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Is It Important To Add Your Roommates To The Lease?

Roommates. Depending on your experience, this word can make you cringe with memories of fights over who drank the last bit of milk in the fridge, or it can make you smile fondly while you remember meeting your best friend in a random roommate pairing at college. Either way, roommates are a reality for most young people until they can afford the luxury of living alone. Most people elect to continue to have roommates of some type even after college, simply because it makes living comfortably more affordable. However, sharing a dwelling with another person gets more complicated when you’re dealing with lease-signing an actual property other than your university dorm room. Whether you’re considering signing a lease with a significant other, friend, or random stranger who answered your Craigslist ad, there are a few things you should consider:

Finances and Expectations

First, there are a few things you need to address with and learn about your new roommates, even if they are someone you already know well. Financial status is important. When you sign a lease with someone, you are still contractually obligated to pay each month. So if you’re relying on another person to pay a portion of the rent, then knowing whether that person has the financial means to support this payment is extremely important.

No, this doesn’t mean you need access to each other’s bank accounts. But you should have a general understanding of whether or not each roommate has a steady income. Do they have family support, if they can’t pay the rent? Knowing this up front may prevent any worry about whether you will all be able to keep up with payments.

It is also important to talk through expectations of how long each member intends to stay in the lease. If you learn halfway through a lease that your roommate is moving out, that will put a major dent in your life plan.

Finally, because many rental properties don’t allow pets, you need to know if your roommates already have pets that they intend to move into the property — and if so, what kind of a deposit that requires. 

Understanding Your Lease

Next, to avoid costly mistakes during your lease period, the best route is to ensure you and all of the roommates clearly understand the lease provisions and what is expected of you as tenants/roommates. This can also protect you from incurring any unnecessary fees for violating a provision that you didn’t know existed or leaves you on the hook for liability. Basically, you don’t want to pay a big fine later for your roommate putting nails in the walls because they didn’t bother to read the lease.

Why You Should Add All Roommates to Your Lease

While it may seem cheaper and easier to have a roommate move in without putting them on the lease, this can lead to legal problems down the road. Roommates should always ensure the lease provides for the correct and accurate number of people to reside in the property so no one person is left liable if something goes wrong. In addition, all roommates need to be aware that if one person fails to pay, each person listed on the lease is legally liable for the full amount of rent.

Finally, make sure you’re all on the same page with your living arrangement. So decide in advance:

  • Who will actually pay the rent
  • When you all have to reimburse each other
  • Who will pay utilities and other expenses
  • How expenses will be split up
  • How you’ll split chores
  • Anything else that might be expected of your living situation.

You’ll have a better experience all around if you first make sure everyone is on the same page with living expectations, boundaries, details of the lease, and other possible issues. If you want to have a professional review your lease prior to moving in, just contact Danielson Law Firm!

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Fayetteville Law Office

(479) 935-8313

909 Rolling Hills Dr.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Booneville Law Office

(479) 935-8060

4 Village Loop
Booneville, AR 72927

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