The Virginia roommate agreement (“room rental agreement”) is a binding legal document that establishes the responsibilities of each co-tenant in a shared living space. This contract must be signed by all tenants inhabiting the rental and outlines financial responsibilities as well as other terms and conditions.
The most important parts of a roommate agreement are the house rules. These rules should state very clearly any responsibility for cleaning, maintenance, noise restrictions, guest limits, smoking/non-smoking, pet policy, how the payment of shared utilities is calculated, use of common areas, and anything that might cause a disagreement or an argument.
The more detailed the house rules are made and explained to a new roommate, the more likely you are to have a decent relationship. Choose roommates very carefully because it is difficult to get rid of a bad one.
What to Include in a Virginia Roommate Agreement
Here is a checklist of what to include in a roommate agreement:
- Names and Contact Information: Include the names and contact information for all the existing roommates, the new roommate, and the landlord for emergencies.
- Rent and Payment Terms: Show the rent for the new roommate, the day of month it is due, and how to pay it.
- Security Deposit: This is limited to two month’s rent for the entire rental unit and should be apportioned fairly.
- Space Rented: Describe the roommate’s space.
- Expense Sharing: If any expenses are shared, show how they will be allocated.
- Termination Date: Show the date that the agreement ends.
- House Rules: Include very detailed house rules.
- Signatures and Date: Have a place for all the roommates to sign and date the agreement.
Roommate’s Rights in Virginia
Under Virginia law, a person living in a rental unit falls into one of these categories:
- A Tenant: If their name and signature appears in the lease.
- An Authorized Occupant: This could be a family member or a roommate, who is not a signer on the lease.
- A Guest: Guests usually have a limit on their stay.
- A Unauthorized Occupant: Someone staying in the rental unit in violation of the lease.
A co-tenant has the most rights under the Virginia laws. An authorized occupant has the rights under the written roommate agreement. A guest has no rights. Having unauthorized occupants may cause an eviction.