Roomate-ing in Central Oregon
how setting up a roommate agreement can save you money and heartache on your rental
It’s no surprise to anyone living in Central Oregon: living the dream might mean living with roommates.
High rents, escalating real estate prices and a shortage of housing has created a “rent burden” for many renters in Bend and the surrounding areas, leaving 25 percent of residents struggling to pay for housing each month, all to live the dream of residing in one of the West Coast’s most desirable cities.
In an attempt to keep themselves above water and below the “rent burden”—when more than 50 percent of income is spent on housing—residents are getting creative. Room sharing, roommates and sublets are just a few ways residents are easing their total burden to make Bend and Central Oregon more affordable.
Somewhere between living on their own, and living with mom, is the option to rent with roommates. This can help ease the financial burden of a solo rental and help divide household responsibilities. Some are lucky enough to have a dream roommate situation in which money, responsibilities and personalities merge perfectly. But more likely, there is a dance that takes place between roommates before finding the perfect balance. One way to turn that “dance” into a quick step is to set expectations, create a roommate agreement and accept the terms of living together.
By going into a roommate scenario with a good idea of what the expectations are, the living situation is likely to be pleasant and sustainable, meaning fewer turnovers of rental properties, and ultimately, FEWER RENT INCREASES!!! So, setting up a roommate agreement prior to committing to a lease can not only save you distress, it can save you money, too!
A Roommate Agreement, Outlined
Every roommate agreement should outline expectations, responsibilities and terms for living on the property, like so:
State the rental location, date and the parties involved (roommates). Also include phone numbers and a point of contact or next of kin for each roommate.
State the term of the agreement (start date to end date). Also include the consequences for an early move out, what constitutes a violation to the terms of the lease, and the process for the replacement of a roommate. This may include wording such as, “The departing roommate is responsible for finding a replacement roommate, approved by the remaining roommates, within X days before departure. New roommate must agree to the same terms as the original roommate and must be approved by the landlord.”
Outline the financial expectations of each roommate such as:
* Monthly rent and when it is due, plus penalties for late rent.
* Amount of the security deposit, per roommate. Each roommate should be responsible for charges associated with damage they or their guests cause.
* Utilities and the percentage of each bill each roommate is responsible for. Each bill should be due within 10 days of receipt, and paid in full (include method of payment).
This is where you outline any expectations for behavior or responsibilities:
* Quiet hours
* Household supplies
* Personal property
* Chores (garbage take out, landscaping, small repairs)
Finally, include a closing statement and signature block for each roommate. It should state something like:
“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, and agreed to all the above terms and expectations.”
[Each roommate must sign and date.]
Creating a roommate agreement is like getting pre-marital counseling. It allows for open dialog about financial and personal responsibilities and expectations, allowing each roommate to understand what they are responsible for, and eliminating potential conflict in the future. This leads to happier, and more sustainable roommate situations and ultimately saves both landlord and renter money on rental turnovers, deposits and move-in/move-out expenses.
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