What is a Roommate Agreement?

A roommate agreement, also known as a ‘room rental agreement‘, is a contract between individuals, known as “roommates”, that share a residential living area such as an apartment, home, or condominium. This is an agreement between the roommates only and does not involve the landlord. The roommate agreement does not take precedence over the master lease (which is the lease between the landlord and tenant(s)). The landlord has no obligations under a roommate agreement and therefore, if the roommates do not collectively pay the monthly rent as written in the master lease, the landlord will be able to evict the tenant(s) if the full amount is not paid.

Standard Roommate Agreement – Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (.docx)

College Roommate AgreementAdobe PDF

Roommate Agreements by State

Table of Contents

Best Practices (How it Works)

A roommate agreement is between the residents living on the property, not with the landlord. Although, the only individuals legally bound are those listed on the original lease. Roommates may agree to pay the monthly rent, but if not paid, the actual tenants will be liable for any eviction. Therefore, any individual that agrees to rent a room should be verified that they have decent credit and employment history.

Step 1 – Finding a Roommate

It is no secret that the best place to market a room is on the internet. The only question is “where?”.

  1. Social Networks. The best people to find are the ones that come with references. Use your social circles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in order to tell your friends and maybe they know someone who is looking in the area.
  2. Craigslist. One of the oldest sites to still have a large presence, Craigslist offers probably the best solution for offering the details of your available housing. Simply navigate to your area and the “apts / housing” section and make a post (will be valid for 30 days).
  3. Roomster.com. The fastest growing network of roommate listings on the net. List your property in a user-friendly format.
  4. Roommates.com. A semi-popular site but if you’re desperate it’s best to use all avenues in order to find that one (1) individual.

Use the above the references to display pictures of the list the details of the available room. Make sure to give prospective roommates all the details of the property in the listing, including but not limited to, utilities offered, number (#) of bathrooms, the total amount of individuals on the property, and the type of person you’re seeking (e.g. quiet person, 420 friendly, etc.)

Step 2 – Screening Process

Depending on how well you know the person that is moving in, it is always best to verify their personal behavior by checking available public records.

Credit & Background Check – Have the applicant fill-in an application after viewing the property in addition to having them give you payment for the cost of conducting the credit and background check. Services that offer to perform the check once you have the information include Experian.com, MySmartMove (TransUnion), or TenantVerification.com.

Employment & Income Verification – Download in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word and send to have the applicant’s employer write the hours worked and income to verify the rent will be affordable.

Sex Offender Check – As of July 3, 2006, all States’ offender registries were connected to the National List. There are laws that protect sex offenders so that it cannot be a determining factor in rejection.

Step 3 – Schedule a Meeting

If the applicant passes the financial portion of the process now comes time for them to meet the other individuals living on the premises. The other roommates probably would like to know the person before they are allowed to move-in. Therefore, a meeting should be scheduled where everyone gets to know one another to make sure it’s the right move for everyone involved.

Step 4 – Sign an Agreement

Whether it’s an amendment to an existing agreement or a new roommate agreement is drafted, the new roommate should be added so that it is in writing of their responsibilities. Other than financial liabilities, there may be cleaning times, quiet hours, assignment of chores, or other obligations that are shared.

Step 5 – Moving-in

If the new roommate is lucky his or her newfound friends will lend a hand and help with their move-in to the property. Due to the shared living areas the furniture usually consists of a mattress, box spring, and a desk for their bedroom.

How to Evict a Roommate

Evicting a roommate all depends on your situation and if you have legal grounds to do so. Otherwise, you may need the help of the landlord or of the roommate that is listed as a tenant on the lease.

Who are you?

If You’re the Landlord

This is the best situation. As you have the legal grounds to evict your roommate, who is also your tenant. Use the proper notice to quit that informs the tenant of their lease violation and follow-through with the proper eviction proceedings. If the tenant does not move out you may have to seek the legal process of filing a complaint and summons through your local court.

If You and Your Roommate are Listed on the Lease

If you both are listed on the lease then any violation would equally affect the both of you. Therefore, any violation on the part of your roommate, or co-tenant, would be a violation of the lease with the landlord.

The landlord will have two (2) options

  1. Send the notice to quit and attempt to terminate the lease with the both of you; or
  2. Send the notice to quit and attempt to terminate the lease while allowing you to stay and find another roommate.

The latter would be the ideal situation and unless you have an extremely good relationship with the landlord it is highly unlikely to pull this off.

If You’re Listed on the Lease and Roommate is not

If you’re listed on the lease as a tenant and your roommate is not then you may need the help of your landlord in order to remove the roommate from the premises. This can be done by contacting the landlord and asking them to begin eviction proceedings with a notice to quit.

If this doesn’t scare the roommate then inform the landlord that they will need to go further through the eviction process. In extreme cases where the tenant does not respond to any notices, the landlord will need to file an Unlawful Detainer or Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) and request the local court to have the Sheriff’s office remove the tenant from the property.

How to Write (Roommate Agreement)

Download in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word (.docx).

1 – Obtain The Document

Download this form using the link below the image. Then gather any required reference materials (Lease, notes). You may open this form to print it then fill it out or you may use the appropriate program to enter this information onscreen.

2  – The Required Introduction

A few things will need to be documented in the initial wording of this form. To begin, locate the first two blank spaces in the first paragraph, then enter the Month/Day and Year this paperwork is being executed.

The second paragraph will require some information regarding the participants and the property. use the blank spaces after the phrase “…is made by and between,” to report the Full Name of each roommate signing this agreement. There will be enough spaces to provide three names, however, if you wish, you may add more. The last blank space of this paragraph, preceding the words “property address” must have the exact Address of the Residential Property being rented by the roommates entered.

The final aspect of this agreement to be reported will be the time period when it will be in effect. This must be documented in the paragraph beginning with the words “This agreement runs concurrently….” Use the first two blank spaces to record the Month/Day and Year when this agreement will go into effect. Then, use the next two blank spaces to report the Month/Day and Year this agreement will expire or terminate.

3 – Define The Security Deposit

The first section, “Security Deposit,” will require the full Security Deposit Amount paid to the Landlord entered into the first blank space.

The second blank space will require the Name of the Landlord or Master Tenant who has received the Security Deposit.

The third and fourth blank spaces require the Month/Day and Year the Security Deposit was surrendered to be entered accordingly.

Next, there will be enough room to report the Name of each roommate as well as the Security Amount each one has paid. Report the Name of a Roommate on the blank space (labeled “roommate’s name”) and the amount this person relinquished for the Security Deposit on the corresponding space (labeled “amount paid”) of that line.

4 – Document the Rent Amount

In “2. Rent,” we will focus on the amount of money that must be paid to the Landlord of the property and how much each roommate will need to chip in. Locate the blank space in the first paragraph of this section then enter the rent amount the Landlord must receive, on a monthly basis, for the rent.

The next area will contain several lines with two spaces apiece. Enter the Name of each Roommate on a separate line along with his or her portion of the rent.

Finally, use the three blank spaces in the last paragraph to record the manner in which the rent should be paid (i.e. cash/check), the Name of the individual collecting the Rent, and the Monthly Calendar Date (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd) when the Rent is due (in this order).

5 – Regarding The Kitchen

The next section requiring attention, “4. Kitchen Use and Clean Up” will have two checkboxes. If all the roommates are expected to chip in equally for food, then mark the first checkbox. If each roommate will be responsible for his or her own groceries, then mark the second checkbox.

The paragraph beginning with the words “Food may not be borrowed…” will contain a blank space to define food storage. If each roommate will have his or her own area to store food, then enter the word “separately” on this line.

6 – Housework

Locate the section titled “6. Cleaning.” If the roommates will handle the housecleaning personally, then mark the first box (preceding the words “Each roommate agrees…”

If there will be a cleaning schedule attached to this agreement each roommate is required to follow, this should be reported in item “a.)” Mark the first checkbox, in “a),” if the attached cleaning schedule will have a separate date and time when each roommate must perform cleaning/maintenance duties. If, however, the cleaning schedule will call for all the roommates to work as a team during the times listed, mark the second checkbox.

If none of these terms apply and the roommates will chip in for a house cleaner, then mark the checkbox preceding the words “A house-cleaner will be hired by the roommates…”

7 – Additional Provisions

Several terms may need to be covered depending on the circumstances applying to the roommates and the rental property. If any agreements have been reached regarding the topics in this section, then mark the check box corresponding to that subject and enter the terms of the agreement.

If the roommates have developed any rules/conditions regarding “Smoking/alcohol/drugs,” then mark the first checkbox and enter these terms in the blank spaces provided.

If the roommates have access and discussed conditions regarding “Parking,” mark the second checkbox and enter these conditions on the blank lines provided.

If the roommates have discussed and settled upon rules applying to “Overnight Guests,” then mark the third box and record these rules in the area provided.

Mark the fourth checkbox, if the roommates wish to document a policy regarding “Cleanup after parties/guests.” Make sure to record this policy on the blank lines provided.

Place a mark in the fifth box, if the roommates have rules regarding “Music/Sound” then, enter these rules on the blank lines.

If there will be rules regarding the “Behavior of Guests” then, check the sixth box and provide a detailed report on these rules using the blank lines in this item.

Mark the seventh box then enter any information regarding “Keys,” if applicable.

If the roommates have agreed to abide by certain rules regarding the “Shared areas (bathrooms),” then mark the eight box and record these rules using the blank lines in this item.

Mark the ninth box, if there will be any rules governing “Quiet Hours for Studying and Sleeping.” Make sure to record these agreements using the available blank lines.

8 – Dividing Utilities

The next section, “8. Utilities” will provide an area to easily define who pays how much of each Utility along with some other information. This area will present itself as a table. Several Utilities will need to be defined, one on each row: Gas, Water, Electricity, Garbage, Cable TV, Internet, and Other. Use the columns to report who holds the Utility Account, the Deposit required for the Utility, the Name of the person who paid that Utility Deposit, how that Utility Bill is shared, and which roommate is Responsible for submitting that Utility’s Payment. Note: If you are defining these facts for a Utility not mentioned, use the row labeled “Other” and make sure to enter the Name of that Utility as well. Make sure to enter the information required by this table accurately.

9 – Binding Signatures

The final portion of this form provides an area for the binding Signature of each roommate to be submitted. Each roommate wishing to participate in this agreement must Sign his or her Name on the blank space labeled “Signature,” Print his or her Name on the blank space labeled “Print Name,” then enter the Signature Date on the blank space labeled “Date.”