Roommate Agreement Template
A roommate agreement template, also called a “roommate lease agreement”, is a document used for establishing a set of formal and informal rules that tenants sharing a rented apartment, home, or condominium agree to follow for the length of the lease. It is mainly used to reduce the likelihood of disagreements forming over noise, guests, cleaning, utility payments, belongings, and similar topics. The mere act of discussing and completing a roommate agreement is often as important as the contract itself, as many roommates find it difficult to bring-up rules after the first few weeks or months of living together.
College (Dorm) Roommate Agreement – specifically designed for students sharing the same university dorm room or apartment.
Roommate Agreements by State
The following states contain state-specific roommate agreements, which were designed to account for each state’s unique lease laws.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What is a Roommate Agreement?
A roommate agreement is a document used to encourage structure and harmony within a rented apartment. The form can be used to establish rules on guests, chores, utilities, alcohol/drugs, and rent payments. If roommates use the form to dictate rules regarding rental payments and/or utilities, and their official signatures are recorded on the form, it can be used as an official legally enforceable form. In this case, if one or more roommates stop paying a utility bill or their portion of rent, the other roommate(s) can take legal action against them. Is this good for roommate camaraderie? No. This is a last resort action. What roommates should do is ensure a system for dispute resolution is agreed-upon early on, so if a conflict arises, it can be settled among themselves swiftly and easily.
Roommate Agreement FAQ
Is a roommate agreement legally binding?
It depends. If 1) the tenants signed and dated the agreement, and 2) the contract contains rules on rent payments and utilities, then the agreement can be legally binding. However, only conditions regarding money can be enforced by a court of law.
For example, if a roommate by the name of “Jimmy” keeps inviting his friends over at 1 AM to practice the drums, a court can’t force Jimmy to stop playing the drums or find better friends – that’s up to the roommates to resolve.
Are roommate agreements and leases different?
Yes, very much so. Leases structure every detail regarding a rental arrangement and bind the landlord and lessees to a set of conditions that, if broken, can follow severe consequences. Roommate agreements, while serious documents, only apply to the tenants themselves – the landlord does not have to know a roommate agreement even exists during the lease.
What should be included in a roommate agreement?
Generally, as much detail as possible should be included. Even if it is never referenced again, having as much agreed-upon beforehand can prevent future conflicts from escalating into more serious fights. If all the roommates are on the lease agreement signed with the landlord, including rent payments is not necessary. This also applies to utilities. However, if the original lease does not specify which roommate is to pay what, or it doesn’t say utilities and rent is to be split evenly, this should be included on the roommate agreement.
How to Write
Step 1 – Download
One of three (3) formats can be downloaded – Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (.docx), or Rich Text Format (.rtf). Note: There may be some discrepancies among the varying formats compared to the instructions below.
Step 2 – Date + Parties
Enter the day, month, and year that the agreement will be going into effect. Then, write in the names of the roommates that will be sharing the rental.
Step 3 – Rent
Check one of two (2) boxes. The first box should be checked if each roommate will be paying and sending rent to the landlord themselves. The second box should be checked if one roommate will be collecting rent from the other roommates, and then sending it to the landlord.
It is recommended that the rent payments of each roommate are specified in the “Optional” field. If more fields are required for additional roommates, these can be handwritten or inserted using the Word or RTF formats.
Step 4 – Utilities
It is assumed that all roommates will pay an equal portion of rent. In the first field, the name of the roommate who handles the utilities and their payments should be recorded. Then, the names of the roommates who will be paying a portion of the utilities should be listed.
Step 5 – Cleaning
Enter the day of the week in which all roommates will conduct a complete cleaning of the rental. Then, in the proceeding field, enter the maximum number of hours dishes can be left in the sink. Consequences for leaving dishes uncleaned can be listed on another page or written-in manually.
Step 6 – Quiet Hours
Specify the time block in which all roommates will be required to be quiet. Example: “10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.”
Step 7 – Overnight Guests
Check one of three (3) options depending on the roommate’s preferences on guests. If checking the first box, enter the maximum number of nights a guest can stay over consecutively.
Step 8 – Smoking, Alcohol, and other drugs
Check the corresponding boxes next to the agreed-upon rules regarding drug use on the property. If the lease signed with the landlord prohibits drug and/or alcohol use, check the corresponding “Not Allowed” checkboxes.
Step 9 – Signatures
Have each roommate:
- Print their full name
- Record their signature
- Date the agreement
The contract should then be kept somewhere safe and accessible.