Adding A Roommate To a Lease Or Rental Agreement

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on September 28, 2006 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Every landlord must ensure that his / her lease or rental agreement contains a clause stating if a tenant plans on getting a roommate, he / she has to get prior approval, before allowing anyone to move in.

Whether, a tenant would like a current flame to move in with them, or is simply replacing a roommate who has moved on, they must check it with you. Even though, you may not mind another person on the premises, it is always reasonable to play it safe by insisting the new roommate becomes a co-tenant, and takes on the same rights and responsibilities as your existing tenant, they are thinking of sharing your rental premises with.

Obviously, a landlord needs to know, whether the new roommate is financially stable and is a law-abiding citizen. You must be satisfied with the intended co-tenant’s stellar qualifications, before acceding to the request for a roommate. Consider the following before giving the go-ahead:

  1. Will adding a roommate exceed the state occupancy limit? Landlords are entitled to set reasonable limits on the number of occupants per rental unit. As a general rule, two persons per bedroom is permissible, though some localities, such as, New York City allow more.
  2. Will the new roommate meet a landlord’s good-tenant criteria? Like any other prospective tenants, you must subject the proposed new tenant to undergo a thorough screening process, checking credit, employment, rental history, and references, even though your existing tenant has already provided them with a glowing reference.

Unless, you are on fairly close personal terms with your tenant, request a written note if an existing tenant wishes to add a roommate. This gives you an un-pressured opportunity to think about it. If, your rental property is big enough for another tenant, and you are not averse to adding another tenant, this might be a good opportunity to raise the rent considering with an extra body on the premises, there will be more wear ‘n tear of property, as well as, an increase in utility use.

Once everything has been discussed and settled, don’t forget to add an amendment to the existing lease or rental agreement, adding details of the new tenant and getting their signature on the lease, as well.

However, to avoid expensive litigation, whether you go in for a written or oral agreement, screen prospective tenants and employees thoroughly, weeding out undesirable elements with past evictions or criminal pasts. Visit for tenant screening and background check services.

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