Free Room Rental Agreement Template

A Room Rental Agreement  is a document used when two or more people are moving into a shared space and would like to outline the rights and responsibilities of each person. While a lease agreement covers the rights and responsibilities of the tenants in relation to the landlord, it often does not cover the relationships between the roommates themselves. For that reason, a Roommate Agreement is a great idea whenever people decide to live together.

Who Are The Parties in a Roommate Agreement? All members of a single household are the parties of this type of agreement. Landlords are not a party in the agreement unless they reside in the home with the other cotenants.

Roommate agreements can be used between cotenants in an apartment, house, dorm room or any other type of shared living space. A roommate agreement is also referred to as a:

  • Room Rental Agreement
  • Joint Lease
  • Roommate Contract

For anyone looking to share a rental property with one or more roommates, they should consider discussing and documenting their shared living arrangement plans prior to moving in together. Sharing a rental property can inherently save you money on rent and utilities. And, as appealing as that may sound, it is incredibly important to select roommate(s) wisely. Do not assume that you and your roommates are on the same page with house rules or the division of rent, utilities, and responsibilities. Even though you may get along well with a person, you might not make compatible roommates, especially if you don’t share the same standards or priorities. The safest way to protect you and the relationship with your fellow roommate(s) is to determine house rules or other agreed to responsibilities prior to moving in. By documenting these agreed-upon house rules and division of rent prior to moving in may reduce the chance of future confusion about these rules later on. Additionally, if a cotenant conflict leads to court, a roommate rental agreement will provide proof of the agreed-upon rules to the judge.

A simple room rental agreement will identify the following elements:

  • Date: the dates the room rental agreement begins and ends.
  • Tenants: the contact information and identifying details of each tenant who is a party to the agreement. The tenant leasing the premises is commonly referred to as the “Principal Tenant.”
  • Premises: the address of the premises being leased.
  • Rent: the amount of rent and security deposit to be paid by each tenant.
  • Obligations and duties: each tenant’s basic duties, chores, and obligations under the lease.
  • Utilities: how the utilities will be divided. Specifically, the name of the tenant or tenant’s who will have their names on various utility bills, and how they’ll be paying it.
  • Parking: whether tenants are allowed to park on the premises, and if so, how many vehicles and parking spots are allotted to each.
  • Damages: each tenant’s responsibility for damaged caused by them or their guests, and how damage costs will be shared when the source of the damage cannot be reasonably traced back to a particular tenant.
  • Renter’s insurance: whether the tenants will purchase renters’ insurance.
  • Smoking and alcohol use: tenant responsibility for maintaining reasonable standards of behavior and noise when consuming alcohol, designated smoking areas, and any alcohol or tobacco prohibitions.
  • Various permissions: for example, whether pets or guests are allowed.

Is a Roommate Agreement legally binding?

Some aspects of a Roommate Agreement, such as the division of household duties, are unlikely to be enforced in court. However, when it comes to financial arrangements, it may be possible to take legal action against a roommate. For example, if a roommate fails to pay their share of the rent or refuses to cover costs related to damage they caused, you may be able to use the Roommate Agreement to show that your roommate previously agreed to these terms in your contract.

As well, it is important to consider the expenses associated with going to court (such as paying filing fees or for a legal representative) when determining whether you should take action against a roommate. That said, creating a roommate contract often helps roommates avoid court disputes by clearly outlining what is expected of everyone in the household.

Put Your Roommate Agreement in Writing

Even though most of the mandates in a roommate agreement are not legally binding, the contract can encourage cotenants to take their responsibilities seriously. The financial responsibilities addressed in a roommate agreement can be legally binding. A judge might enforce all of the financial agreements included in the document, such as the rent and utility payments. Additionally, it may help roommates avoid misinterpretations derived from oral agreements.

The Importance Of A Roommate Agreement. A roommate agreement is a written document of the duties and responsibilities of each tenant residing in the rental. It provides each roommate with a clear understanding of their duties each month, such as when and how much they agreed to pay for rent and utilities. Additionally, the document defines their obligations as a cotenant, such as keeping the noise down during specific hours or cleaning up after themselves. If a dispute between you and a cotenant occurs, the roommate agreement will serve as proof of the agreements each of you made to perform specific duties.

Below are some of the most common situations where you might want to use a room rental agreement:

  • The party you are renting to has a boyfriend or girlfriend: If you are wary of your roommate or other tenants having their significant others over 24/7, a room rental agreement can help set boundaries for when they are, and are not, allowed. After all, having someone not covered under the lease over all the time can result in increased electricity and other utility bills, or other precarious situations.
  • Your roommate has guests constantly staying over: A room rental agreement is important for keeping your place private, quiet, and undisturbed, allowing you to outline days of the week when roommates can’t throw parties, cause excessive noise, or have uninvited guests.
  • You want to divvy up household expenses and other costs: No one wants to end up being the only roommate washing dishes or paying for cleaning supplies, while the other sits back and does nothing. Executing a room rental agreement allows parties to determine how household and other important costs are divided.
  • You want to provide for respective property maintenance duties: During winter months, someone will likely have to shovel the driveway, decks, and other community areas. And, in summer, someone will likely have to mow the grass and attend to other general lawn-care duties. The burden for basic maintenance duties shouldn’t fall solely on one party, so make sure to provide for these situations in your agreement.
  • You want to establish quiet hours: Noise complaints are one of the most common causes of concern for roommates and potential tenants. Establishing quiet hours is important for not only a tenant’s comfortability but their sanity as well.

What Happens If The Agreement Is Breached?

Remember, roommate agreements are not leases or rental agreements. Rent, lease terms, pet rules, policies, and other clauses are set by the landlord in the original lease or rental agreement. The original agreement with the landlord takes precedence over any other agreements made between cotenants. When two or more people sign the same lease or rental agreement, they are cotenants and share the same legal responsibilities to the landlord. However, if one of the cotenants stops paying rent, the entire tenancy can be affected.

  • When one roommate doesn’t pay rent. Roommates can split the rent whatever way they want however any rent agreement made between roommates is not binding to the landlord. If a roommate does not pay their share of the rent, the other roommates (listed on the lease) are still responsible for paying the entire amount. As mentioned earlier, the original agreement made with the landlord takes precedence over any agreements made among roommates. Landlords typically include a lease clause stating that all of the cotenants are “jointly and severally” responsible for paying rent and following the terms of the lease agreement. If one of the roommates does not pay their share of the rent, the other roommate(s) still need to pay the rent in full.
  • When one roommate causes damages. Landlords can legally hold all of the roommates responsible for the negative actions of one roommate. They can also terminate the entire tenancy as long as they follow their state’s notice requirements.

Ultimately, it is up to your landlord and how they want to handle the situation—whether all tenants are equally liable for lease violations or if they only want to penalize the roommate in violation.

Written roommate agreements are not required by law, however, they can be very helpful in establishing house rules by ensuring that you and your roommate have a solid understanding of the responsibilities. Additionally, if a dispute between you and a cotenant occurs, the roommate agreement will serve as proof of the agreements each of you made to perform specific duties.

Room Rental Agreement FAQs

Does a room rental agreement cover multiple tenants?

Yes. A room rental agreement can cover multiple tenants. Be sure to include each tenant’s identifying information, along with the specified dates of their lease, as some tenants and roommates may differ.

Can I execute a week-to-week or month-to-month room rental agreement?

Room rental agreements can be executed week-to-week or month-to-month. Make sure when creating your document, you specify the correct dates of the lease.

How is a room rental agreement different from a roommate agreement?

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between a room rental agreement and a roommate agreement. However, there are several notable differences you should acquaint yourself with.

When entering into a housing arrangement, make sure you are aware of the differences between the two, otherwise, you could open yourself and fellow tenants up to vague and undefined expectations and obligations.

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These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

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