9 Reasons You Need a Roommate Agreement

Whether you’re living with an acquaintance, relative or friend, establishing a roommate agreement can help you maintain a peaceful environment. It sets a precedent and provides a good foundation to fall back on during conflict.

Roommate agreement for rent room and keys

What is a Roommate Agreement?

It’s a legally binding document that you and your roommate sign before or at move-in. It isn’t required and doesn’t involve your landlord or property manager. However, it presents an opportunity to talk about preferences. It’s an effective way to avoid disagreements about responsibilities like who pays the electric bill and who buys groceries.

#1: Plan Rent Payments

Will one person submit your rental payment or will you pay your landlord separately?

Share the cost of rent evenly or adjust it based on your living arrangements and income. For example, you could make a case for paying a lower portion of the rent if you have a smaller bedroom. Discuss how to handle late fees and who will pay them if they’re incurred.

#2: Determine How to Pay Utilities

There are different ways to divvy up utilities, so clarify your preference. You can split the cost of utilities or divide them by type if your rent doesn’t include gas, electricity, water and internet. If you don’t want to create multiple accounts to pay, one of you could make the full payment while the other compensates their portion via cash, check or app.

#3: Delegate Chores

You and your roommate may have separate definitions of clean. Create a cleaning routine to determine which tasks should be done weekly, monthly and seasonally.

Being respectful of common spaces like the kitchen, living room and bathroom can reduce the chance of conflict. Establish a rotating schedule for common tasks such as organizing your space, washing the dishes and vacuuming to share the responsibility.

#4: Discuss Guests and Social Activities

Consider these questions:

  • Are guests (i.e. friends, significant others, etc.) allowed to stay overnight?
  • Where will guests stay if they spend the night?
  • Is it okay to host gatherings at your apartment?
  • How often do you prefer to have guests?
  • What time are guests expected to leave?
  • What items can guests use in your apartment?

Answering those questions will clarify your stance on visitors to address differing opinions and find resolutions.

#5: Accommodate Quiet Hours

Rest and relaxation are essential. Your roommate may need quiet to sleep, so define what level of noise is disruptive. That includes TV sounds, music and conversation. Try setting quiet hours that vary during the week and on weekends.

#6: Clarify Shared Household Items

Will you buy your own food and personal items?

Are there certain things, like milk or laundry soap, that you can buy for communal use?

Create guidelines explaining which items are shareable and which aren’t. You should also talk about how those shared items will be replaced once they’re gone.

#7: Establish a Pet Policy

Living with a pet in an apartment requires planning, especially if you have a roommate. It’s also useful to set ground rules if either of you are considering getting a pet.

Designate who’s responsible for:

  • Feeding
  • Exercising
  • Bathing
  • Training
  • Pet-sitting

If one of you is the primary caregiver, what’s the plan if that person moves out? Who takes custody of the animal? Answering those questions early on can prevent disputes and stress.

#8: Plan for Conflict Resolution

Disagreements happen, even if you and your roommate are in sync. Talk about your preferred communication styles to determine how to resolve issues peacefully. Decide how to contact each other once you’ve calmed down.

#9 Create an Early Move-Out Policy

One of you could move out unexpectedly, which can be problematic for the remaining roommate. Set up arrangements for covering costs and paying back the security deposit.

It’s almost important to discuss these questions:

  • How soon should the departing roommate give notice?
  • Are they responsible for finding a replacement?
  • Will they pay for the remaining rent and utilities?

Apartments for Roommates in Columbus, Ohio

Whether you’re looking for an apartment or a townhouse, Ardent Communities has a variety of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom spaces to accommodate you and your roommate. View our locations and contact us to schedule a tour.

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