Roommate Agreements for Tenants

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on July 6, 2011 under Landlord Paperwork and Forms, Landlord Tips, Lease and Rental Agreements | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant background checkMost landlords we know require each person over 18 who lives in a rental unit to be on the lease. Most require each roommate to fill out a lease application, and undergo tenant background and credit checks. And that’s the extent of involvement for most landlords we know.

Roommates don’t always work out, which can cause headaches for landlords. If you’ve experienced your share of roommate drama, you can help educate your tenants to be better roommates—which in turn can make them better tenants for you.

Why not provide all of your tenants with a Roommate Agreement? Here’s what it can do for you:

  • Facilitate better tenant relationships
  • Minimize roommate arguments
  • Increase awareness about legal responsibilities

While the agreement will not alter the terms of the lease each tenant is subject to, it serves to clarify some of the issues roommates often have with each other. Be sure that the agreement states that the roommates are jointly and severally liable for all terms of the lease/rental agreement. And of course, have a legal professional review it before you hand it over to your tenants.

What to Include in a Roommate Agreement

  • Address of rental unit and lease beginning and ending dates.
  • Name of each roommate, share of rent and security deposit each is responsible for, and which bedroom is his or hers.
  • Security deposit rules: an agreement that whichever roommate is clearly responsible for damages will pay any applicable fees in full. All roommates agree to share equally in the cost of other fees and damages.
  • Utilities: Determine in whose name the utilities (electricity, water, gas, cable, phone) will be and how the roommates will split and pay the bills.
  • Subletting: State whether subletting is or is not allowed under the terms of the lease. If so, specify guidelines.
  • Guests: Specify that each roommate is responsible for guest behavior, determine where each guest may stay, and the consequences when guests cause trouble or any damages. Place a limit on the number of days a guest may stay, according to the terms of the lease and the roommates’ comfort level. Specify whether guests may smoke and who is responsible for cleaning up after them.
  • Quiet hours: state when roommates agree to observe quiet hours for sleep, study, etc.
  • Pets: Guidelines for pet owners, according to the terms of the lease.
  • Smoking: If the lease allows smoking, this section can spell out whether or not it is allowed by the roommates, and if so, where.
  • General household rules: State who is responsible for trash and recycling, where to park vehicles and bicycles, guidelines for cleaning, sharing food, etc.

All roommates should sign and date the roommate agreement. While these guidelines may seem obvious, a formal agreement where all terms are spelled out and agreed to in the beginning can avoid many typical roommate problems. Good roommates make better tenants, and accepting the responsibilities that go along with living together can make the situation much more pleasant for everyone involved!

Add A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.