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Room Rental Agreement basics

Room Rental Agreements are documents that can be used to add a roommate, to allow someone to sublet your room while you are away, or to permit someone to finish the term of your lease in a shared apartment.

How do you write a rental agreement for a room?

Rocket Lawyer's Room Rental Agreement can be made for free and it includes a basic lease agreement and an inspection checklist. When you share this document with someone that you are subletting to or a new roommate, you'll want to also include a copy of the original lease, so that they have a copy of the original agreement and terms therein. If the building where the room is located was built or altered before 1978, you'll likely need to include the lead-paint disclosures that were included with the original lease.

Do lodgers need a tenancy agreement?

Lodgers may not necessarily need an agreement in place, but it is best to have a written lease to refer back to in case of disagreement, such as non-payment of rent, etc.

A Room Rental Agreement is used if a person with a "Prime Lease" (an original Lease Agreement) wants to allow another person to live in the leased property. It can also be used if the original lease holder needs to move out and sublet the entire unit (commonly referred to as "taking over a lease.") The sublease agreement binds the new renter to everything included in the first Lease Agreement. In most cases, the new tenant will be required to financially qualify and agree to a credit check.

Is renting a room illegal?

In almost every case, you will need your landlord's permission to allow someone else to live in a property. A good place to start is by reading through your current lease agreement to see if there is information about the process required to add a roommate to the lease. If you can't find a copy of your lease, contact your landlord and ask. It's generally a good idea to stay on positive terms with your property manager and follow all of the proper procedures. If you move someone in without your landlord's approval, it could cause legal issues. Even if your lease does not directly address whether you can sublease, you should still ask and get approval from your property manager first. If you are a landlord and want to provide written permission to your tenant to sublease, you can use our Consent to Sublease document.

What are the rules of renting a room?

As a subtenant, because you didn't sign the original Lease Agreement, in most instances you'll have to contact the original lease holder with any issues you may have about rent or repairs. Unless you have made other arrangements, you will pay your rent to the leaseholder and they will then pay the rent to the landlord. However, in some cases you can make an agreement with the property manager to be treated as if you were the Prime Lease holder, and pay rent directly to the landlord or property manager.

If you have questions or concerns related to your subletting arrangement, ask a lawyer.

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