Room Rental Agreement

Last Updated: October 17, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

A roommate agreement is a contract between a tenant and a roommate who occupies a portion of a rental property while sharing its common (communal) areas.

Roommate Agreements by State

How Roommate Agreements Work

A roommate agreement is when a tenant makes an agreement to share their rental property with someone else. The roommate lives in the same residence and shares common areas. A roommate agreement outlines rules and obligations that these co-tenants must uphold.

A roommate agreement is not a lease or rental agreement. The original tenant remains the only party liable to the original landlord as far as all the terms of the original lease. The roommate agreement is only between the original tenant and the new roommate.

This makes roommate agreements harder to enforce in court than a regular lease. While the parties can consider any financial commitments legally binding, other aspects like house rules may not be legally binding. A roommate agreement primarily establishes the good faith expectations of all parties.

Advantages of a Roommate Agreement

These are some advantages of using a roommate agreement, as opposed to just an informal arrangement:

  • Sets clear house rules before a living situation begins.
  • Outlines divisions of living space.
  • Provides guidance on expectations for food, supplies, cleaning, quiet hours, and overnight guests.
  • Sets guidelines for sharing rent and other costs.
  • Establishes the intentions of all parties via a written document, providing better clarity in any situation where a court or mediator has to resolve a dispute.

How to Write a Roommate Agreement

These instructions provide a basic guide for filling out the provided sample roommate agreement.


1. Write the date the roommate agreement is executed.
2. Add the names of everyone who will be a roommate under the agreement.
3. Write the rental unit’s full address.

4. Include the lease’s start date.
5. Write the date the lease ends, along with the landlord’s full name.
6. Insert the amount of the security deposit.

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

8. Insert the security deposit amount.
9. Add the names of each roommate together with the amount each contributed toward the security deposit.
10. Check this box if the co-tenants will receive proportionate shares of any amount the landlord returns from the security deposit at the end of the lease.
11. Mark this box if the co-tenants agree that the security deposit is not demandable until the lease is terminated, except when a new co-tenant replaces another co-tenant before the end of the roommate agreement.
12. Check this box to allow deducting various reasonable costs from a co-tenant’s security deposit, when the security deposit is demanded before the end of the lease or roommate agreement.
13. Write any other relevant terms or information here.


14. Note the rent payment that is due every month. Include the due date.
15. Add the person or company who normally receives rent payments.
16. Mark this box if rent will be shared equally. State the proportionately divided amount.
17. Check this box if each tenant pays a different share of rent. Provide each co-tenant’s name and the amount they will pay per month.
18. List other relevant terms or information here.

19. Check this box if each roommate will share the cost of certain utilities. Note which utilities will be apportioned by this method.
20. Mark this box for utilities where the co-tenants will each pay a share proportionate to their actual use. Add the amount of days before due that the roommates will make the funds available.
21. Check this box to make a specific person responsible for timely utility payments.
22. Mark this box for any other relevant terms or information.

23. Indicate how many violations of the roommate agreement are permitted before other parties can unilaterally cancel the agreement.

24. Write how many days of advance notice a co-tenant must provide before leaving and ending their part in the agreement.

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 any food or supplies. Indicate the items to be shared.


27. Mark this box if the co-tenants agree to any cleaning chores that will be rotated on a weekly basis. (If this box isn’t checked, the original tenant is responsible for making sure the property stays clean, including common areas.)

28. Write how many overnight guests are allowed at one time.
29. Indicate how many consecutive nights any guest(s) are allowed to stay.
30. Write how many nights any one co-tenant can have overnight guests in any given month.

31. List other relevant terms and information here.

32. Specify which co-tenants get which bedrooms.

33. Indicate the chosen state whose law will govern the contract.

34. Insert the date of execution for the agreement.
35. Have each co-tenant sign and print their name.

36. Note the date of consent. Write out the landlord’s full name and address.
37. Write the lease date and the names of the tenants who signed the lease.
38. Add the property address of the rental unit.
39. Insert the date of execution for the Room Rental Agreement.
40. Add the co-tenants’ names. Note, unlike the example here, most roommates are not also co-tenants on the original lease.
41. Include the landlord’s printed name, signature and date of signature.

Violations of Roommate Agreement Rules

Dispute resolution is an important part of roommate agreements. Laying out rules and terms in the actual contract can decrease the chance of future conflict. These are some issues that might come up:

Unpaid Rent

Leases typically include a clause making all co-tenants “jointly and severally” responsible for rent. This means each person on the lease is individually responsible for up to the entire amount of rent. If one co-tenant doesn’t pay, the landlord can demand the entire amount from another co-tenant.

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.

Neglect of Chores and Cleanliness

Cleaning tasks and other chores are often distributed in a roommate agreement. It’s important to note responsibilities in a clear, unambiguous way that all co-tenants agree before signing a roommate agreement. Clear terms make the difference between a responsible and neglectful approach obvious.

Neglect of chores and general cleanliness can violate the terms of a roommate agreement. Repeated violations might lead to co-tenants terminating the agreement and demanding that the noncompliant co-tenant vacate the property.

Property Damage

Property damage can seriously complicate a roommate situation. This is because the tenant who signed the original lease is liable to the original landlord for all misconduct causing damage. A tenant who didn’t cause property damage often is still liable to the landlord for repairs.

In addition, if the damage violates the original lease, the landlord may have the option of terminating the tenancy for all co-tenants. It doesn’t matter that only one person may be responsible for the damage.

This means it’s critical for co-tenants under a roommate agreement promptly to identify, repair, and cover the cost of any property damage. It’s equally important for co-tenants to be proactive in addressing violations, and vacating the tenancy of a roommate who commits repeated violations.