With incomes remaining relatively stagnant, but the cost of living and rent increasing, living with a roommate is sounding like a better and better idea. Sharing space with a friend can significantly cut down on your monthly expenses, which is why more than one-third of households consist of adults living with a roommate. If you've decided to rent a house with your friend or even with a stranger you've met online, you should do your due diligence in making sure that the rental terms are written down in the contract. Otherwise, the terms and conditions you've negotiated may not be legally binding. Here are three terms and conditions you should mull over.
Penalty for Ending the Lease Prematurely
Although in an ideal situation each renter will stay the full course of the lease, things change and surprises do happen. You might end up finding a better career opportunity in another city or your roommate and friend might decide that they'd like to move in with a romantic partner instead. Regardless of the reason behind why one of you might want to end the lease prematurely, it's important that the rental contract clearly outlines the penalties involved with ending the lease prematurely. For example, consider whether the person leaving is responsible for looking for someone to take their place or whether they can still collect their security deposit if they move out early.
Responsibilities of Each Renter and the Condition of Their Separate Rooms
Living with a friend or a stranger can be quite difficult. Both of you might clash if you have different personalities or lifestyles. To limit the amount of disagreements, outline the responsibilities of each renter, especially as it pertains to their own personal space. Clearly show the condition of the separate rooms as well, so that the person responsible for each room will also be responsible for paying for any damages when they move out. In addition, if one roommate is using the garage space all the time, they might be held responsible for the condition of the garage when it comes time to move out.
The Way That the Utilities and Rent Will Be Divided
Utilities and rent are not always divided equally. If one of your roommates has the biggest room in the entire house with their own private bathroom, all of the renters may decide that he or she should pay a larger amount of rent. Similarly, if one of your roommates constantly has a boyfriend or girlfriend over, they might also want to contribute more to the utilities. Don't rely on verbal agreements. Make sure that anything that you and your roommates have agreed upon is included in the rental contract.
Sharing a living space with a friend or a stranger can be difficult. It's not unusual for disagreements to come up. A written contract holds each roommate responsible to what they verbally agreed to.