The Ins and Outs of a Roommate Agreement

Standardized Legal Documents The Ins and Outs of a Roommate Agreement

The Benefits of a Roommate Agreement

Whether you share your dorm room, house, or apartment, having a roommate agreement can be a lifesaver! You don’t want to lose your best friend, who happens to be your roommate, over some unfortunate misunderstanding. Drafting a roommate agreement can help you avoid potential misunderstandings. 

If you are not into legal intricacies and shy away from making a legal document or contract, fear not because we are here to help you! Keep on reading and find out everything there is about roommate agreements.

What Is a Roommate Agreement?

A roommate agreement is a contract signed by the tenants of a shared rental unit. It regulates the most important aspects of living together, such as how you split the bills, use the common areas, share items, and many other issues. It also goes by the name of:

  • Roommate Contract
  • Housemate Agreement
  • Roommate Living Agreement
  • Contract Between Roommates

Every roommate agreement is different, depending on the terms you want to specify and define. There are several elements you should always include in your roommate agreement:

  1. Names of the tenants
  2. The property address
  3. The amount each tenant pays
  4. The date the lease starts and stops
  5. Who will pay the utility bills
  6. Which bedroom each tenant occupies
  7. Who will give the security deposit (a sum of money the tenants pay to the landlord to guarantee that they will fulfill the obligations under the lease agreement)
  8. Parking policy
  9. Pet policy
  10. Quiet hours
  11. Substance policy
  12. Overnight guests rules
  13. Party rules
  14. What happens if a tenant leaves the place earlier than stated in the agreement
  15. When should a roommate move out
  16. How to resolve disputes
  17. Signatures of all the tenants

Informal agreements between roommates are frequent, but people easily forget or misinterpret the rules, so making a written agreement makes sense. The point is to anticipate potential issues and prepare for them should they appear.

How Is a Roommate Agreement Different From a Lease Agreement?

These two agreements are often confused. Even though they may overlap to some extent, roommate agreements are different from lease agreements. 

A lease agreement is a legal contract between the landlord and one or more tenants living in the rental unit. It regulates the terms of renting the property. A roommate agreement is a contract between the tenants themselves. The landlord is not involved in a roommate agreement. Roommate agreements are used to manage the everyday duties and responsibilities of the tenants.

The tenants can sign both a lease agreement and a roommate agreement. Anyone named on a property’s lease is equally responsible for paying the rent.

Are Roommate Agreements Legally Binding?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Some parts of a roommate agreement are legally binding, for example, financial arrangements. If your roommate is not paying the bills or the rent, and you do have a roommate agreement, you can easily take legal action and get your justice.

Other aspects of a roommate agreement, such as household duties, taking the trash out, or washing the dishes, cannot be subject to lawsuits. You may define those duties in your roommate agreement for practical purposes.

The best way to resolve the dispute between you and your roommate is through dialogue. If you are planning on going to court, think about the expenses associated with it and whether you can win the case or not. No judge will waste his time deciding who was supposed to clean the kitchen or take out the garbage!

What Happens if a Roommate Moves Out?

All tenants who signed a lease agreement are responsible for paying the rent. If one roommate leaves, you and the other remaining parties should cover the remaining part of the rent. The amount you agreed on in the lease refers to the entire rental unit and is usually not dependent on the number of occupants.

What you can do is ask the landlord to approve a sublease. A sublease means you can try to find another person to live with you and share the rent and include that person in the original lease agreement. If everything goes well, and you find a new roommate, it might be a good idea to make a new roommate agreement.

What Can DoNotPay Do?

Making agreements and drafting contracts is not something everyone looks forward to. If you dread it too, we’ve got some encouraging news! DoNotPay is an AI-powered robot lawyer proficient in drawing up legal documents in the blink of an eye. Your part of the job is to:

  1. Open DoNotPay in a web browser
  2. Input the name of the document that you want to draft
  3. Answer the chatbot’s questions 
  4. DoNotPay will generate the document for you instantly

The document needs to be signed or notarized to become official.

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