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Roommate Agreement Basics

If you're about to get a new roommate, a Roommate Agreement can help keep everything civil. There's a lot to sort out when you're moving in with someone else: who's getting the master bedroom, who's cleaning what, and what is each person's share of rent - and whose job is it to turn in? While some of these issues are more important than others it's typically a good idea to have everything, big and small, resolved beforehand. A Roommate Agreement helps make living with others easier.

Use the Roommate Agreement document if:

  • You're moving in with a roommate.
  • You've found a new roommate for your home or apartment.

Having a roommate is a great way to save money, and a Roommate Agreement can be a good way to ensure it all goes smoothly. Figuring out all the details ahead of time can help you avoid future problems - and having the agreement in writing can help document everything you discussed in case of any disagreements later on. Laying out the groundwork can be a smart idea; after all, no one wants to be surprised by their rent payment or any unexpected restrictions or obligations. It doesn't matter if you're moving in with your best friend or a total stranger, penning a Roommate Agreement is a great start to a long lasting arrangement.

Other names for this document: Roommate Agreement Form, Roommate Contract

What Can Be Included In a Roommate Agreement?
A roommate agreement can potentially cover anything, but to give you some ideas here a few common additions:

• Rent splitting and how rent is to be paid: no one wants to quibble with their roommate every month over who owes what percent of rent. Documenting it ahead of time can help avoid issues down the road.

• Utilities: just like rent, it can be a good idea to document who is responsible for what utilities, should you be splitting them with your roommate.

• Overnight guests: most people probably won't have any issues with an extra guest now and then, but every night might be pushing it. Be sure to document your boundaries.

• Smoking and alcohol: if these are potential issues be sure to put it out in the open as early as you can.

• Parking: depending on where you live this might not be an important issue, but if there's a limited amount of parking in your building setting rules can help avoid later animosity.

• Groceries: sharing the cost of food can be important—as is setting rules for sharing what's in the fridge.

• Chores: who does dishes, who sweeps, and who cleans the bathroom can all be detailed in a roommate agreement.

• Providing notice of a move: legally, if one roommate leaves the other is left holding the bill for rent. Some of the inconvenience of this can be alleviated by requiring some notice before one roommate moves, giving the remaining party enough time to find a replacement.

How Can Disputes Between Roommates Be Handled Legally?
Outside of extreme circumstances there really aren't many laws on the books governing roommate behavior. Because of this, disputes are often left to yourself to solve unless both parties agree to seek counselling or any other form out third party guidance.

A roommate agreement, however, can add some legal enforcement to certain terms of the contract. For example, a judge could require one roommate to make good on their portion of the rent. On the other hand, there's no court order that can help you if your roommate went against your agreement and raided the fridge.

What Information Should Be Included In a Roommate Agreement?
Beyond what you and your roommate agree to, it's important to record the details of your rental agreement. This includes rental period, rent amount, and the information of your landlord.


Sample Roommate Agreement

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Roommate Agreement Basics

Having a roommate is a great way to save money, and a Roommate Agreement can be a good way to ensure it all goes smoothly. Figuring out all the details ahead of time can help you avoid future problems - and having the agreement in writing can help document everything you discussed in case of any disagreements later on. Laying out the groundwork can be a smart idea; after all, no one wants to be surprised by their rent payment or any unexpected restrictions or obligations. It doesn't matter if you're moving in with your best friend or a total stranger, penning a Roommate Agreement is a great start to a long lasting arrangement.

Other names for this document: Roommate Agreement Form, Roommate Contract

What Can Be Included In a Roommate Agreement?
A roommate agreement can potentially cover anything, but to give you some ideas here a few common additions:

• Rent splitting and how rent is to be paid: no one wants to quibble with their roommate every month over who owes what percent of rent. Documenting it ahead of time can help avoid issues down the road.

• Utilities: just like rent, it can be a good idea to document who is responsible for what utilities, should you be splitting them with your roommate.

• Overnight guests: most people probably won't have any issues with an extra guest now and then, but every night might be pushing it. Be sure to document your boundaries.

• Smoking and alcohol: if these are potential issues be sure to put it out in the open as early as you can.

• Parking: depending on where you live this might not be an important issue, but if there's a limited amount of parking in your building setting rules can help avoid later animosity.

• Groceries: sharing the cost of food can be important—as is setting rules for sharing what's in the fridge.

• Chores: who does dishes, who sweeps, and who cleans the bathroom can all be detailed in a roommate agreement.

• Providing notice of a move: legally, if one roommate leaves the other is left holding the bill for rent. Some of the inconvenience of this can be alleviated by requiring some notice before one roommate moves, giving the remaining party enough time to find a replacement.

How Can Disputes Between Roommates Be Handled Legally?
Outside of extreme circumstances there really aren't many laws on the books governing roommate behavior. Because of this, disputes are often left to yourself to solve unless both parties agree to seek counselling or any other form out third party guidance.

A roommate agreement, however, can add some legal enforcement to certain terms of the contract. For example, a judge could require one roommate to make good on their portion of the rent. On the other hand, there's no court order that can help you if your roommate went against your agreement and raided the fridge.

What Information Should Be Included In a Roommate Agreement?
Beyond what you and your roommate agree to, it's important to record the details of your rental agreement. This includes rental period, rent amount, and the information of your landlord.

Use the Roommate Agreement document if:
  • You're moving in with a roommate.
  • You've found a new roommate for your home or apartment.
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