Some basic facts about a Roommate Agreement

The most basic of facts about a Roommate Agreement is that simply put, it’s an arrangement between people who live in the same house in regards to their responsibilities to each other. In other words, it is a contract that regulates important lifestyle questions between tenants. Questions such as: will smoking be allowed, will pets be allowed, how will the rent be split up, etc. These are all important questions that need to be resolved if you decide to move to a renting apartment. Some landlords will require you to sign a roommate agreement, and sometimes you will want to do it willingly, so you can protect your best interests. It doesn’t matter if you are moving locally or cross-country, it’s important to know some basic facts about this legal document, and the rights and responsibilities that come with it.

facts about a Roommate Agreement
A roommate agreement is a contract between you and your roommate. It regulates all your important rights and obligations to each other.

Basic facts about a Roommate Agreement

So the only time you are going to have to trouble yourself with a roommate agreement is if you end up, well, living with a roommate. Meaning that you are probably leasing that home from a landlord. It’s quite hard to imagine making a roommate agreement with someone with whom you are not a roommate, wouldn’t you agree? That’s all well and good, but what does this practically mean? Well, this is where things get a little bit more complex.

Is a roommate agreement the same as a lease?

In other words, what’s the difference between a lease and a roommate agreement? Well, let us explain using an example.

The example of a lease…

Imagine the following scenario: you have finally decided to move to Florida. You have packed your belongings, hired interstate moving companies Florida and relocated to a new apartment. You greet the landlord, and while you receive a warm welcome, you also get a piece of paper to sign. In big bold letters, it reads leasing contract. The landlords explain that he will let you live in this apartment if you are willing to pay some money every month. You are glad to do so.

signing a piece of papper
A leasing contract is a contract between you and your landlord. It is proof that he has in fact given you the apartment for which you are paying rent.

..and the roommate agreement.

However, you start thinking that it would be more profitable if you could get one more person to live with you so you can split the rent? And so, you go on the internet and post an ad that you are looking for a roommate. And lo and behold, three days later, you now have a person to share an apartment and rent with. However, you suddenly remember the words of your beloved mother “do not trust strangers“. And so, instead of trusting that person that he will pay rent monthly, and will not have parties every day until 2 am, you decide to create a roommate agreement.

The difference between a roommate agreement and a lease

So hopefully, by the end of this example, you have learned that a lease is not the same as a roommate agreement. Since a roommate agreement is based on the relationship between you and the roommate, and the lease is a relationship built between you and the landlord.  The roommate agreement actually crystallizes the way parties adhere to the lease. So after you have found movers near you, you know exactly what your next move is, if you decide to move in a leased apartment.

One of the basic facts about a Roommate Agreement – the importance

By now you hopefully understand what a roommate agreement is, however, why would you ever use it or need it? When moving, you need packing boxes, long distance movers Boca Raton, time and patience, organization… But do you really need a roommate agreement? Well, we have foreshadowed this in the introduction. Sometimes it is not a question of your willingness to have a roommate agreement or not. Sometimes it’s actually a way of life.

Some landlords will require you to craft a roommate agreement no matter who you are roommates with. It can be a friend you had known since high school. They simply do not care. And if you want to live in that apartment you must adhere to that. It’s kind of a sad truth. However, those cases are far and between. What is the actual reason most people craft these legal documents though is more profound and simple.

One of the basic facts about a Roommate Agreement – protecting one’s interests

Probably the most important fact you want to know about the roommate agreement is its actual purpose. That being, protecting the interest of the parties that signed that contract. Now while this document does not adhere to any strict form… The best way to prove in court that you had an agreement with the roommate is a signed piece of paper. You can acquire these roommate agreements anywhere online. The important part is to regulate the parts of your life that are crucial to you. However, open communication is key. You don’t want to keep things under the rug, make sure you keep your roommate notified what makes you tick.

a man wearing a medieval suit and shield
A roommate agreement is a great way to protect your interests!

In conclusion

There are a couple of things in need of mention in the summary regarding the important facts about a Roommate Agreement. Thing number one is to understand the difference between a roommate agreement and a lease. You see, a lease is a contract that you would have with your landlord. While a roommate agreement is a contract between you the person you are living with. Thing number two to keep in mind is the importance of creating a roommate agreement. While there are a number of reasons why one person would make such a contract, the most important one is to protect your interests in the flat you are living in.

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