When you live with roommates, even the smallest of disagreements can make the living situation difficult. Nip any problems in the bud or before they start by drafting a roommate lease agreement as soon as you move in together. The agreement should include the costs of living together, as well as any other expectations and requirements you all agree on. Keep in mind that your roommate lease agreement is not the same as the lease you sign with your landlord.
Type "Roommate Agreement" at the top of the page, centered and in bold if you prefer. Below that, type "This agreement made between," then type the names of yourself and each of your roommates. Also include the dates that the agreement is valid and the full address of the apartment or house. It makes sense to have the agreement last as long as your lease.
Create a numbered list for each section of the agreement. The first section should be rent. List the total cost of rent for the house or apartment, then list what each of you will pay. You might decide to split the rent evenly or have the person with the bigger room pay more per month. Also include who will handle paying the landlord and when she is expected to make the payments.
List the utilities you are expected to pay each month and how the amounts will be divided among you and your roommates. You might take on the entire electric bill while your roommate pays the gas bill and you both split the cost of Internet or cable equally. If you are splitting the costs, include who will handle paying the bills and when the other roommates need to pay the other person.
Create a section laying out who is responsible for damages to the property or other issues with the house. For example, if one of you damages the wall, decide if all of you for only the person who did the damage will be held liable. Also include damages to your personal property and what will happen if one of you breaks the other's property.
Add a section detailing how household chores and tasks will be handled. You might agree to split the chores equally or assign specific roommates specific tasks. If cleanliness at home is important to you, consider setting up a specific schedule for each chore.
Include another section that delineates how you will share items, such as food and electronics. One roommate could be responsible for grocery shopping, or you could each perform your own and share food as needed. Some roommates do not want to share their personal property or foods. Be clear about privacy and sharing from the start to keep problems out of the picture.
Add a section about guests. Decide when guests are allowed in the house and how long they can stay. For example, if you are in school, you probably don't want your roommate to throw a party when you are trying to study for finals. Additionally, you might not want the boyfriend or girlfriend of a roommate to stay there so often that he or she is living rent free.
Create a final section that focuses on what happens if a roommate needs to break the agreement and move out early. The roommate who is moving might need to find a replacement or agree to cover her portion of the rent until someone else moves in.
Type a line for the signature of each person living in the house, with each person's name below the signature line. Print one copy of the agreement per roommate and have each person sign and date each copy. You might want to hang one copy of the agreement in a prominent area, such as on the refrigerator or by the door.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images