A roommate agreement is a legal document used to create a binding contract between people who are collectively renting a property. This document will serve to protect these individuals in the event of a dispute by having all the expectations clearly outlined in a legal contract. This agreement should be put in place before the individuals move in together.
Different aspects of the rental agreement should be discussed, including how the monthly rent will be split and paid between the roommates. The contract should also outline who is responsible for various expenses such as utilities, maintenance, and upkeep. If this is clearly outlined, legal disputes can be avoided, since all parties involved with know their obligations. All parties should sign and date the form to demonstrate their understanding and agreement.
A roommate agreement is different from a lease agreement because a lease agreement is an agreement between tenants and a landlord, while a roommate agreement is between the people who choose to live together.
A roommate agreement may discuss things such as rent and utilities, but will also often include other details such as who is responsible for cleaning and how they plan to use the shared spaces.
You should have a roommate contract if:
This agreement will provide you with an opportunity to discuss individual financial responsibilities, house rules, and how to resolve any disputes.
Financial - An important part of the roommate agreement is the agreement regarding any financial obligations. The roommate agreement can cover rent, security deposit, and utilities.
Non Financial - A roommate agreement may also cover acceptable roommate behavior. If you have any special concerns about health, allergies, or use of personal property, those are good things to include in the agreement.
You can take a look at a sample roommate agreement online to get an idea of what the final product should look like.
There are no laws that specify what must be put into a roommate agreement. The parties may be subject to the laws of their individual state regarding the lease and general contract principles.
Some aspects of the roommate agreement, such as cleaning duties, are unlikely to be enforced in court. However, a court will generally uphold any financial agreement regarding rent due, damages caused, or early termination of a lease.