Am I Responsible for My Roommates Rent?
We all have had one at some point in our life: roommate. Hopefully more good stories than horror stories.
As a roommate, you share a lot of responsibilities for the rental. Such as damages, utilities, and general cleanliness. However, be aware if you are responsible for your roommate’s rent and what happens if they do not pay.
What happens if my roommate does not pay their rent?
When a roommate falls behind paying rent or simply does not pay rent, there is a risk that you could be held responsible. Although you paid your share of the rent, landlords can hold all roommates responsible. Prior to signing a lease, it is important to understand what is in the lease.
Depending on the lease structure, you could be responsible to pay the difference if your roommate does not. As well, you could be responsible for late fees for their portion.
Did you rent the entire rental or only a bedroom?
Typically, landlords and property managers will utilize one lease for co-applicants. This process allows landlords to hold every individual accountable. If a group applied together, the landlord will legally bind the group together for liable reasons.
However, if the landlord decides to rent ‘per room’ then typically everyone will be on a separate lease. This is important because you are responsible for the lease you signed, not necessarily the roommates. We will repeat that again because how important it is: you are responsible for the lease you signed.
Who is on the lease?
First, it is important to know who all signed the same lease you did. When multiple individuals sign a lease, you all become liable and obligated to meet all clauses of the rent. Including rent. One for all and all for one!
In the event there are co-signers, typical when applicants do not meet the financial qualifications, they too are held liable. That makes knowing your roommate’s financial situation important. If you are a college student, it is expected you will need a co-signer unless you earn enough income. That is rarely the cause.
In the event you are the only applicant on the lease, you are not responsible for your roommate’s rent! Therefore, understanding the concept ‘you are responsible for the lease you signed’ is important.
How can I stop being held responsible for my roommate’s rent?
While you may not like the thought of being responsible for your roommate’s rent, unfortunately, there are not many solutions to get out of that liability. Your best bet is asking the landlord if each tenant can pay individually and have their own lease. Although they typically say no, it never hurts to ask. If they only allow one lease but will accept individual payments, it is important to add that comment into the lease so it is documented.
While your chances of getting the landlord to accept individual payments is slim, there is another method. When you first move in, it is important to establish a roommate agreement with everybody. Even though this sounds excessive, it is important to create an official agreement that everybody signs. By including a clause that states every roommate is responsible for paying their share of the rent, security deposit, utilities, and even damages. Some courts will enforce roommate agreements.
Quick note on separation, each roommate should have their own personal renter’s insurance policy. This will better protect your personal belongings in case something is broken or stolen.
How to Split Rent with Roommates?
If you have roommates and are all on the same lease, consider using Burbz to pay your rent. Burbz allows roommates to all register and split rent! Learn more.
Your landlords will need to register as well but you can share all the benefits Burbz offers landlords as well! Register today to start.