Getting a roommate can be an exciting experience, especially if it is someone you know, say an old friend. However, living with another person – even one you know – can be challenging because you have to share the same space regardless of whether or not you agree on everything, and you won’t.
Plus, your landlord won’t care that you and your roommate don’t support the same football team. They only want their rent. It is up to you and your new roommate to make agreements about how you will live together. You can do this through a Roommate Agreement Template, as you will see below.
What Is a Roommate Agreement?
A roommate agreement is a contract created and signed by two or more people living in the same rental unit. It usually highlights several contingencies, including the house rules, chores, policies on pets, etc., but only the financial agreement is considered legally binding. Generally, this document can be prepared by roommates living in any shared living space, including a college dorm, apartment, or house.
What Is a Roommate Agreement Template?
A roommate agreement template is a fillable document used to record a contract between two or more people that wish to live in the same space. You can use it to fill out the rules, rent payment terms, etc.
Roommate Agreement Templates & Examples
Why Do You Need a Roommate Agreement?
From experience, you probably know that it is impossible for two people to exist in the same space without a few arguments here and there. You and your roommate will not always agree on everything, and a roommate agreement acts as a guide for solving or avoiding disagreements. It tells everyone when they should pay their share of the rent, what chores they should do and when, and so forth.
Things to Consider Before Making a Roommate Agreement
Without understanding why you are creating a roommate agreement, there is no way it can benefit either you or your roommate. So, before we look at how to draft one, here is what you should know:
1. Lease Vs. Roommate Contract
A roommate contract is not a lease in that a lease is a legal agreement between you and your landlord, while a roommate agreement is one between you and your roommate. Your landlord doesn’t care about your roommate agreement and will not involve themselves in enforcing it unless either of you breaches the terms of the lease agreement.
A roommate agreement will only work if both you and your roommate are willing to commit to the terms in good faith. So you should have a discussion before you start drafting.
Essential Elements of a Roommate Agreement
One roommate agreement will vary from the next one, depending on what the roommates would like included. Nonetheless, most documents contain the following elements:
- Expense Breakdown: This section describes how the roommates will split the groceries, utilities, security deposit, and rent expenses.
- Shared Rooms: This part defines which rooms are private and which ones can be accessed by both roommates at will.
- Chores: Here, you and your roommate share chores for the shared areas.
- Guests: You describe the situations where a roommate will need approval from the other members before having guests over or throwing a party.
- Quiet Hours: This section covers study and rest times.
- Pets: If your landlord allows pets, you can define the rules for, say, cleaning after the pet.
- Sharing Items: You can also set rules for sharing or borrowing personal items.
- Move-Out: Describe what happens when a roommate moves out before the lease is up.
- Any other house rules, such as parking space, ideal temperature, new furniture, etc.
How to Write a Roommate Agreement
- Step 1: Identify the parties by their full legal names (landlord, current tenant, new roommate) and supply the property address and current date.
- Step 2: Discuss the Security Deposit if your roommate is required to contribute to it.
- Step 3: Supply the rent amount each roommate must contribute to the total rent, the payment date, and the name of the payment recipient.
- Step 4: Discuss utility payments and assign a portion of the payment to each roommate.
- Step 5: Iron out other issues such as guest policy, cleaning, pets, etc. Set this information in a different document, then sign and attach it to the agreement.
- Step 6: Identify the governing law by stating the state where the property is located. This is the jurisdiction whose laws will regulate the terms of the agreement.
- Step 7: Authorize the document by having both roommates sign and date it. You can have the agreement notarized for additional verification.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you add the roommate to the lease?
The answer will depend on the current lease terms. If the landlord has allowed you to sublet the property, you can add your roommate to the lease.
How to find a good roommate?
The best place to start is by asking friends and family for recommendations. If doing that doesn’t turn up any leads, you can use social media for advertising or posting a listing on a roommate-finding website.
How do I evict a roommate?
Your best bet is to involve your landlord, who has the power to initiate legal proceedings.
Are roommate agreements legally binding?
It depends on the jurisdiction, but it can be binding if it is written, signed, and dated by both parties.
What happens if someone breaks a roommate agreement?
Again, it will depend on whether the agreement is legally binding in your state. If it is, you might be able to initiate eviction proceedings against your roommate if you want them to move out.
Can a roommate prevent you from having guests?
Yes, if they are drawing from a provision in a legally binding roommate agreement.
Should a roommate contract be notarized?
It is not a legal requirement, and the contract will be legally binding without notarization as long as it is otherwise legally sufficient. Nonetheless, notarization adds credibility and is a good idea.
Can I call the cops on my roommate?
If the situation is extreme and might escalate to violence, you can and should call the police. This is also true if your roommate is breaking the law or threatening your safety.
Is renting without a contract illegal?
Not having a written lease does not make renting illegal because it does not affect the landlord or tenant’s statutory legal rights whatsoever. A verbal agreement, although risky, is perfectly fine.
By using a Roommate Agreement Template, you can highlight the rules of living in a shared space with a roommate. Because the agreement will cover everything from rent and utilities to shared spaces and chores, you can be sure that this document will help make your lives all the more pleasant.