Sharing a home with other people can
be great fun but it's very important to choose who you live
with carefully and to check that all parties understand
their rights and responsibilities. Everyday disagreements,
differences in opinion, and the clash of different ideas,
beliefs, interests, and values are the basis for conflict
among roommates. These conflicts are difficult to resolve
legally since the Residential Tenancies Act does not cover
the rights and responsibilities between roommates. The most
common reasons for conflict among roommates include cleanliness,
boundary issues, noise, study time, alcohol and/or drug
use, visitors and guests. Roommates' status and responsibilities
will depend on the type of tenancy which applies to them.
Tenancy types that may apply to
- All of the tenants living in the rental unit signed one tenancy
agreement with the landlord when they moved in. All co-tenants
are bound by the terms of the lease and the terms of the Residential
- All co-tenants have exactly the same rights and responsibilities.
- If one tenant is not paying the rent or is causing other problems,
you could end up having to pay his/her share, or any other costs.
- Your landlord may be entitled to keep your deposit once the
tenancy is over if there is any rent owing or any damage has
been done to the property by you or your roommate.
- If one joint tenant ends the tenancy, everyone will have to
leave unless those that want to stay can negotiate a new agreement
with the landlord.
- The landlord cannot evict one joint tenant without evicting
all of you. However, he may offer you a new tenancy once the
original one has ended.
- If you have disagreements, you are responsible for sorting
them out between yourselves.
- Even if one of you moves out, he or she is still bound by
the rules set out in the agreement, for example, the obligation
to pay rent. To deal with this issue the tenant who is leaving
can ask to be taken off the tenancy agreement by his or her
roommates and the landlord. This new agreement should be in
writing and signed by everyone to avoid later difficulties.
- If one tenant moves out without making a new agreement, the
landlord will ask the other tenants to pay the rent, including
the share of the person who has left. The landlord is able to
do this because each tenant is liable for all the rent. It would
be up to the remaining tenants to recover the rent from the
tenant who has left.
Tenancy in common
- Each person in your household signed a separate agreement
with the landlord
- Each person may have different rights depending on what they
signed when moving in.
- If you and your housemates have separate agreements with
the same landlord, each of you is only responsible for the rent
for your part of the property.
- If the landlord decides to evict any of the other tenants,
it won't affect your tenancy at all.
Setting house rules - Just
going with the flow seldom works. Consider discussing the following
issues with your future housemate(s) and even better, put it in
- Where a tenant allows a person (occupant) who is not a tenant
to move into the premises and share the rent.
- The occupant's rights and obligations are very limited.
- Before you move in you should obtain the landlord's permission.
- If the landlord decides to evict the person you're living
with, you will almost always have to leave too.
- The tenant who let you stay can ask you to leave whenever
Do-it-yourself Roommate Agreement Form by LawDepot.com
- Which part of the house or apartment is assigned to you and
- Are there any rooms you're not allowed to enter without permission?
- Is there a common area cleaning rotation?
- Are pets allowed?
- Is smoking allowed?
- Can guests stay overnight regularly?
- What's the policy on quiet hours, parties etc?
- Who pays for what?
- How much rent you will pay, when it is due and who will collect
it and give to the landlord?
- How you will divide up household bills?
- Is there a fund for communal items such as toilet paper, washing
More on this Subject
Rights and Responsibilities of Co-tenants GL-13