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What Is a Roommate Agreement?

A roommate agreement helps people living in a shared space to define and follow house rules. Unlike a sublease agreement, it doesn't include any terms that are legally binding.

If you are sharing your home, you should agree on (and sign) a roommate agreement in addition to a sublet agreement. While a sublet agreement holds everyone accountable for following the terms of the master lease, a roommate agreement makes sure everyone who lives in the apartment has the same expectations about behavior and house rules.

Below you'll find answers to common questions and tips to keep in mind when putting together a roommate agreement. Once you're ready, you can customize and sign your own roommate agreement.

In This Article

Roommate agreement vs sublease
What to include
Who to include
Sample roommate agreement

Roommate agreement vs sublease

The difference between a roommate agreement and a sublease is that a roommate agreement doesn't involve the landlord or the master lease. It's not intended to bind both parties to lease terms such as start date, end date, rent amount, and security deposit amount.

Instead, the purpose of a roommate agreement is to legally bind people who are living with one another to a set of agreed-upon behaviors. This might include everything from who does which chores when to whether or not guests or parties are allowed. There is no need to involve the landlord in a roommate agreement.

What to include

Rent splitting

Clarify what the total monthly rent amount is and who pays which portion of the rent. Also include acceptable methods of payment and which day of the month the rent must be paid by all roommates.

Acceptable behavior

To avoid disagreements, set clear guidelines for home sharing from day one. A home-sharing agreement provides you with a roadmap for how you'll behave when you live together. Think about what's okay and what's not okay in every part of the house or apartment:

  • Who uses the kitchen when? When using the kitchen, what does your subtenant have access to and what don't they have access to?
  • What is the definition of a party, and when are you allowed to have one? When you have guests, are they allowed in all parts of the home?
  • When does a regular overnight guest become a roommate, and is that okay? What's the protocol for an unwelcome addition to the space?
  • Are alcohol and drugs allowed, and if so, where?


You don't want one of your roommates bringing home a surprise puppy or spider one day without any warning. Add a term about which kinds of pets are okay and what needs to happen before a new pet is introduced into the household.

It's important to decide in advance how you and your roommates will deal with someone needing to move out, someone continually breaking the laid-out terms, or any other kind of disagreement that would create an unpleasant living situation. You can describe a process for dispute resolution in your agreement as well as what will happen if someone breaks a term of the agreement.

Who to include

The most important purpose of a roommate agreement is to prevent roommate disagreements. This is only possible if all roommates have reviewed the document terms and agreed to be bound by them.

Make sure that everyone who will be affected by the arrangement is in agreement. Even if you're the only one on the lease, you should still ask anyone else who lives in the space to sign the agreement. This way, you have protection if they try to claim that they never wanted your new tenant to move in. If you're on the lease with anyone else, then they should definitely sign your agreement.

Evicting a roommate is more common than you think. To do so, follow the state-prescribed steps for landlords who want to evict tenants.

Sample roommate agreement

If you don't feel like drafting your own agreement you can download one of ours as an editable document or even customize it to your situation. Get started with a simple roommate agreement.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.