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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 are some terms to think about when putting together a roommate agreement. Once you're ready, you can customize and sign your own roommate agreement.

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?

Prevent roommate disagreements

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.

Automate shared rent

Your sublet agreement with each subtenant should state how much they are expected to pay monthly in utilities and rent. That doesn't mean that they know how much everyone else pays. Avoid awkward confrontations by automating the whole process. That way, no one has to worry about leaving checks lying around or asking questions in front of the wrong people.

You can use Caretaker to automate rent payments and a tool like Acasa to split up and automate utility and other secondary payments.

Know how to evict

Evicting a roommate is more common than you think. When your name is on the lease and you are the one paying the rent to the landlord, you have a lot more power than the person you're renting to. If they breach the agreements that you signed, you can probably evict them. To do so, follow the state-prescribed steps for landlords who want to evict tenants. Sometimes it's as easy as handing them a piece of paper. Other times, there are more hoops to jump through. Check out our state-by-state guide on evicting a tenant.

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