Free Sample Roommate Rental Agreement
So your tenants are going to have roommates. This is great for some reasons but also can create problems for you. Now you need to figure out how to protect yourself and your tenants from each other. That’s why we have over 48 free sample forms to help you out.
First, roommates should be screened the same way you would screen your own tenant. Check out this article about avoiding bad tenants to help you.
1. Screen The Roommate Too
A Roommate Rental Agreement will spell out who pays for damage when one person creates problems.
Before you even consider putting two tenants together as roommates, you need to screen them exactly how you screen the first tenant.
The reason is very simple – a problem with one tenant is the same as having a problem with both.
If one tenant causes damage, both pay. If one doesn’t pay rent, the other probably won’t pay for both. Disputes can cause one tenant to move which means the other probably will move to somewhere smaller.
The list goes on…
So, you should screen the roommate’s background, income, and rental history exactly how you would screen anyone else.
2. Have a Primary Tenant with a Sub-Lease to the Roommate with a Roommate Agreement
What exactly does this mean? Take a look at the graphic to help explain:
Use a Roommate Rental Agreement and Sub-Lease in order to manage the money and problem flow
So in the first example, you can see that problems between the tenants can also become your problems. If you have a lease with two tenants on it and no sub-lease arrangement then this is how it will be structured. Not only will you have to deal with problems from each of the tenants, but any issues that arise between the tenants also becomes your problem.
With option 2, you can see that all money and problems flow through the primary tenant. If there is a problem between the two, the primary tenant still owes you rent. You have effectively limited your risks by having the tenant agreement structured as a sub-lease.
3. Be Extremely Cautious If you Do Have two “Co-Equal” Tenants
If you do decide to rent to two unrelated people, you need to be very specific about a number of things in the agreement. Consider this list of potential problems:
- Who is responsible for clean up expenses when one tenant moves out?
- What if there is damage to the common area and they blame each other?
- If rooms are of different sizes, how is rent divided?
- How do they split utilities?
- What happens when one roommate stops paying but the other keeps paying?
- and so on…
So, just make sure you cover every single of these issues (and more) in your lease agreement. Not only are you protecting yourself as the landlord, but you could be protecting the innocent tenant when the other one becomes a problem.
Oh yea, and don’t forget to make sure BOTH tenants have renter’s insurance. Read my article about requiring tenants to have insurance.
Note: All information is for informational purposes only. Everything provided here is not legal advice. It is my own experience and documents that I have personally used and should be used as reference to help you. I do not know if it will work for you or in your jurisdiction.