A.D. Thompson
roommates shaking hands roommate agreement

Rents are high out there, which is why so many people choose to double- or even triple-up their living arrangements, setting off their monthly expenses by having roommates. Signing a lease, which is a legally binding document, is no small matter. And so, lots of renters opt to make the responsibilities of the household clear in a roommate agreement.

These contracts begin by covering the financial aspects of the living arrangement – which can include security deposits, rent, insurance and utilities – along with other important facets, like grocery bills, cooking responsibilities, noise restrictions, guest rules (parties, smoking, alcohol consumption), cleaning or house chores, pets and more.

Roommate agreements make clear what is expected of each person residing in the apartment, and can help in cases where one party fails to keep up his or her end of the bargain.

What sort of language should you put in yours? Roommate agreements can be as unique as the people who draft them, so feel free to be creative in your quest to draft a document with rules by which each of you will be happy to abide. Read on for a sample roommate agreement that can help as you're drafting the rules and regulations of your new household. Simply fill in the information in brackets [ ]. Anything in parentheses ( ) should be used as guidance.

Download a Word doc of the sample roommate agreement


Introduction

We, [insert names of each roommate as they appear on the lease], have signed a lease/rental agreement for [name and address of apartment complex and unit rented] on [start date of lease]. As such, we have prepared and willingly signed this Roommate Agreement.

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Terms

This agreement will remain in effect from [start date] to [end date]. If for any reason a roommate should move out before the above-listed term has elapsed, under the lease/rental agreement, the departing roommate is still obligated to the landlord by the terms of the lease. The departing roommate is responsible for finding a replacement roommate. When a potential replacement roommate is presented, the remaining roommate(s) must approve of him/her. The departing roommate should notify the landlord, as well as the other roommate(s), within [specified time period prior to move-out. Example: 30 days], so that the proper arrangements can be made.

The following roommates are included in this agreement:

[List the names of each roommate here as they appear on the lease]

Rent

Total rent amount is [rent total amount]. Rent is due on [list date of month rent is due].

Amount each roommate is responsible for [amount].

(If roommates are responsible for different rent amounts, list that here.)

Security Deposit

Roommates have a deposit of [amount] each (or list separately if divided unevenly), totaling [total amount]. Each roommate is responsible for his/her share of the charge associated with damages. If the cause cannot be determined, the roommates will split the cost evenly.

Pets

If pets are permitted under the lease, each pet owner shall be responsible for any deposits related to his/her pet and any damages caused by his/her pet.

Household Supplies

A single ledger will be kept of all supplies purchased by each roommate. Supplies include such things as paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning agents, foil, trash bags, sponges and any other home supplies that will be shared by all roommates.

Groceries and Food Preparation

Due to differing dietary needs and schedules, each roommate will be responsible for his/her own groceries. No food is to be taken or shared without express permission.

Personal Property

Similarly, all roommates agree there will be no borrowing of personal items without prior approval. Exceptions to this should be clearly stated. Any property that is borrowed will be used respectfully and returned in the same condition, and in the event of damage, the “borrower" will be liable to fix or replace the item(s).

Cleaning

Roommates agree to share the responsibilities of cleaning and maintenance. The roommates have decided to develop a schedule and/or divide tasks. A document stating the schedule and/or division of labor is attached.

(Be sure to attach this document.)

Each roommate agrees to do his/her own dishes and clean appliances resulting from use.

In Closing

As a participant in this Roommate Agreement, I understand that I and each of my roommate(s) have equal rights to the use of the space and facilities in the dwelling with the exception of the areas we have designated as each other's private space.

This agreement is intended to promote harmony between roommates by clarifying our responsibilities.

[Each roommate must sign and date]

Additional things to consider

The following areas have the potential to cause conflict between roommates and should also be considered in your roommate agreement:

-Smoking, alcohol, etc. use

-Who is allowed to have copies of keys

-Parking, especially if there's a designated spot or spots for the apartment

-Overnight guests

-Parties

-Noise level and quiet hours

-Shared areas like TV or sound system usage

This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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About The Author

A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson spent the first half of her 25-year career behind the editor’s desk, including time at Playgirl Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel and a host of other publications, print and online. Now a full-time freelancer, she is the Orlando expert for USA Today’s 10Best.com and writes about everything from Mickey Mouse to marijuana-based tourism with equal levels of enthusiasm – and occasional bouts of the munchies.

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