roommate agreement sample letter

How to Write a Roommate Agreement (Sample Letter)

Referring to a solid sample roommate agreement will help you, and the people you’ll soon live with, get a good idea of what areas to cover. Starting from a template can help get you started, but don’t hesitate to add in sections that pertain to your specific situation.

What is a roommate agreement?

At its most fundamental level, a roommate agreement is a way to avoid arguments. Your roommate is the person you live with, you share space with. They’re not always your best friend. Even if they are, you don’t want to fight with them.

“A roommate agreement puts into writing the duties and obligations of each tenant in the rental property,” says The Balance. By doing this, you create a formal document that resolves disputes between you and your roommate before they escalate into a real fight. “This agreement serves as proof that you each agreed to perform certain responsibilities.”

Why do you need a roommate agreement?

Surprisingly, there are a lot of areas where you and your roommate may disagree. It’s more than just splitting the rent or deciding how to pay for groceries. What if you’re working toward your master’s degree and your roommate happens to play drums in a band? What if you’re living the single life, but your roommate wants their significant other over every night? These are areas that go beyond the logistics of apartment living. They’re also areas that can cause huge conflicts.

By taking a bit of time, before you move in, to decide how household chores, overnight guests, grocery shopping and more will get handled, you’ll create a much more peaceful living situation. Putting these decisions into writing will save you from countless unnecessary arguments down the line.

roommate agreement

What to include in a roommate agreement

Most sample roommate agreements focus on four key areas — basic expenses, extra expenses, chores and house rules. You’ll definitely want to cover these, but also make sure you really take the time to think about how you like to live.

If you have any unique quirks, make sure they get worked into your roommate agreement. If you’re a complete neat freak, for example, but your roommate likes a bit of a mess, establish a rule that confines his or her mess to their room. Nothing is off limits to discuss and work through in advance when it comes to a roommate agreement.

1. The basics

Although your lease will specify how much rent is due each month, determine what share each roommate will pay and in what form to submit the payment. Remember, rent doesn’t have to break even, especially if the bedroom sizes are vastly different. The only thing that must happen is that you agree on how you’ll divide up this primary cost.

2. Expenses

Once you settle rent, tackle the rest of the shared expenses that go along with renting an apartment. These include utilities, internet and any other fees, but also things not on the lease like groceries and cleaning supplies.

If you’re placing any bills on automatic payment, whose credit card will you use? How quickly must the other roommate(s) pay their portion? Discuss if you’ll share other items or have everyone buy their own. If sharing, decide the best strategy for splitting costs. You don’t want anyone feeling slighted, and you certainly don’t want to pay anything late.

3. Household chores

You also need to figure out how to share the responsibility of keeping the apartment clean. Discuss how you would like to divvy up household chores (cover everything from washing dishes to taking out the trash), and make your expectations clear.

Include a schedule for cleaning, as well, as who will do what. Your roommate may not think an apartment vacuumed every-other-month is “clean,” even if you do.

4. Personal preferences

It’s perfectly acceptable for a roommate agreement to include house rules for conduct in your apartment. Tackle overnight guests, noise, pet care and smoking. Toss in the strange stuff like whether it’s OK for people to wear their shoes in the apartment. It’s better you’re honest about your little quirks now rather than getting an unpleasant surprise down the line.

writing a roommate agreement

Writing a roommate agreement

Roommate agreements work because they’re technically a legally-binding document. Not only do they help you all figure out everything in advance, but they offer protection if there’s a disagreement.

According to LegalZoom, “While a court won’t enforce your cleaning schedule, it will likely uphold standard contractual promises in the agreement, such as what the roommate is responsible for if they vacate early.” For that reason, it’s important to write a thorough document.

Sample roommate agreement

This sample roommate agreement is ready for you to customize if necessary, or use as is. Simply fill in the information in brackets [ ]. The information in parentheses ( ) is more of a guide.


We have signed a lease/rental agreement for [address] on [date]. We hope to make certain the responsibilities of renting are shared equally by all roommates. It is for this reason that we write and sign this agreement.


The roommates at the above address are:[Tenant #1 full legal name as it appears on lease] [Phone] [Email] [Emergency Contact][Tenant #2 full legal name as it appears on lease] Phone] [Email] [Emergency Contact](Continue for all additional roommates)

No other individuals may live at this address without having their name added to the lease. No sub-leasing may take place without roommate approval and the addition of their name to this agreement.


This agreement will remain in effect from [start date] to [end date]. If for any reason a roommate should move out before the above-listed term has elapsed, under the lease/rental agreement, the departing roommate is still obligated to the property manager by the terms of the lease. They must notify the property manager, as well as the other roommate(s), of the impending switch within [specified time period prior to move-out. Example: 30 days], so that the proper arrangements can be made.

The departing roommate is responsible for finding a replacement roommate. When a potential replacement roommate is presented, the remaining roommate(s) must approve of them.


The total rent amount is [monthly rent total]. Rent is due on [list date of month rent is due]. Each roommate is responsible for [amount].(If each roommate pays a different amount, list individual rent amounts separately.)

Security deposit

The roommates have paid a total security deposit of [amount], of which [list amount each roommate has individually paid]. Each roommate is responsible for charges associated with the damages they or their guest(s) cause. If the cause cannot be determined, the roommates will split the cost of the damages equally.


Each roommate agrees to pay [percentage] of all bills, including electricity, gas, water, cable/internet and/or hookup charges for all utilities. [Add in any other additional monthly charges here too if applicable.] We accept responsibility for prompt payment of our portions of said bills within 10 days of receiving the bill. The utilities will be paid by [person’s name, if each roommate is responsible for a given utility, list all] by the due date on each bill.


If pets are permitted under the lease, each pet owner is responsible for any monies owed for a pet deposit and any damages caused by their pet. This includes damages to furniture, carpeting, flooring, blinds, doors, lawn and garden.

Quiet Hours/Privacy

The roommates agree to respect each other’s need for privacy, quiet and/or study time and sleep. We will comply with the requirements of the lease and of local and state law with respect to noise and any restrictions thereof.


Out of respect for each other, roommates will give at least 24 hours advance notice of the intention to have overnight guests and will accommodate any reasonable requests relating thereto. No overnight guest may stay longer than three nights without the permission of the other roommate(s).

The following additional restrictions apply: [list other guest restrictions]

  • Objection by the majority of roommates to any other roommate’s guest, based on behavior, shall be binding
  • Guests who don’t comply with the requirements of the lease, and of local and state law, where applicable will be asked to leave

Shared household supplies

A single ledger will be kept of all supplies purchased by each roommate. Supplies include such things as paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning agents, foil, trash bags, sponges and any other home supplies all roommates share. Replacing these items will occur in a rotation so no one roommate continues to buy the same shared items.


Each roommate is responsible for their own groceries. No food is to be taken or shared without express permission.

Personal Property

Similarly, all roommates agree there will be no borrowing of personal items without prior approval. Exceptions to this should be clearly stated. Any property that is borrowed will be used respectfully and returned in the same condition, and in the event of damage, the “borrower” will be liable to fix or replace the item(s).


Roommates agree to share the responsibilities of cleaning and maintenance. The roommates have decided to develop a schedule and/or divide tasks. A document stating the schedule and/or division of labor is attached. (Attach this document)

Kitchen clean up

Each roommate agrees to do their own dishes and clean kitchen appliances as necessary from use.

[Add any other relevant sections for your particular living situation]


As a participant in this roommate agreement, I understand that I, and [each of] my roommate(s), have equal rights to the use of the space and facilities in the dwelling with the exception of the areas we have designated as each other’s private space.

This agreement is intended to promote harmony between roommates by clarifying our responsibilities. Modifications, if agreed upon by all residents mentioned above, are allowed.

[Each roommate must sign and date]

Getting along with roommates is golden

While it may feel a little on the formal side, having a roommate agreement is really a relationship saver when it comes to living with others. It preempts any conflicts in areas where differences of opinions are common, and saves you from having to constantly fight it out.

If you’re thinking of living with a roommate or two, consider writing up a roommate agreement before move-in day. You’ll be happier you did.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional financial or legal advice as they may deem it necessary.


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