11 Items You Absolutely Must Include in a Roommate Agreement
Moving in with a roommate is an intimate relationship since you're sharing a space. In order to be sure you're both on the same page, it's a good idea to put a roommate agreement in place.
Whether you're living with your best friend or a total stranger, conflicts are bound to arise when you're living with someone. Even if it's something as small as who should be doing the dishes, it'll be easier to resolve issues if you already have an agreement in place.
If you don't know how to make a roommate agreement, we have you covered. Here's a list of what to include in your roommate agreement. Keep in mind these agreements are not legally binding, so you can't sue your roommate for not taking out the trash.
To get started, you first need to start with the basics. Write out the names of all the tenants and the address of your rental home. It's also a good idea to include whose room is whose in the apartment.
The obvious place to start is the rent. Are you both going to pay the landlord separately or will one person pay and the other reimburse each month? Put the payment process in place in writing so no one is confused about paying rent.
Also outline how much each tenant is responsible for. Will you divide the rent evenly between everyone, or will the rent be based on bedroom size?
2. Splitting bills
Do the same for bills. This one is a little more complicated since bills can only be in one person's name. Figure out what shared bills will need to be paid each month and how you will be splitting them.
Hopefully you already know if one of you has a pet, but even if you don't, it's an important thing to include in the agreement. If pets are allowed in your apartment, be clear on if you're comfortable with having them.
Make sure you spell out if it's OK for your roommate to show up one day with a puppy. If one of you are allergic to cats, write in the contract that no cats are allowed in the apartment.
Work and school schedules change, but it's important to note the schedules you have now. Do you leave every morning at 5 a.m. and like to play music while you get ready? Maybe your roommate doesn't wake up until 2 p.m. because they work nights. Being aware of schedules (and showing some courtesy) will go a long way.
5. Private time
Along the same lines, if you're someone who likes to have some time for yourself, you should note that in the agreement. Maybe you would like to be left alone for 2 hours each day.
In order to set this expectation, write it out so your roommate won't be knocking on your door when you'd prefer to be left alone.
6. Guests and significant others
No one wants a surprise extra roommate by way of a boyfriend or girlfriend. The same goes for friends. There's nothing worse than expecting to come home to an empty house only to find 3 of your roommate's friends over.
Couples often have sleepovers, but if you don't want to see your roommate's significant other over more often than not, it's best to make it clear how often guests can come and stay over. This will help avoid an awkward conversation about seeing your roommate's partner too often.
7. Cleaning and chores
One of the top complaints about living with roommates is someone not cleaning up after themselves. If you like a clean sink, agree that dishes will be cleaned or put in the dishwasher after cooking.
The kitchen and bathroom are two shared spaces that usually need to be cleaned the most. Agree on a cleaning schedule for those spaces so you'll always have a tidy space.
8. Bathroom and kitchen schedule
Additionally, the bathroom and kitchen are the most used rooms, too. Imagine planning to cook an elaborate dinner all day only to come home to your roommate doing the same thing. A schedule that outlines who will cook when can help you to avoid this scenario altogether.
Or, waking up in a rush only to find your roommate is using the bathroom where you desperately need to brush your teeth and shower. Knowing each other's daily routines will help. Maybe you shower at night and your roommate showers in the morning. Figure out what works best for each of your schedules and add this to the agreement.
Some like it hot. And others like to sleep in the freezing cold. To avoid getting into a passive aggressive temperature changing war and paying a ton for the AC or heat, agree on a summer and winter temperature that you and your roommate are comfortable with. Obviously, this is subject to change depending on the weather, but finding a baseline will make it easier to discuss.
10. Moving out early
Life circumstances could cause one of you to have to move out early. Figure out how you would handle this in the event that it happens. It's better to plan ahead!
11. Resolving conflicts
Agree on how you will handle anything that isn't in the agreement. Do you prefer to text about it or have a roommate meeting? Agree on how you will work out any issues so you can have the best roommate experience possible and enjoy living together!