The Roommate Agreement

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 3:08 AM | Posted By: Donje Putnam
The Roommate Agreement

In this economy especially, many of us are turning to living with a roommate to save money on rent.  It usually works out well, you split the cost of rent, utilities, and some general use items.  Sometimes the roommate relationship does not work out, and it is important to thoroughly investigate the person with whom you are going to live.  From a landlord point of view, we have a few tips about living with roommates.

Pictured: Sheldon and Leonard (Jim Parsons & Johnny Galecki) have an ironclad Roommate Agreement.

    1. It’s easier to qualify with a roommate.  Typically, each person has to make three times the rent to qualify, but in a roommate situation, the pair of you have to make 4 times the rent and it does not have to be 50/50.  Additionally, if you pick a good roommate with excellent credit and rental references, it can help you overcome faux pas you may have made in the past paying your bills.
    2. In most traditional apartment communities, we don’t care who pays their part of the rent.  Some student communities are different, but if you live in a regular community and your roommate doesn’t pay his share, it’s the same as if you didn’t pay.  The easiest way to think of it, is that in our eyes, the two of you are one “resident”.
    3. Even though we think of you as one “resident” we will try to help you resolve disputes.  If you have tied yourself to a roommate that plays loud music at night and you keep getting in trouble for it, come talk to us in the office.  While we can’t take sides, per se, we might be able to concentrate our efforts on the appropriate party, and we can have a discussion with both of you to try to help you work things out.
    4. You can also do a roommate release, which will let you get the offender out of the apartment and allow you to find a better roommate.  Both parties have to agree to it and the deposit will be refunded to the remaining roommate.  You have to sign this document in front of us for your protection.
    5. Have an agreement with your roommate before you move in. I don’t mean that you have to bust out the Sheldon & Leonard Roommate Agreement, but you should have some general courtesy rules that you both agree to.
    6. Friends as roommates. Honestly, I’m not sure this works.  I have seen a lot of friends move in with the best intentions and end up not liking one another after living together.  I’m not saying don’t try it, but just be aware that some of your friends are hard to live with. :)

Having a roommate can definitely save you money, and one great thing about our floor plans at our Hampton apartments, is that they are very roommate friendly!  Each has two bathrooms, and the rooms are separated by a large living area.  Just make sure you have the right roommate, and then come by and see us!

Filed Under: Apartment Living


About the Author

Donje Putnam has over 15 years experience in the multi-family housing industry and has worked at many different types of apartment communities, from tax credit to high end and from 88 units to 400.  Her favorite thing about being in "the industry" is that you learn a little bit about everything!  She lives in Newport News, VA with her husband, two kids, a very calm dog, a very hyper dog and a very aloof cat. 


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