How To Draw Up a Roommate Agreement – Your Complete Guide
Even among trustworthy roommates, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. A roommate agreement is there to protect—and benefit—all parties, so don’t shy away from creating yours. Enzo makes it easy to share and manage the guidelines you set out. Here’s all you need to know to formulate yours.
You may think of how fun it will be to share your space with others, imagining all the good times you’ll have. But that’s only half the picture. If you don’t have a roommate agreement in place, you’re putting everybody’s peace at risk. Almost anything can spark conflict between different people sharing one space.
Let’s help you prevent misunderstandings and maintain a healthy living environment for all. It all starts with an informative roommate agreement. Use our tips and you won’t have to miss out on those fun times.
Is a Roommate Agreement Really Necessary?
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already found a roommate or become someone’s flat mate. Whether you are the lessor or lessee, whether it’s temporary or permanent and whether the other party is your best friend or a stranger, a roommate rental agreement is a must-have!
Your house is your safe space, and although sharing spaces with friends could be fun, there can be major issues if there are no set rules. Conflict is sure to arise even if a roommate is your best friend. After all, no two people are exactly alike, and you’ll have different views on everything from cleaning schedules to acceptable sound levels and what should be on the week’s menu. This can create lots of tension and can ruin a relationship if not handled correctly.
For one thing, it’s crucial to ensure you can resolve conflict in a civil way. So, be willing to talk about issues and compromise when necessary. Resources like a roommate agreement are helpful in these circumstances:
- It can simplify conversations because you can refer to its rules to remind someone of what you expect of them.
- An agreement can even prevent conflict, since you’ll agree on certain guidelines that will suit both parties’ preferences.
An agreement protects your and your roommate’s interests. Also, with the help of the Enzo app you can enforce the ground rules and ensure a good workflow for everything from payments to chores. When you have the right guidelines and tools in place, sharing your space should be a breeze!
What Should be on a Roommate Agreement?
Important Details to Include in Your Agreement
An agreement can be informal, but the more details you add—and if you consider it almost as a legal document—it serves you better. For this reason, add the following:
- Indicate the details of all parties involved. This includes your names and surnames, ID numbers, and contact numbers.
- The property details, such as:
- Physical address
- Whether it’s rented or owned by one of the occupants
- Furnished, or unfurnished
- Pet-friendly or not
- Maximum number of occupants allowed, as well as the current number of flat mates.
- The occupation and termination dates
- Rental amount each party is responsible for, including the utility costs.
General Guidelines to Cover in a Roommate Agreement
All roommate agreements are unique, since you need to customize it to suit your particular situation. The following categories are points to consider and discuss before stipulating guidelines and signing the agreement.
Equal Division of Chores and Payments
Chores and payments are equally important. Both need to get done, and no one wants to be left responsible for someone else’s dirty work or outstanding payments!
The roommate agreement should clearly state who is responsible for which part of hygiene maintenance and financial management. For example, who will purchase cleaning materials or the week’s groceries and how do you divide up daily chores? Also, by which day do you expect everyone to pay their month’s rent.
Enzo tip: the Enzo app offers many features to assist with daily household management. This includes cleaning chores and living expenses.
Day Visitors and Overnight Guests
The roommate agreement should clearly stipulate the rules regarding day visitors and overnight guests:
- When day visitors come over, how should other parties be informed and how long before the guests arrive must everyone be notified?
- What are acceptable noise levels when one roommate has friends over?
- Which rooms are off limits to visitors?
- If overnight guests are allowed, the roommate agreement should stipulate for how long, and if any additional costs will need to be paid.
- Day and overnight guests should do their part to keep the house clean.
- No visitor should disrupt the day-to-day routines too much.
Rather be honest and go into detail regarding expectations for having visitors in your home. After all, it may be hard enough to deal with a messy roommate. You don’t want his or her messy friends to make it even worse. When rules are in place, you can simply ask the roommate to abide by them, without much discussion necessary.
Will Pets & Parties Be Allowed?
Not everyone likes to party, and not everyone likes pets. Both can get messy too! Agree on what you expect from your roommates to manage situations where pets or parties are involved.
Agree on when parties would be allowed and when quiet nights are called for, such as when one roommate is ill or is studying for an exam.
A good rule is to state that the party host must take responsibility for the house being restored to its full glory by the next morning. He or she must ensure there are no noise complaints from neighbors. If such issues arise, the host will handle it, instead of other roommates managing the conflict or asking the party guests to quiet down.
If pets are allowed, the roommate agreement should clearly state what type of animals are acceptable and how many. It is safe to say a large breed dog in a block of flats would not be possible, so stick to smaller dogs only. And if one roommate is allergic to cats, other flat mates will need to accept that they can’t have feline friends.
If both parties have or want pets, it’s crucial the animals get along. A meet and greet may be necessary before you sign the contract.
Who is Responsible for Buying Food and Cooking?
If each roommate is responsible for their own food and cooking, this aspect is easy to manage. But there’s always the chance that one flat mate takes someone else’s milk without asking. The roommate agreement should clearly stipulate the rules for buying food and cooking and also consequences if someone doesn’t adhere to the rules. You can charge penalty fees to ensure everyone keeps to the rules.
If you decide to share this expense and responsibility, set out basic guidelines in the agreement. The tasks should be divided equally among all roommates.
The Security Deposit
A security deposit is exactly what it says – it gives a sense of security. Stipulate whether only one party pays this to the landlord, or whether all roommates pay a share. It’s ideal if everyone contributes, because if anyone leaves without paying for certain damages, the other roommates won’t be left with the bills.
The agreement should state how and when security deposits will be returned when roommates move out, to protect all parties. The guidelines help roommates that are moving out to plan their budgets and cashflow.
Termination of the Roommate Agreement
The agreement should state how long any party should give notice if they plan on moving out. Other parties need enough time to either find other lodgings if they decide to move out too or find a new roommate.
Property rentals usually have fixed terms, and terminating the contract early may lead to some penalties. If you’re renting from a landlord and only one of you is the main lessee, that individual will still be responsible for monthly payments for the remainder of the contract, even if a roommate leaves.
We suggest you add a clause to your roommate agreement stating under which circumstances early termination will be allowed without any penalty payments. These penalty fees can help cover upcoming months’ rent. You can agree to cancel the penalty fees if a new roommate is found.
These guidelines clarify for all concerned what would happen in these circumstances, so you can budget and plan accordingly.
A roommate agreement provides a sense of security. Don’t think of it as giving one roommate the upper hand over the other. It is merely there to protect both parties and make your time together easier to manage.
Make sure your agreement covers all relevant topics. Then, adhere to it to keep the peace. It’s that simple!
If this agreement was carefully drafted with both parties’ best interests at heart, there is no reason why shared living circumstances can’t be one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.
And remember, Enzo can help you manage so much of your day-to-day life even more efficiently!