The Ideal Flatmate Roommate Agreement
Have you ever been in that sticky situation (in both a literal and metaphorical sense) where your messy housemate refuses to take out the bins, leaving behind a pile of rotten fruit and last nights curry spewing onto the floor? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a bin-juice busting contract to stop your housemate from doing all those annoying anti-social house habits? Well, it turns out you really can have your very own contract (known as ‘roommate agreements’) and they’re becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
With flat-sharing on the rise and thousands of spare rooms up for grabs in places such as London, signing a roommate agreement is a great way to put your mind at ease when it comes to any issues you might run into when you’re all set up in your new house.
We’ve made a roommate agreement template just for you but make sure you tailor it to suit your household needs. ‘What are my household needs?’ we hear you ask. Don’t worry – here’s everything you need to consider.
What is a roommate agreement?
Before you go signing any old thing, make sure you understand what it is that you’re actually signing. A roommate agreement is a contract which outlines the terms and responsibilities of each occupant and can include requirements such as a cleaning schedule, bills and the cost of rent for each person (see our template).
Is a roommate agreement legally binding?
A roommate agreement does stand up in court, however, the man (or woman) in the grey wig has the final say. If your housemate Sandra got drunk and spilt red wine over the remote control, you can’t take her to court to reimburse the £3 she owes you for the replacement. However, we totally back having the lingering threat of court every time she drinks your milk without asking (we won’t tell if you don’t).
Roommate agreements can be particularly useful in court if your housemate has refused to pay the rent that they owe you. As the roommate agreement clearly states how much rent each occupant should pay (even if the amounts are different for each person), you’ll have a much greater chance of getting back exactly what you’re owed.
Should I sign a roommate agreement?
Once you’ve found a room to rent (browse thousands of spare rooms here), signing a roommate agreement is actually a really good idea, especially if you’re going to be moving in with people who aren’t previously known to you. Don’t panic, the success rate of living with strangers is surprisingly not so bad, especially when you use this roommate matching tool.
A roommate agreement is particularly useful when certain factors come into play such as having occupants paying differing amounts of rent (e.g. if one person has a particularly large room). By clearly stating how much rent each occupant should pay, if any financial issues come up, your roommate agreement covers you for exactly how much rent you’re owed. Even though most roommate agreements cover all sorts of household chores and anti-social behaviours, you might want to think of it as a room rental agreement and use it solely to cover how much rent each occupant owes (see our simple template for a room rental agreement).
Roommate Agreement: Questions to ask
When drafting up your roommate agreement, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Remember to make the agreement unique to you to avoid agreeing not to break your roommates non-existent microwave from a template you’ve pinched from the internet. These are the questions you need to ask when it comes to your roommate agreement:
- How much rent should each tenant be paying?
- How often does rent need to be paid?
- How will bills be paid (joint account/ one tenant’s account/ multiple tenants’ accounts)?
- How much of the bills will each tenant pay (gas, electricity, water, internet, council tax, TV licence and any other bill)?
- What will happen if a shared item is damaged? Who will pay for the repair?
- How will the damage deposit be split if the deposit isn’t paid back in full?
- Who will pay for the household supplies (shared account/ kitty/ reimburse the cost to a housemate/ take it in turns)?
- How will the cleaning be done for shared spaces?
- Will you have a cleaning rota?
- What will happen if one tenant damages the property of another tenant?
- Are there any rules on noise?
- Do you have any parking arrangements?
- What are the rules on smoking?
- What are the rules on drugs?
- Are pets allowed?
- Do you have any rules on household guests?
Roommate agreement checklist
Still not sure what to include in your roommate agreement? Here’s a quick checklist to help you formulate your masterpiece:
- Amount of rent
- Payment of rent
- Bill split
- Payment of bills
- Early move-out
- Cleaning schedule
- Cleaning kitchen
- Cleaning bathroom
- Cleaning living room
- Cleaning bedrooms
- Damage deposit
- Household supplies
- Breakage of personal items
- Quiet times
- Use of speakers
- Mess left from guests
Now that you know you won’t be clearing up anyone’s grubby mess, why not sign up to be the first to hear about new listings and find your perfect flatshare?