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This Agreement is entered by and between Jonas Adam, individually or collectively as the "Signee" and Jane Smith, as the "Signer", together referred to as the "Parties".
The Contract is dated [the date both parties sign].
The Parties agree that the following agreement is dependent on the terms presented as follow:
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Over 30% of adults in the United States live with a roommate. That is over 80 million Americans! This is increasingly common as people move to more dense and expensive cities like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.
Sometimes it's just more cost-effective and fun to live with someone else! However, that doesn't mean that living with a roommate is all sunshine and roses. That's why it's important to have a roommate agreement, to protect yourself and your roommates, and ensure that your rights and responsibilities are clearly understood and agreed to before you take the big step of living together.
Just like you signed a lease agreement with your landlord, so should you sign an agreement with your roommate to ensure the relationship is properly understood. It is very helpful in avoiding issues due to unspoken assumptions and ensuring that any conflicts are handled justly and quickly.
Simply put, a roommate agreement is a legally binding contract between you and one or more people that you cohabitate with. You both will sign it before living together, and it will clearly outline what your rights and responsibilities are within the apartment itself. It's important to note that the roommate agreement has nothing to do with the sublease agreement that you signed with the landlord. Although there may be some overlap in concepts, such as how much total rent is due in the sublease agreement, and then how much of that rent each of you as the roommates pay, the roommate agreement does not affect the landlord directly. However, it's important for all roommates to be very clear on what is contained in the sublease agreement itself and ensure that they follow those rules and that those rules are reflected in the roommate agreement.
Like all legal agreements, a roommate agreement is designed to set clear expectations upfront and provide a framework for resolving disputes if they arise. Often times, when two or more people are entering into a situation they may have different assumptions about things like money that, when left unstated, can create big problems in the future.
A roommate agreement is beneficial because it forces all the roommates to clearly state and agree to various assumptions, such as how much rent is paid, what parts of the rented property can or can't be used and at what times, and how much notice each person needs to give before leaving the rental itself (a.k.a., "notice of intent to vacate"). It's important to note that while roommate agreements are not required by law, they really are a best practice and help set you and your roommates up for success in living together.
You can sign a roommate agreement anyway that is convenient for you, whether that is on a printed paper copy or electronically through a popular service like Docusign. However you signed the agreement, there are several important things to remember. First, ensure that the roommate agreement is filled out completely, especially if it is created from a roommate agreement template. Ensure that you sign and date all necessary parts of the agreement, and ensure that your roommates do the same.
If you are signing the agreement in person, then ensure you print enough copies for each roommate to save for their own records. If you were signing electronically, many of the popular services will send you an email copy of the agreement for your records.
Although there is no official roommate agreement template, there are several important parts that each agreement template should have. These important parts are listed below, but be sure to consider your own situation and adapt the agreement to your particular needs.
This is the most important part of any roommate agreement because it clearly outlines the expectations and responsibilities around money. Your sublease agreement should contain clear instructions around how much rent you should pay, when you should pay it, and how you should pay it you and your roommate they need to figure out exactly how you handle this. For example, are you both going to pay the landlord separately, or will one of you be responsible for paying the landlord directly and the other one of you will pay the other one? If one of you is paying the other, then will you give that person a receipt for that payment? How will the split of the rent be allocated relative to the split of the space in the rental property itself? These all may seem like small or overly specific considerations, but they are important to think through and be explicit about upfront to avoid any disputes later on.
Rent is not the only thing you and your roommate or roommates will have to pay for. Likely you will also need to pay for utilities like water, electricity, phone service, Internet service, trash, and more. Depending on the rental property you may also have to cover things like homeowners association fees or other costs if those are not already included in your rental payment to your landlord. So figure out upfront what costs you are likely to incur, how they will be split and who will pay for them, and how they will be paid. You can always adjust the agreement later by creating a new roommate agreement template as these things change, but it’s important to have a clear discussion upfront around the expectations on your costs.
Just as your sublease agreement gave a notice period that you must follow when ending your lease by providing a notice of intent to vacate, so two should you and your roommates have a clear notice. If one of you wants to leave the rental property, just as your notice period protects the landlord, so does the notice period in your roommate agreement protect the roommate who is staying, giving them sufficient time to find another renter or another rental property if needed.
As outlined in your sublease agreement, you likely paid a security deposit when you moved in that covered you for things like breaking the rental agreement or damage to the property. If one of the roommates leaves the property early, then you need to figure out how the security deposit is returned to them if at all.
This is an optional clause but beneficial to discuss explicitly to set clear expectations upfront. This is especially important if you do not know the other person well. Do they expect to have their boyfriend or girlfriend in the apartment often? That may be a big change and an unexpected surprise for you. Similarly, if they expect to have friends from out of town staying in the apartment every weekend, that can dramatically reduce your quality of life in the rental property. So set clear expectations upfront on what type of guests are allowed and for how long.
Although the roommate agreement template is designed to avoid conflict and issues arising from mismatched expectations, those can still arise when two or more people are living in a space together. So, the roommate agreement itself should contain a description of how you will agree on resolving conflicts. For example, do you prefer to list your issues in riding when they arise, or to have a discussion over email? You should do whatever feels right for you and your roommates, but again, having a discussion around potential issues that can arise is a great way to avoid these issues in the first place.