Virginia Roommate Agreement

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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.