Table of Contents
- What Is a Room Rental Agreement?
- The Most Important Things to Include in a Room Rental Agreement
- Room Rental Agreement Sample
- What to Include in the Room Rental Agreement
- In What Situations a Room Rental Agreement is Needed
- Learn the Local Laws and Regulations
- The Steps to Find a Good Roommate
What Is a Room Rental Agreement?
A room rental agreement is a contract that a tenant and another person sign. In this form, both people include what each of them expects of the other person and determine boundaries. Once signed, these agreements give rights and obligations to everyone involved in the deal.
Since this is a written form, it is governed by the current law of the place where the building is. So, in case one of the people fails to meet his obligations set in the real estate document, the other parties can hold him accountable and sue him, even if it is in PDF.
This can be used either when one is the owner of the place, or even for subleases. In the latter case, most of the articles included in the original agreement will be present too.
Room Rental Agreement vs Roommate Agreement: The Key Differences
Though these two types of rent agreement seem very similar, there are some key differences one should be aware of. Not knowing in detail how they work could get one in trouble, since the expectations are not clear. So, the person would be stuck in a poorly defined contract, which will inevitably bring about problems between the two people. To avoid this, explore their main differences.
Make sure not to confuse these two types of forms, since using one instead of the other will bring about legal problems.
|Room Rental Agreement||Roommate Lease Agreement|
|Used when a tenant wants to rent one room to another person.||Ideal for moving in with a new roommate.|
|The landlord has to agree with it.||No need to ask the landlord.|
|Based on the original rental contract.||Independent from any other legal paper.|
The Most Important Things to Include in a Room Rental Agreement
There are many aspects that a basic room rental agreement should cover. They are necessary to ensure that all the most important things are included, and there are no doubts about them. These are:
- Date: should specify when the period starts and ends.
- Parties: there should be info about each of the people that will be part of the legal agreement.
- Address: mention which is the building being leased and its location.
- Amounts: This is not free. State how much one expects to be paid monthly for the property and security deposit.
- Rights and Duties: what is expected of each person during the duration of the house rental agreement.
- Utilities: who will be in charge of paying them and what name should be on the bill.
- Parking: clarify who will have permission to park in the area and the number of vehicles allowed.
- Damages: list who will be in charge of covering different types of damages.
- Insurance: specify whether having insurance is compulsory and who will be in charge of paying it.
- Signature: Make sure that all the people involved will sign the forms.
If the agreements are in PDF format, one can sign digitally. This is legally binding as the traditional signature.
Roommate Agreement: Most Important Terms to Define
This type of room lease agreement usually specifies each of the parties that will be living in the property. In this paper, the owner of the property gives the tenants the right to rent the house to others too. In this way, all the roommates can have their agreements.
- Control. Tenants can keep track of who comes and rents a room.
- Prices. Tenants can set the prices for each roommate.
- Responsibilities. The tenant is responsible for paying the rent, even if the other roommates do not pay on time.
- Eviction. When one of the people has to be evicted, the tenant will have to pay the expenses.
Room Rental Agreement Sample
There are many ways to draft a simple rental agreement. The easiest way to do this is by following this free PDF room rental agreement template and adapt it to the specific situation!
This Agreement between [Name of the landlord] (“Homeowner”) and [Name of the tenant] (“Renter”) is a legally binding contract in which all the parties involved agree on the expectations and responsibilities of each of them. This document states the rights of the roommates to ensure a healthy home environment.
Renter is leasing from the Homeowner a room in the property located at [HOME ADDRESS] (“Home”).
- The Renter will pay an amount of $XXX.XX per month beginning on [START DATE]. This will be due on the first day of each month. Should the contract begin in the middle of the month, the renter will only have to pay an amount proportional to the number of days of that month he will live in the property.
- The Renter will pay a security deposit in the amount of $XXX.XX, which shall be returned when this contract ends, should everything be in the condition it was received.
- Any of the parties can decide to terminate this Contract as long as they provide a written notice 30 days in advance. The homeowner can do so with a period of 7 days if there are infractions to this Agreement.
- The rent includes the cost of most bills, with the exception of the ones below. The renter will have to pay part of the utilities in the percentages stated below.
- Internet – [%XX ]
- Gas/Electricity – [%XX]
- Phone – [%XX]
- Water – [%XX]
- Cable/Satellite TV – [%XX]
- Garbage – [%XX]
- Other – [%XX]
- General Rules:
- Behaviour in the bedrooms: [RULES]
- Kitchen policies: [SPECIFY]
- Cleaning obligations: [RULES]
- Quiet hours: [HOURS]
- Use of the common areas: [POLICIES]
- Smoking: [OBLIGATIONS]
- Internet: [RULES]
- Alcohol/drug consumption: [LAWS]
- Guests: [RULES]
- Use of shared appliances: [SPECIFICATIONS]
- Bringing friends over: [RIGHTS]
- Pets: [POLICIES]
- Others: [INDICATE]
- All the parties involved agree to do everything within their power to maintain harmony in the property. Should any differences arise, they will work together to resolve them. This can include meetings and bringing the third party to help solve a problem.
- Additional policies. The extra rules set in this agreement are:
- Changes. This contract is an agreement among all the parties involved and cannot be changed unless all of them agree to do so in writing. No verbal understandings can contradict the terms set forth in this document.
- Signature of the Homeowner:
- Signature of the renter:
What to Include in the Room Rental Agreement
When drafting a free real estate contract, there is a lot of room to add different clauses depending on the wishes of every party. Still, there are some things that always have to be there to avoid misunderstandings or intentional misinterpretations of the agreements. These are the top things to always include.
- Names: Every party involved that is 18 years old or older should be mentioned in the contract. So, if it is a full family that will be moving there, one should specify the names of all the adult members, not only the head of the family. In this way, every person that is going to live in the apartment is aware of their rights and obligations and ensures to abide by them. This also means that if one of the people leaves, the others will be in charge of paying.
- Limitations: The landlord should establish that only the names that appear in the room agreement can live in the property. In this way, no strangers can come and spend an indeterminate amount of time in the place. This means that the owner can evict anyone who brings another person to live in the house.
- Terms: The real estate document has to say if it is fixed for a specific term or it is rather simple. The period of time it lasts can be just a few months or many years, depending on what the people involved agree on. They should also state how flexible this can be.
- Rent: The contract will have to say how much is due per month and which are going to be the accepted payment methods. This is key so that the landlord can impose a penalty when the money comes in late.
- Other fees: The rental contract should also state the amount of the security deposit, and on which occasions it can be used. It is also important to say when it will be returned to the tenant. Make sure to be clear in how this is going to work because this is a very common cause of misunderstandings between people and may bring about legal issues.
- Repairs: To keep the property in a good state, the real estate contract should be specific about who will be in charge of covering the maintenance costs, should it be necessary. The tenant should keep the place clean and let the owner know if something happens. If he wants to add anything new to the room, this should be discussed and agreed on by everyone involved.
- Arranged Check-up: To see that the room is being kept in a good state, the owner will want to enter the room every now and then. As the tenant will want to have his privacy protected, both people should specify how they want this procedure to work. They should state how often the landlord can go into the place and how long the notice period should be, among others.
- Ban Illegal Actions: Avoid misunderstandings and clarify in the contract that no illegal actions will be tolerated in the building. This may seem obvious, but with some people, it is not. So, it is always better to make a list of all the activities that are forbidden, like making use of illegal substances, for example.
- Pets: The room rental agreement has to make it clear whether the owner allows pets to enter the property or not. If they can go in, then there should be a set of rules stating when they can go out or in, who will clean up after them, possible actions to carry out if the animal misbehaves, etc.
- Local Laws: Include all the regulations that limit the contract. Some of the things to watch out for include health policies, anti-discrimination rules, rent control laws, etc. In these cases, it is always best to seek professional advice to avoid leaving anything important out.
In What Situations a Room Rental Agreement is Needed
It is not always necessary to have a contract in place, though it is always advisable. Still, there are some situations in which it is always a must to have them. Otherwise, the consequences can be awful for all the parties involved. For this, templates and forms are always useful. Explore which are those scenarios below.
The Tenant Has a Partner
If the person who is renting a room is involved with another person, they may want to have them over very often, maybe even for whole days or weeks at a time. In these cases, it is always best to make it clear from the beginning what is and what is not allowed. This is important since having an extra person means more expenses in terms of bills.
There Are Frequent Guests
If there are people coming and going all the time, this may be bothersome. To maintain the privacy and tranquillity of the place, it is better to make a room rental agreement where it is clear on which days if any, it is possible to throw a party or bring people over.
There Are Costs and Tasks to Be Divided
The best way to avoid ending up being the only person doing the dishes or paying for supplies has a contract in place. This allows everyone to decide which are the costs to be shared and how much each person is going to contribute.
There Is a Need for Quiet Hours
To avoid noise complaints from neighbours, it is always best to set during which times every party should keep quiet. This is key to be comfortable both physically and mentally.
There Are Pets Involved
When the tenant brings a pet to the building, it is a good idea to make clear the rules regarding this aspect in a room rental agreement. In this way, one can state which are good times to take the animal out, who will be in charge of cleaning after them, who should pay if the pet breaks something, etc.
To Maintain Healthy Living Standards
If the other party smokes or drinks, one should have a room rental agreement to state when and where it is allowed to do so. Otherwise, this may bring about recurrent problems with everyone involved.
To Ensure a Peaceful Living
Many a room rental agreement will include clauses regarding what is and is not allowed to do in the property. This will help to separate tasks and ensure that everyone is on the same page. These things cannot be enforced legally, but if the other person is responsible, the contract will serve to ensure good cooperation.
The Effects of Not Having a Room Rental Agreement
Having a real estate contract in place is essential for everyone’s peace of mind. If there is not one, both the owner and the tenants will live in constant distress, guessing at what they can and cannot do. These are some of the most common consequences of not having one of these templates.
The List for Owners or Landlords
- Tenants are not likely to pay rental fees on time, and it will be hard to charge them with penalties since the rules will not be clear.
- It may not be easy to get them to pay for their share of the utility bills since this has not been clarified.
- The other people may not be willing to pay for the damages caused by themselves if this has not been discussed in a contract.
- House harmony will be at risk since the tenants will not know which are their responsibilities.
- There may be illegal activities going on in the room, since the rules may not be entirely clear.
- The need to pay for lawyers may arise to solve legal issues in terms of transactions, especially if there are no legal documents, like a rental agreement, backing this up.
- Roommates may leave early and without notice, which will set the landlord in a desperate search for a new person.
The List for Tenants
- The owner may be shady, and so it will be hard to live with them. Having a contract set up from the beginning will be a clear example of the type of person the other party is.
- There may be unexpected fees or penalties that were not clear from the beginning. This will also affect when it is necessary to pay them and how much the amount will be.
- Not having a room rental contract may affect one’s credit score, since there may be problems with the homeowner.
- Since one does not know everything related to room maintenance, one may end up with broken parts and will have to pay to repair them.
Learn the Local Laws and Regulations
Renting laws are very diverse and change from one state to the other, and even between cities. So, to avoid breaking the law without knowing, it is always best to do some research. Get to know about the restrictions in place in the location, and if they apply to the property in question.
In some cases, policies may even ban having people who are not family share a house. There may also be limitations in terms of how many people can live in a house of a certain size. To prevent surprises, it is best to get acquainted with the zoning laws.
Some areas may put requirements in place, rather than restrictions. For example, some laws ask for an inspection of the place to be rented before it goes to the tenant.
Rules About Discrimination
When choosing the person that will be sharing the property, there are some local laws that will apply and limit the rental agreement. One of them is that it is forbidden to use discriminatory words in a house listing or to reject someone on the basis of racist ideas.
The Cases Protected by the Law Are:
- Mental/Physical Disability
- Nationality /Ethnic Background
- Familial Status
- There may be more depending on the local laws
Yet, in the case of roommates, the law is more flexible, since it understands that the parties will have to share the house. And two people who do not tolerate each other will have serious problems.
In this way, it may be possible to post a listing looking for a female roommate only. Or if someone practices a specific religion, it may be possible to advertise looking for someone who shares or at least understands those beliefs.
The Steps to Find a Good Roommate
Having someone to live with is like committing to a long-term relationship. So, before thinking about a generic room rental agreement, one should worry about finding a good partner! These are the steps.
Talk to Others
One of the most efficient and reliable ways to find a roommate is by word of mouth.
Let friends and acquaintances know that there is a search for a partner, and they will recommend people who one can trust.
Promote on Social Media
Promote the listing via platforms like Facebook or Instagram. As people share it, many others in the area will see it. In this way, the reach of the ad will expand a lot.
Post a Listing
One of the oldest but still effective ways to find someone is posting a listing in a local newspaper. Many people look there for renting opportunities. So, there is a wide audience.
Meeting with the Potential Roommate
Once many people show their interest in the place, the best way to narrow down the options is by interviewing. Make sure to screen them carefully and leave out all those who do not seem compatible with the inhabitants of the property.
Screening the Roommate
For this, it is a good practice to have a set of important questions that will help decide who is a good fit. Some examples could be whether the other person smokes or not, or if they get up early or late, etc.
Many will mention their previous landlords as references.
To make sure this is true, call them and ask them about the potential tenant’s past behaviour.
In some cases, this may not be true.
Write an Agreement
Once the other person seems like a good candidate, draft a customized room rental lease agreement that adapts to the specific situation.
Should I Rent Out Rooms in My House?
This will depend on the needs of the homeowner. If the property is big and there is a need for some extra money, then it is a good idea. Now, if someone does not like the idea of having to adapt to others and dealing with the burdens of living with more people, then it is not advisable.
How Do I Write a House Agreement?
There are many things to bear in mind when drafting a room rental agreement template. First of all, one should mention all the necessary terms, like the names of the parties, the duration of the contract, the amount of the rent, and more. Then, one should think about the policies that will make a living together easier, as the use of common spaces and whether it is allowed to smoke indoors.
How Do You Notarize a Rental Agreement?
For this, one should go to a notary public and ask him to notarize the document. They will ask for some documents, like IDs and driver’s licenses, to see the identities of the parties. This shows that none of the parties is fake and that all of them agree to the contract.
Who Is the First Party in Rent Agreement?
This will depend on how the roommate rental agreement is drafted. Usually, the first party is the homeowner. But in some cases, it may be the first person who rents one of the rooms. This aspect varies.
How Much Should I Charge Someone to Rent a Room in My House?
The amount can be agreed on by both parties or set by the owner using the agreement template. To decide on how much to charge, one should do some market research and see what other rooms cost. If one asks for too much money, people will go to other places. But make sure not to underprice the place and avoid losing cash.
How Many Lodgers Can I Have?
Some local laws prohibit having more than a certain number of people per house. Check out if this is the case in the city of the property. If there are no restrictions, then it will depend on what people are willing to accept. In some places, it is customary for small families or couples to share a room, for example.
To Lease or Not to Lease?
While renting out a room will help a lot pay out a mortgage and have some extra money at the end of the month, this is something that has to be planned carefully. After all, one will share their daily life with the other person. And the best one can do for this to happen successfully is to have a contract, even if it is a simple one-page lease agreement.