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You’re interested in adding a roommate to your rental. There are many advantages to adding a new person to your home. A new roommate can help pay rent, and utilities, and offer companionship.



Pros and Cons of Adding a Roommate to Your Lease

Adding a roommate can be exciting, but it also comes with its pros and cons.

Here are some advantages to having a roommate:

        • Financial Relief: Splitting the rent and utilities can make living expenses more manageable.
        • Shared Responsibilities: Roommates can divide household chores and maintenance.
        • Social Benefits: Having a roommate can alleviate loneliness and provide social interaction.
        • Security and Safety: Adding new adults to the lease improves security and safety by letting the landlord know who lives on the property. This is important in case of an emergency.
        • Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies want to ensure each person residing in the home is on the policy.  
        • Community Rules Enforced: In many rental communities, there are rules that tenants need to follow. When a new person is added to the lease, they are also bound to the same rules.
        • Exit Strategy: A clear exit strategy exists for tenants whose relationship diminishes. This provides the legal framework for resolving these situations.

However, there are also potential downsides:

        • Privacy Loss: Sharing your living space can mean less personal privacy.
        • Conflict Potential: Differences in lifestyles, cleanliness, and schedules can lead to conflicts.
        • Lease Liability: You may be responsible if your roommate fails to pay rent or damages the property.



Check Your Lease

A tenant is a person who is on the lease agreement—a guest visits for an extended stay. Most leases do not allow long-term guests. Tenants not on the lease offer a host of legal issues for the landlord. They cannot be held accountable for damages they cause to the property.

If you plan on moving a new tenant into your rental, you must add them to your lease agreement. First, check your agreement to see if the landlord allows you to have an additional person added. Also, check for a clause on occupancy limits for your rental.

Your lease should instruct you on what needs to take place before the new roommate can move in. If your lease states no roommates, you risk potential eviction by doing so.



Get Your Landlord’s Approval

The first thing you need to do if you’re allowed to have roommates is to inform your landlord. Your landlord has the right to review all prospective tenants, and roommates are no exception.

Your landlord may screen your new roommate before adding them to the lease. This screening process often includes a new rental application, background, and credit checks.

The new roommate will go through the same process as any other tenant goes through. If the landlord approves the new tenant, you will both need to sign a new lease agreement.


Can a Landlord Deny Adding Someone to the Lease?

The landlord has the right to refuse a new tenant for any number of reasons. Depending on your lease and situation, the denial may be legitimate.

Ask your landlord if there was a reason for the rejection. The landlord may also allow you to submit a request for a different roommate. Ignoring the landlord’s refusal can be grounds for eviction.



Review the New Lease Agreement

Upon adding a new tenant to your lease, your landlord will ask you and your roommate to sign a new lease agreement or lease addendum. This helps ensure the new tenants have the same rights and obligations as you.

Ensure to review the lease terms and rent amount due. Sometimes the landlord will ask for more rent to cover the additional tenant. The landlord may also request a security deposit to cover the new person being added.



Create a Roommate Agreement

A roommate agreement ensures everyone has the same level of responsibility. Ideally, everyone would pay their share of the bills on time and do their share of the chores. But we don’t live in an ideal world. A roommate agreement can help you avoid future conflicts that can occur.

A roommate agreement can include any of the following:

        • due dates for payments, including rent and utilities
        • division of household chores
        • a cleaning schedule
        • house rules

After choosing to add a new roommate to your rental, always follow the proper procedures to ensure you are not breaking your lease. Remember to be open with your landlord and they are more willing to work with your request.