Washington D.C. Room Rental Agreement

Last Updated: March 9, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

The Washington D.C. roommate agreement (“room rental agreement”) is a document that co-tenants in a shared residential situation might be expected to sign. This contract lays out the responsibilities of each co-tenant, including financial expectations, terms, and conditions.

If there are two or more individuals who occupy the same dwelling, but one or more are not included on the original lease agreement, the landlord may expect the individuals to sign a room rental agreement, or a roommate agreement form. This form provides basic liability coverage for the individual who is included on the lease provided by the landlord. In most cases, the form allows the individual who is not on the lease to agree to specific terms, such as what will be paid in relation to the security deposit, rent, and other utility payments.

This form, which is provided by the landlord, is similar to a sub-leasing agreement. It provides basic information for the additional individuals not included on the original lease. It is important to note that the room rental agreement is very different from a sub-letting agreement, and will not be looked upon with the same level of validity.

Writing a Room Rental Agreement Form in Washington D.C.

There are several important sections of the room rental agreement form that should be included to ensure that all parties understand the expectations set out in the initial agreement. Below are the sections that should be included:

  • Parties and Property: This section identifies the roommates who will be residing on the rental property.  The property’s address should also be included.
  • Lease: Include the date the original lease was signed and when the lease term ends. This section should also include the landlord’s name and the security deposit amount that was given.
  • Term: In this section, include the date the room rental agreement began and the date it will terminate.
  • Security Deposits: Typically, this is one of the most important parts of the room rental agreement form. This section details the expectations of the security deposit – how much the roommate has included for their portion of the security deposit and what the roommate will be liable for. Landlords and property managers may feel it necessary to include a disclaimer here explaining, specifically, what the roommate’s responsibilities will be – in most cases, it means damage to the area of which they are renting, as well as any damage to communal areas. The disclaimer may also include information such as who the roommate is liable for – for instance, guests and pets.
  • Rent and Utilities: The landlord details how much of the rent and utilities each roommate is responsible for. This can be broken down by dollar amount, or fractionally. Any utilities or fees should be included in this section, should the roommate be liable for them. Some landlords may also choose to include any fees associated with late payments in this section.
  • Violations: List how many repeated violations can occur before the other co-tenants terminate the room rental agreement.
  • Move Out: This guideline helps with the process for moving out of the unit. The section should include information on the terms of notice for termination as well as the process of a roommate moving out at the end of the leasing period.
  • House Rules: Many landlords may choose to include an optional section in the room rental agreement form that dictates any personal matters agreed upon by the roommates – such as the distribution of food, specific schedules/quiet hours agreed upon, cleaning, guests, etc. This section is typically included at the roommate’s request and is not considered a part of the legal roommate agreement form.
  • Signature and Dates: At the end of the document a signature section should be included. This section allows each of the roommates, as well as the landlord to acknowledge the agreement.

Roommate Help/Issues

There are several ways to mediate roommate conflicts – starting with the agreement written and expressed above is one of the best ways to attempt to mediate. However, as this document holds limited validity, it is important to note that tenants should be aware of the legal expectations behind their lease.