The prospect of having a roommate is usually blissful. Whether you are sharing an apartment with a friend or an acquaintance, extra company and additional income tends to go along way. In such circumstances, common courtesy is assumed: keep the noise-level down, respect personal space, and clean up after yourself, among others. Despite these conventions, problems between roommates can arise and a Lease agreement between Landlord offers no material remedy for handling tension nor
does it explain how roommates are going to live together. A roommate agreement is a contract made between the residents of a rental unit, outlining the conditions, responsibilities, and expectations agreed to by the parties therein. Also referred to as roommate contracts, these documents address matters such as household duty and restrictions, the apportionment of rent and security deposit, the portion of utilities to be paid by each roommate, house rules, terms relating to how the tenancy can be terminated, and any other terms the parties may deem necessary to the contract. A roommate agreement is a formal way to manage the expectations of residents and protect against hostility when issues arise, but how do you determine if you should make an agreement?
A Roommate Agreement sets the ground rules
Whether you are residing with a complete stranger or a close friend, it is important to be upfront and establish a roommate relationship where two individuals are expected to co-exist and share a single space. A roommate agreement makes each roommate’s role clear, especially with respect to house rules and responsibilities. Having a discussion about the financial aspect of a roommate scenario is actually the easy part. Most roommates do not hesitate to make clear who is responsible for what expense; both parties recognize the obligation goes beyond their relationship. However, an obligation to abide my house rules only exists between the roommates. For example, if one party fails to pay the electric bill, it can effect their credit and the service provider may disconnect the service. If one party fails to take the trash out however, the repercussion is an angry roommate. An agreement forces the parties to have the uncomfortable conversations upfront thereby creating a healthy residential environment.
A Roommate Agreement serves as a referee
The roommate agreement may seem like a burdensome task especially at the start of a new living arrangement, but is a reliable tool to refer to down the line. If a problem arises and tenants are at odds with how to de-escalate an issue, you can simply refer to the agreement to amend a situation according to the terms therein. For example, if there are specific terms regulating house chores and one party is convinced that cleaning the bathroom is not his responsibility on that particular day, the agreement can
help resolve that point of contention.
A Roommate Agreement helps to regulate difficult communicators
Your roommate’s temperament and personality can have a large impact on the nature of your living relationship. Some individuals do not like to be verbally reprimanded nor do they respond well to authority or opposition. Consequently, a roommate agreement works as a mediating communicative tool. Parties to the contract can avoid potential confrontation by allowing the agreement to do the talking.
A Roommate Agreement facilitates an enjoyable living environment
Once a roommate agreement is mutually agreed upon it gives birth to a stress-free and enjoyable living environment. If the parties are able to contract terms that are mutually considerate, taking into account the needs of both residents and evenly distributing chores and responsibilities, they are likely to feel less mothered and more friendly.
Ultimately, a roommate agreement works to enhance your living arrangement. If you value your peace and space, a roommate agreement is definitely for you.