent when it is paid past a specific day, make sure that it is listed in this section as well. Typically, when a tenant is late paying their portion of the rent, they will be responsible for the late fee that accumulates.
Don’t forget to mention the security deposit to the new tenant, especially if they are going to be responsible for paying a portion of it. In this state, the landlord cannot charge more than a month’s worth of rent for a security deposit, so the way that the rent is split between the tenants is going to be similar to the way the security deposit is divided. Make sure to write who paid what portion in the document so that everyone knows precisely what portion they will receive back when they vacate if it is returned.
When it comes to expenses, there are often a few that will need to be addressed as well. This will include the utilities, which should be split evenly amongst the tenants. This can also include things like a parking fee that the landlord adds on to the rent or a pet fee that needs to be paid once a month. These additional expenses typically will not be used by everyone, so the individuals with a car will pay their share of the fee, and the roommates with a pet will be responsible for paying the pet fee.
When people live together, more than the expenses of the household are likely to be shared amongst them. The cleaning of the unit will need to be done by all of the tenants, so having a schedule that can be followed could be beneficial to the roommate relationship. Also, will the roommates who live in the unit be sharing food? Since the kitchen is a shared space, it is vital to take note of how the cooking will be done in the unit, and whether eating each other’s food is permitted.
The last section that should be seen in the document is the section where all of the roommates sign the agreement and date it. Once this section is complete, it will be a legally binding arrangement that must be followed. Each person will be responsible for printing their names on the document as well. Sometimes, a landlord in the state of Massachusetts will require the original tenant to get their consent to take part in a room rental agreement, so if this is required for this unit, leave space for the landlord to sign and date the document as well.