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Creating a Roommate Agreement – A Guide for Tenants

Whether you’re moving to a new city for school or want a chance to start over in a new town, finding a roommate or two has its perks. Finding a trusted roommate can help you become familiar with your new city while saving money on rent and utilities. If you’re wondering about the benefits of living with a roommate, this blog is for you. Later, we will discuss how to find a trusted roommate and create a roommate agreement to help maintain a fair relationship. 

Benefits of Living With a Roommate

Living with a roommate has quite a few benefits—for example, a lower cost of living and having someone to socialize with. When you have a roommate, you typically split most household costs, including rent, the security deposit, utilities, groceries, and other items. Additionally, if you move to a new town that your roommate is familiar with, you have someone to show you around. 

However, it’s important to find a trustworthy and respectful roommate. Having a roommate that doesn’t want to respect your privacy or cooperate with house rules can create conflict between people and issues with the rental agreement. When you find a roommate, it’s crucial to create a mutual roommate agreement. First, let’s discuss how to find a trusted roommate. 

Finding a Trusted Roommate

There are several ways to find a roommate. With advances in technology and the use of social media, contacting potential roommate candidates is easier than ever. A few common social networking sites that make it easy to find roommates include Facebook or Craigslist. Additionally, some specific apps are made to find roommates, such as RoomieMatch and Roomi

finding-a-roommate

However, it’s crucial to be careful while contacting strangers. After all, when you communicate over the internet, you don’t always know who you are talking to. So, before you go through with someone you found online, consider searching for them on Google. Another good idea is finding their personal social media pages to understand better who they are. 

Once you’ve found a few potential roommate candidates that you are comfortable with, you must set clear standards from the start. Next, let’s go over how to communicate with potential roommates effectively. 

Communicating with Potential Roommates

Communicating with different people to see if they are compatible to live with is the last step in the process of finding a roommate. When speaking with someone about living standards, it’s important to set clear expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page. 

The first thing you’ll want to discuss with your potential roommate is a few essential standards. For example, go over how you handle shared spaces, cleaning expectations, and house noise levels. 

Additionally, while you get further into your communication, look for red flags. When you’re talking with someone over the internet, you never know exactly who they are. That said, a few red flags to look for include: 

  • No job or work history
  • Disrespectful
  • Party animal
  • No references
  • Smoking, alcohol, or drug problems
  • Lack of personal hygiene

While you may want to give everyone the first chance, it’s important to set clear boundaries and find someone willing to comply with your expectations. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect roommate, you’ll still want to create a roommate agreement. 

Why is Creating a Roommate Agreement Important?

Creating a roommate agreement is crucial while living in a rental home. Staying on the same page as your housemates ensures that everyone knows their responsibilities. While you will both be on the lease, your landlord will likely leave it up to you to decipher who is responsible for what. 

roommate-agreement

Before you move into your new rental home with your roommate(s), sit down with them to draft a roommate agreement together. That way, you’ll both be able to verbalize your expectations and come to a mutual understanding of house rules. 

Although a roommate agreement isn’t a legally binding contract, it’s an excellent way to keep all occupants accountable. Without a mutual understanding, you could be left with a larger rent payment, more household duties, and living with extra guests in the home. Next, let’s go over a reasonable list of roommate expectations to consider when finding someone to live with. 

Going Over Roommate Expectations

Living with another person isn’t always easy. You won’t always agree on every household rule, and occasionally rules can get swept under the rug. However, the goal is for everyone to live in a safe and clean rental home. So let’s go over some ways to set boundaries and lay down house rules for you and your roommate. 

  • Living Arrangements
  • Pet Policies
  • Inviting Guests Over
  • Splitting Household Chores
  • Parking Spaces

Living Arrangements

Outlining the living arrangements is one of the most critical parts of a roommate agreement. Deciding who will occupy what room and discussing shared living spaces before moving in is crucial in maintaining privacy in your rental. Typically, each roommate will have their own personal bedroom, and the home’s common areas are shared. 

Pet Policies

Going over the pet policy is another massive part of keeping things fair and respectful in the home. If the lease allows pets in the rental, discuss with your roommate to see if they have any animals living there. Everyone needs to agree and feel comfortable with any pets living in the unit. 

Inviting Guests Over

Having guests over with roommates can be tricky sometimes. If everyone invites their friends over at once, the place can quickly become crowded. On the other hand, if your roommate invites a friend over for a few days and they don’t leave, it can create conflict. Keeping an open line of communication when inviting people over is a great way to avoid any type of conflict within the home. 

Splitting Household Chores

When you live with more than one person, your shared spaces can quickly get cluttered and messy. Since nobody wants to be the one who’s always cleaning, it’s a good idea to develop a turn-taking system when it comes to household chores. However, a good general rule of thumb is that you clean it up if you make a mess. 

Parking Spaces

Some rental units have limited parking spaces. If you have a roommate, you both must stay in your respective parking spot. If you’re having guests over, it’s probably not the best idea to allow them to park in your roommate’s parking spot. Keeping a consistent expectation for parking can give you both peace of mind. 

Splitting Financial Obligations When You Have a Roommate

A major part of a roommate agreement is staying accountable for splitting household payments. It’s hard to have one person in charge of rent and one person in charge of utilities. Costs get mixed up and it can become unfair quite quickly. Here are some of the common expenses that roommates must agree on splitting. 

splitting-rental-payment

  • Rent
  • Security Deposit
  • Utilities
  • Miscellaneous Household Items

Rent

Rent is one of the most significant payments you’ll likely split with your roommate. Agreeing to split this payment is crucial in maintaining a fair roommate relationship. Typically, if there are two people living there, you’ll split the rental fee in half each month. So if the rent is $1400 per month, each person should plan on paying $700 each month.

Security Deposit

The security deposit due when you first move in is another larger payment to split. Although it’s a one-time payment, you and your roommate(s) should agree on how the price is divided. If there are two of you, perhaps you’ll split it down the middle. If there are three roommates, plan on splitting it three ways. 

Utilities

If utilities aren’t included in the monthly rent payment, you’ll want to decide how to split these costs. Since utility payments can differ each month, it might be easier to split these payments monthly. Or, if the utilities cost around the same, you could decide who pays for what utility each month and occasionally switch it up.

Miscellaneous Household Items

While most roommates purchase their groceries and belongings, there are some shared household items that you may want to split the costs of—for example, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, dishwashing supplies, and more. Before moving in with someone, decide who wants to pay for what items. 

What Happens if Someone Moves Out Early? 

finding-a-rental

Discussing what happens if one roommate leaves early is crucial for your roommate agreement. Since all rental occupants will be listed on the lease, when one person leaves, it leaves the rest responsible for their absence. Make sure everyone’s on the same page about move-out procedures and develop a plan of action if one roommate plans to break the lease early. 

If someone does decide to move out early, make sure to contact your Baltimore rental property management company to let them know what’s going on.

Looking for a New Rental Home? 

Moving to a new city can be a difficult transition. However, finding a new place to live is often the most challenging part. Luckily, there are tons of great resources to help you find a rental home quickly. If you’re actively searching for a place, check out our current listings

If you own rental properties near Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, or surrounding counties, Bay Property Management Group is here to help you manage your business. We’ve got you covered whether you need help with tenant screening, rent collection, eviction services, and more.