Step 14: Roommate Contract

After moving in, it is important to set some ground rules. Creating a roommate contract can save time later and act as a good guideline to follow if any disputes come up. The contract outlines the terms, conditions and responsibilities agreed to by each of the residents in relation to how they share space, and how they divide rent and other expenses. Think about what you expect from a roommate and what your roommate(s) may expect from you. Decide what types of behavior or habits are acceptable and what isn’t in your new shared living space. Some questions to consider:

Is there a certain time during the week or weekends that volume should be kept down? How often is the home being cleaned, and by who? Who does the dishes? Takes out the trash?

Roommate agreements are legally binding contract between residents. Some parts are unlikely to be legally enforced – such as who should be doing dishes. However, any financial agreements listed in a roommate contract – such as rent amount per roommate and utilities – can be legally enforced by a judge. If one roommate isn’t paying rent, the other roommates could take legal action against the offender and avoid a bad mark on their credit records as long as payment is specified in the roommate contract.

Find a copy of a Roommate Contract here.

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