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Roommate Contract Saves Your Money and Friendship

By | November 19, 2012

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Roommate contracts are written agreements between two or more people that share the same house or apartment. You might think there’s no need for anything like that and it’s easy to get to terms with the people you know just by talking it out. You may be right, but the many examples to the contrary should be a good enough reason to at least reconsider that notion.

Reasons to Sign a Roommate Contract

Splitting your living space with a friend is a good way to save money and afford a better place at the same time. You’ll probably be able to move into a bigger apartment in a nicer part of town, compared to the options you had on your own. On the other hand, actually making all of it work without a roommate contract can provide many challenges both to your friendship and financial wellbeing.

As you do this, you share more than just the rent and a couple of chores. There’s also a lot of responsibility involved in sharing an apartment, such as the handling of utilities, groceries and recycling. Guests and pets are also serious factors that must be considered. All of the necessary agreements are much easier to be made and enforced when there’s a written roommate contract signed by you and your friends.

Who Will Officially Pay For the Lease?

Co-signing the lease can seem like a good idea, but it also makes each of you liable for the entire rent, not just your share of it. In other words, you can still be on the hook even if the one to blame for the missed payments was your roommate. Sort it out with a written contract to avoid future confusion and any bad feelings.

How Do You Split the Utility Bills?

Utilities also need to be paid. Whether you’ve decided to make each person responsible for a particular bill or split the total cost at the end of the month, printing out and signing a simple roommate contract template before you move in can help you avoid any unexpected complications.

Who Buys the Food?

A lot of things like groceries initially seem like a non-issue, right until you actually share an apartment with a person. That’s when things can get weird. You probably won’t be able to just eat your own food and not touch what the other person bought.

Rather than engage in this kind of unnatural behavior, simply decide how you will split the grocery. Whether you’ll split the monthly total, take turns or invent some unusual algorithm, outline the rules in your roommate contract and you’ll be set to go.

Who Takes Out the Trash?

Recycling your trash is certainly helpful to the environment, but if you want to be helpful to each other, it’s best that you discuss and write down any such issues beforehand. Decide how you’re going to collect soda cans, beer bottles, newspapers or anything else in your apartment, and the way those piles will eventually go away.

These are just the most likely examples. There’s no limit to what can be included in the written agreement between you and it’s best not to take risks. After all, any standard roommate contract form can be expanded to accommodate the needs of your roommate contract.

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