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What should I look for in a rental agreement among roommates?

Moving into a new home is often an exciting time. It also can be stressful. If you have been working with a landlord and plan on signing a rental agreement, it is important to understand exactly what the contract contains. Violations on either side could lead to significant problems for all parties involved. So what should we look for in a rental agreement?

It is important to understand that when you both sign a rental agreement, you are both liable for the contents of the agreement. This works on both sides. If you agree that no pets and no smoking is allowed at the location and you bring in a pet or smoke inside the location, it can be considered a breach of contract.

One of the more common concerns and reasons for conflict occur when there are multiple roommates at a location, each of whom has a responsibility of paying their share of the rent. Generally speaking, landlords are not concerned with the breakdown or split of the rent, utilities and other considerations between roommates; all the landlord should be concerned with is that the rent is paid in a timely fashion.

This means that each resident at a location is responsible for the full rent. If the rent is not paid in full, everyone on the contract is responsible. It may be possible, although it is rare, you could see whether the landlord would accept multiple payments from each resident of a location. If this were the case, the landlord could then proceed with eviction proceedings in the event that only one tenant is negligent in paying rent. As with any landlord/tenant dispute, if you find yourself in such a situation, it might be in your best interests to consult with a legal professional to understand and protect your rights.

Source: Findlaw.com "Landlord/Tenant Overview and Roommate Agreements," Accessed on July 4, 2017

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