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How to Avoid Roommate Trouble

Finding a qualified tenant to occupy your Anne Arundel County home becomes significantly more manageable when you allow roommates to enter a lease agreement together. In addition, widening the pool to those who wish to share your home makes your home more affordable because of the dual (or even triple) income. However, allowing roommates to lease your coveted and highly valuable property, especially if you own a rental home in a place like Glen Burnie, can cause issues with rental agreements, security deposits, rental payments, and more. So, let’s look at some common problems when roommates decide to rent together and how you can avoid roommate trouble.


Contents of This Article:

Common Roommate Trouble

Renting your home to best friends, people in relationships, or even to those that are strangers may cause internal problems that you will have to deal with. Here are some issues you may run into should you decide to lease your rental property to roommates.


  • One Roommate Doesn’t Pay Their Rent
  • A Roommate Violates the Lease Terms
  • Roommates That Don’t Get Along
  • One Roommate Leaves Before the Lease Ends

One Roommate Doesn’t Pay Their Rent

When roommates enter a lease agreement, the landlord rarely becomes involved in splitting the rent. All that matters is that rent is paid in full at the designated time.

Many times roommates will experience an issue where one roommate refuses to pay their share, leaving the other roommate(s) to cover the missing amount.

Not only does this threaten the monthly rental payments that you rely on every month, but it also affects the other tenants sharing your home, who have now become responsible for fulfilling the rent obligation.

A Roommate Violates the Lease Terms

Whether it be the addition of an unapproved roommate, making too much noise during quiet hours, damaging property, or bringing in an unauthorized pet, there will be problems for all involved if one roommate begins violating lease terms.

Unfortunately for roommates, it is expected that if one person violates the lease, all tenants leasing the home are found to be responsible. The landlord will then be forced to get involved, resulting in a vacant rental property.

Roommates That Do Not Get Along

Sharing a space with another person will cause conflict at one point or another. However, sometimes that conflict gets so extreme that one tenant may need to break the lease agreement early.

It might even become a situation where the “good” roommate(s) wish to kick out the problem roommate to live peacefully.

In any event, evicting one tenant in a roommate lease agreement is a messy ordeal that you must address legally to avoid further complications. Most landlords dread and hope to avoid this when leasing their properties. 

One Roommate Leaves Before the Lease Ends

Often roommates live together for financial reasons. This is common in places such as Annapolis. With a growing population and a high demand for rental properties, decent homes can come with a high price tag. By halving the rent and all utilities, and hopefully even the groceries, daily living expenses become much more manageable.


Sadly, sometimes a situation will arise where one roommate leaves the rental home, refusing to fulfill the rental obligations agreed to at the lease signing. This leaves the other roommate(s) in a bind if they cannot cover the entire monthly rent.

Though Maryland has a potential solution for recovering rent owed by a roommate that broke a lease agreement early, this legal process can be lengthy and may prove fruitless. However, when rent is due, it is due. Landlords have the right to collect the entire rent from only one roommate regardless of the other’s actions and can swiftly start the eviction process if rent is not paid.

How to Avoid Roommate Trouble in Your Rental

Experiencing some of the above scenarios would cause any landlord to reel. Often relying on rental payments as a primary source of income, having any type of issue in a rental home is unwelcome.

Luckily, there are some things Baltimore property managers can do at the time of the lease signing to avoid these things from ever becoming an issue.


  1. Make All Roommates ‘Joint and Severally Liable’
  2. Properly Screen All Tenants
  3. Do Not Allow Subleasing
  4. Collect Only One Rent Check
  5. Encourage a Roommate Agreement

Make All Roommates’ Joint and Several Liable’

Your lease agreement should contain proper language making all roommates living in, say, your Severna Park rental home responsible for the lease agreement provisions.

By including the terms’ jointly and severally liable,’ your tenants will be held equally responsible for all lease terms, regardless of who violates the terms.

Properly Screen All Tenants

Anyone over 18 residing in your rental property should undergo the same screening process and include their name on the lease agreement. This will ensure that everyone entering the lease agreement fits your standards and provides every adult residing there some level of responsibility. This way, only high-quality tenants will be allowed to rent from you, hopefully weeding out problem tenants from the start.

Do Not Allow Subleasing

Allowing a tenant renting from you to turn around and rent to another unapproved person makes your rental property vulnerable.

Do not allow this process, also known as subleasing, to occur under any circumstances.

If a tenant needs replacing, only with your permission, screening processes, and a revised lease agreement making the new roommate joint and several liable should this ever happen. This is the best way you can protect yourself and your investment.


Collect Only One Rent Check

As mentioned, a landlord rarely has any say regarding how roommates split the monthly rent. However, including in your lease agreement that you’ll only accept one rent check better guarantees full payment each month. Additionally, it separates you from the internal financial issues roommates sometimes experience.

Encourage a Roommate Agreement

Although not required, it is a good idea to suggest to roommates leasing your rental home that they draw up a roommate agreement outlining the responsibilities of every party living there.

Though residents living in Laurel or Fort Meade may feel particularly trusting of their roommates as those regions tend to have tight-knit communities of people who have known each other for years, it is still in the best interest of all involved to get something in writing, just in case.

Here are some standard details to include in a roommate agreement signed by all tenants leasing your rental home:


  • Division of rent between all parties
  • Utility cost splits
  • Food cost splits
  • Maintenance responsibilities such as cleaning, yard maintenance, or repair requests
  • Overnight guest rules
  • Rules regarding parties/gatherings
  • Designated quiet times
  • Parking designations
  • The process for breaking a lease agreement

Though courts will generally disregard many provisions in a roommate agreement, those involving monetary issues will likely hold in a court of law should an issue between roommates surface. This is especially true if everyone has signed the agreement, as judges almost always uphold documents like that. 

Protect Your Investment With Property Management

As a landlord, you must protect yourself and your rental investment first and foremost by enforcing the lease agreement. Luckily for you, Bay Management Group is well-versed in many of the abovementioned ways to avoid roommate trouble in your rental home.

With qualified professionals understanding how to properly and thoroughly screen potential tenants, draft legally compliant lease agreements, collect full rental payments on time, and evict problem tenants once issues begin to pop up, Bay Management Group can give you that peace of mind that you and your rental investment are fully protected, even if your tenant roommates run into some trouble with each other. 

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If you’re looking for comprehensive rental management near Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC, contact BMG today.