Room Rental Agreement

Last Updated: June 3, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

A roommate agreement, otherwise known as a room rental agreement is a contract used between two or more tenants to sublet a rental property’s bedrooms while sharing its common (communal) areas.

Roommate Agreements by State

How Roommate Agreements Work

A roommate agreement is when more than one person (usually not related) live in the same dwelling unit and share common areas. Roommate agreements can be used between co-tenants in an apartment, house, dorm room, or any other type of shared living space. This agreement outlines rules and obligations that co-tenants must uphold.

Although most of the mandates in a roommate agreement are not legally binding, the financial responsibilities addressed in a roommate agreement can be. It is important to note that a lease or rental agreement isn’t the same contract as a roommate agreement, but they can overlap in some respects.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a lease/rental agreement and a roommate agreement.

  • Lease/Rental Agreement. A legally binding agreement that is signed with the landlord and tenants. It secures a tenancy for a certain amount of time and all tenants must abide by the rental/lease agreement or face termination. Not all co-tenants need to be added to lease or rental agreement, although it is common for each tenant that is financially responsible for the property’s rent and utilities to be listed on the agreement.
  • Roommate Agreement. An agreement signed in addition to the lease or rental agreement and is signed among roommates. All roommates should sign and review this supplementary agreement as it establishes rules and obligations between the co-tenants. Obligations and rules may include:
    • Rent. How co-tenants plan to divide the monthly obligations owed to the landlord.
    • Food and Utilities. How co-tenants plan to divide additional monthly expenses.
    • Cleaning/Chores. How co-tenants plan to keep the property tidy and clear of garbage.
    • Moving Out. Informs co-tenants of the notice period they must provide before they move out.
    • Overnight Guests. Set rules between co-tenants if overnight guests are allowed.

Benefits of Using a Roommate Agreement

There are many benefits to using a Roommate Agreement, let’s take a closer look:

  • Sets rules to avoid violations and non-compliance.
  • Outlines a division of the living space.
  • Provides guidance on house rules which can include food, supplies, cleaning, quiet hours, and overnight guests so there are fewer conflicts and disputes.
  • It can be used as a guideline of the financial obligations each roommate must uphold. This can include monthly rent, how much each roommate pays for each utility, and the individual contribution that was paid for a security deposit.
  • A written document that could be admissible in court.

How to Write a Roommate Agreement

Below are instructions on how to write a roommate agreement.

I. INTRODUCTION.
1. Insert the date the Roommate Agreement is executed.
2. Add the names of each roommate that will enter into this agreement.
3. Insert the rental unit’s full address.
II. LEASE.
4. Include the date the lease will begin.
5. Write the date the lease ends along with the landlord’s full name.
6. Insert the amount of the security deposit.

III. TERM.

7. Enter the date the roommate agreement begins and ends.

IV. SECURITY DEPOSIT.
8. Insert the security deposit amount.
9. Add the names of each roommate and provide the security deposit amount each tenant provided.
10. Check this box if the co-tenants will receive shares of the security deposit when the same is returned by the landlord upon the termination of the lease.
11. Mark this box if the co-tenants know that the security deposit is not demandable until the lease is terminated, except if a new co-tenant replaces another co-tenant who has opted to leave before the end of the term of the roommate lease agreement.
12. Check this box if a co-tenant’s security deposit share will be returned before the termination of the lease or the roommate lease agreement and that the unpaid share of the rent, repairs, cost of repair damage to furniture, or reasonable costs incurred in finding a new co-tenant can be deducted.
13. If there is other information, write it here.

 

V. RENT.

14. Insert the rent payment that is due every month. Include the date it is due each month.
15. Add the person or company to where rent payments should be made to.
16. Mark this box if rent will be shared equally. State the amount that each person owes.
17. Check this box if each tenant will be pay a different amount. Provide each co-tenant’s name and the amount they will pay per month.
18. List other information here.
VI. UTILITIES.

19. Check this box if each roommate will share the cost of the utilities and list the co-tenants’ names.
20. Mark this box if the co-tenants will pay their share of the utility cost. Insert the amount of days the payment needs to be made before it’s due.
21. Check this box if one person is responsible for getting the payments to the utility companies.
22. Mark this box if there is other information.
VII. VIOLATIONS OF THE AGREEMENT.
23. If a co-tenant is in violation of the lease, indicate how many instances of repeated violations they have before their agreement terminates.
VIII. LEAVING BEFORE THE CONTRACT ENDS.
24. Write how many days’ notice a co-tenant has if they want to leave and end their part of the agreement.
IX. HOUSE RULES.
25. Mark this box if the co-tenants will be responsible for their own food and supplies.
26. Check this box if the co-tenants will equally share the cost of food and supplies. Indicate the items that will be shared.
X. CLEANING.
27. Mark this box if the co-tenants agree to keep the dwelling unit and their bedrooms clean and in a sanitary condition. List any chores that will be rotated on a weekly basis. If you do not agree with this, do not mark this box.
XI. GUESTS.
28. Write how many overnight guests are allowed at one time.
29. Indicate how many consecutive nights the guest(s) are allowed to stay.
30. Write how many nights in any given month the overnight guests can stay.

XII. OTHER.
31. If there is other information to provide, list it here.

XII. BEDROOM.
32. Specify the co-tenant and their bedrooms. Write the name of each co-tenant and which room they will reside in.
XIV. GOVERNING LAW.
33. Indicate the state where this agreement is applicable by law.
XV. AUTHORIZATION.
34. Insert the date this agreement was executed by the co-tenants.
35. Add the signature and printed name of each co-tenant.
XVI. LANDLORD’S CONSENT TO ROOM RENTAL AGREEMENT.
36. Insert the date that this consent was made. Write out the landlord’s full name and address.
37. Write the lease date and co-tenants’ names.
38. Add the property address of the rental unit.
39. Insert the date that the Room Rental Agreement was entered into.
40. Add the co-tenants’ names.
41. Include the signature of the landlord, printed name and the date that it was signed.

Violations of Roommate Agreement Rules

A Roommate Agreement should include how to deal with disputes. Laying out the rules and terms in the contract will decrease the chance of future disputes. Let’s take a closer look at some issues that might come up:

Unpaid Rent

Landlords typically include a lease clause stating that all the co-tenants are “jointly and severally” responsible for paying rent. If one of the roommates does not pay their share of the rent, the other roommate(s) are held responsible.

The original lease agreement made with the landlord takes precedence over agreements made among roommates; however, the financial responsibilities outlined in a roommate agreement can be legally binding. A judge might enforce all of the financial agreements in a roommate agreement, including the rent and utility payments.

Uncleanliness and Not Upkeeping the Task of Chores

When signing a roommate agreement, cleaning tasks and other chores expectations should be clearly outlined. Any shared tasks for common areas (i.e., taking out the trash, cleaning the kitchen, etc.) should be reviewed and agreed upon by the co-tenants. If a co-tenant does not uphold their responsibilities, they can be in non-compliance with the Roommate Agreement. If there are repeated violations, the co-tenants can terminate the Roommate Agreement and ask the roommate to vacate the dwelling unit.

Damage to the Property

The Roommate Agreement should outline how many repeated violations a roommate can commit before their agreement shall terminate. It’s important to note that landlords can legally hold all the roommates responsible under the original lease agreement for the negative actions of one roommate.

A landlord can terminate tenancy for all roommates if there is a legal reason and proper notice is given. A landlord can choose if they want to hold all tenants equally liable for lease violations or if they only want to penalize the roommate in violation. Ultimately, it is up to the landlord and how they want to handle the situation.