All You Need to Know About a Roommate Agreement
When you’re just starting out on your own money can be tight, especially when it comes to living in cities. That’s why many people opt to live with roommates in order to share costs. It can be a great way to save some money on living expenses, but it can also be fraught with peril due to the ups and downs of interpersonal relationships. If you choose to live with a roommate here are some things you need to know before signing a lease when it comes to a roommate agreement.
What is a Roommate Agreement?
A roommate agreement is basically a written document that puts down the responsibilities of each roommate. It is often made without the landlord present. This can range from financial responsibilities to personal ones. It often outlines how rent and utilities are to be divided, but it can also be modified to include chores, food sharing, quiet times, and the policy on guests.
The three biggest things included in the roommate agreement are rent, security deposit, and utilities. These financial items are critical to any agreement.
Is a Roommate Agreement Legally Binding?
The answer to this can be tricky. A lease with a landlord is legally binding from beginning to end. If there is legal action against a tenant that broke a roommate agreement a judge will likely only hold them responsible for certain items. For example: If the roommate moves out early because they had to take a job elsewhere, leaving you to pay all rent and utilities, the court may order the roommate to pay you back in full.
The court likely won’t get involved if some of the more personal terms are violated like playing the TV too loud. Another important factor is if the roommate files for bankruptcy or has no money. If they don’t have any funds it is unlikely you will be able to collect on any judgment.
Always Do Your Homework
The phrase “caveat emptor”, or “buyer beware” is important before agreeing to live with a roommate. Be sure that it is someone you know and trust if it is at all possible. That makes the entire rental experience much more enjoyable for all parties involved. If you are meeting someone for the first time be sure to do your homework and find out more about them. In this day and age of the internet and social media you can learn a lot about a person before living with them.
In the event you do have to go to small claims court for failure to pay rent and utilities a roommate agreement can be a handy tool in your favor. It can help you get the share of the bills the other party agree to pay, but it is by no means a guarantee. By getting to know the person and trusting them you can make sure you have a much better experience, and it will end up as a much better experience for the second party as well, because they likely need a roommate too!
Advice for Moving From a House to an Apartment
No matter the reason for the move, going from a house to an apartment can be a difficult transition. There are limitations to space, storage, and even something as car storage can be an issue. It is important to keep many things in mind when it comes to a move like this. Here are some tips on how to deal with this tricky transition.
Dealing with Less Space
Unless you manage to snag a gigantic apartment you’re going to have less space. It can make for cramped quarters, but it can also be a positive. You’ll be able to cut out a lot of clutter and live more minimally. Things like heavy duty furniture and old clothes in your closets are areas where you may have to cut down. With fewer and smaller kitchen cabinets you will have to keep appliances and utensils in mind.
If the apartment is only part of your short-term future you might consider renting a self-storage space. This is a great option for things you just cannot get rid of, but you simply don’t have the space for it.
Considering Your Pets
Pets are part of our families, but when you live in an apartment they can be a limitation. Not all apartments allow every type of pets. Some may allow cats but not dogs. Even if you do find a place that will accept your pet it can be a stressful time for them as well. Dogs may not adjust to losing a big yard. Be sure to consider amenities such as nearby dog parks when it comes to keeping your furry friends happy.
Get Cozy with Your Neighbors
Are you used to playing music as loud as you want or having quiet time at any time? A downside to living in an apartment is that you probably now share walls with your neighbors. Sure, you can pick a corner unit to help with noise, but it can still be a factor.
If you had a house you’re probably used to a static house payment every month that did not increase. That’s often not the case with renting an apartment. In an apartment complex your rent can increase every year. It is also subject to a property management company, so there is not a lot of room to negotiate.
As you can see, there are many aspects to consider when it comes to renting, especially if you are moving from a house to an apartment. It is not all bad, however. With the right complex and amenities apartment living can be quite comfortable. Plus, you can live more simply and efficiently.