A room rental agreement is a legally binding contract between a tenant and the person they intend to rent a room to as a subtenant.

The original tenant and the sublessee's expectations and duties are spelled out in detail in this document. This agreement is effective upon execution and is binding upon the parties specified.

If you're looking for a room rental agreement sample, DoorLoop has various forms for you to choose from.

Room Rental Agreement

Room rental agreements, also known as sublease agreements, lay out the terms and provisions of original lease agreements (such as when to pay rent) and act as full and comprehensive references for tenant rights and obligations.

A room rental agreement's goal is to specify the obligations of a principal tenant who sublets a particular room in a rental property, not the full rental.

When it comes to the law, written agreements are honored, while oral agreements aren't always. Therefore, it's crucial to enter into a written contract when subleasing a room or part of a rental unit. This will carry more weight when enforcing financial obligations and responsibilities.

Therefore, when the primary tenant sublets a room in a building to secondary lessees, a room rental agreement is crucial for safeguarding tenant rights.

What to Include

what to include in a room rental agreement

When creating this kind of document, there is no restriction on how specific you can be. However, a simple room rental agreement ought to have the following fundamental components:

  • Property address
  • The subtenant's and tenant's details and information
  • House rules
  • Rent amount and due date
  • Room description
  • Utility costs
  • Late fees
  • Lease term
  • List of household chores
  • List of furniture and other additional things provided, such as parking space
  • Notice of period to terminate the rental agreement
  • Signatures and date
  • Subtenant's insurance

Don't forget to include the revenue from room subleasing on your tax return.

Any repairs you need to make to the room and communal areas mentioned in the agreement will be deductible.

When Do You Need One?

When a principal tenant, property owner, or property manager wants to rent out a part of their property or a room to a secondary lessee, they should draw up a room rental agreement.

In order to create a peaceful living experience, you should clarify expectations, responsibilities, and obligations between the parties in a room rental agreement. 

Room rental agreements are a useful tool for preventing problems before they get out of hand and facilitating communication between the parties.

Remember that room rental agreements are not binding on the law in their entirety.

Additionally, keep in mind that you should exercise caution when choosing a roommate, including asking former landlords for a landlord reference letter.

Essentially, what this means is that while the court will enforce the financial responsibility of both parties, it will not order a problematic tenant to wash the dishes or mop the floors.

Room Rental Agreement vs. Roommate Agreement

Roommate vs. Room Rental Agreement

A room rental agreement and roommate agreement might look like the same thing at first glance, but there are several significant differences to take note of.

You need to make sure you understand these differences before signing any type housing agreement. Otherwise, you might be creating ambiguous expectations and obligations for both you and the other tenants.

Here are a few of the key differences between the two:

Room Rental Agreement

  • It is also referred to a sublease.
  • You need the landlord's consent.
  • It is used when a lessee wants to sublet a room to a third party.
  • Usually incorporates elements of the original lease agreement.

Roommate Agreement

  • It is referred to as a housemate agreement or contract.
  • You don't normally need the landlord's approval to enter into a roommate agreement.
  • It's used when you are moving in with or find a new roommate.
  • Completely independent of the original lease agreement.

If you're not the primary tenant on the lease and need a simple agreement between you and another person, you can use our free room rental agreement template to create one quickly and easily.

Because the new tenant accepts the terms and conditions of the original lease, room rental agreements are occasionally called "room lease agreements."

Common Uses

Your Roommate Constantly Invites Guests to Stay Over

If your roommate constantly invites friends, boyfriends, or girlfriends over, drawing up a room rental agreement is a great way to establish privacy and make sure you have a quiet and undisturbed place.

You Want to Classify Who Is Responsible for What Property Maintenance Duties

There are many tasks that need to be done during the year to maintain the property, such as cutting the grass or shoveling the driveway.

Make sure to include provisions for these chores in your agreement so that the responsibility for routine maintenance does not rest primarily on one party.

You Want to Divide the Household Costs

Nobody wants to be the only housemate doing the dishes or buying the household supplies for cleaning while the other just watches.

By signing a room rental agreement, parties can specify how living expenses and other significant costs will be split.

Creating a Room Rental Agreement

Creating A Room Rental Agreement

Make sure the top of your form indicates the state you are operating in before you put in the specifics of your room rental agreement.

Also, be sure to make it clear that this room rental form is only between a principal tenant and a sublessee who wants to rent a single room, not the entire property.

When a landlord wants to rent a room to a renter, a different version of this form should be used.

Step One: Fill in the Tenant's Details

Write down the principal tenant's name as well as the effective date of the room rental agreement form.

Step Two: Identify the Property Address

Make sure to include the physical street address of the room that is being rented. If relevant, mention any unit, apartment, or room numbers.

Step Three: Provide the Lease Details

Include the complete name of the subtenant who is renting the space. Also, include a description of the room rental along with the security deposit and monthly rent amounts.

Enter the lease start date and either the lease end date (if it is a typical fixed-term lease) or the fact that the lease is a month-to-month contract.

Step Four: Fill in the Security Deposit Amount

State the total amount of the security deposit, which should also be in the original rental agreement.

Step Five: Outline How the Tenant Will Pay for Utilities

In this section, you'll state both the utilities included and not included in the rent. Indicate if the tenants will split the cost of any utilities not included in the rent.

Provide the name of the person mentioned on the utility bill and the breakdown of the charges if residents will share the utility bills.

Step Six: Enter Parking Details

Indicate whether or not parking is included in the room rental. Include the name, make, model, and location of the subtenant's car if there is a parking spot for them.

Step Seven: Describe Any Legal Consequences

Here, you'll state the details relating to early termination and renter's insurance:

Early Termination: State how many months notice the sublessee needs to give if they want to terminate the room rental agreement.

Renter's Insurance: Indicate if the subtenant needs to buy renter's insurance or not. If so, state the insurance company's name, the policy's monthly premium, and the name(s) of the signer(s) on the document.

Step Eight: Fill in Behavior Stipulations

This is where you'll outline any specific rules regarding pets, alcohol use, smoking, parties, chores, noise levels, and overnight guests. Here are a few ideas:

Pets: Indicate whether or not the sublessee is permitted to keep animals on the property. Include the pet's name, breed, and name of the pet's owner if pets are allowed.

Alcohol Use and Smoking: Indicate whether the principal renter permits alcohol or smoking on the property. If so, be precise about any designated smoking areas and the permitted drinking hours for the sublessee.

Parties: The principal tenant can decide the maximum number of guests that can visit at once. Indicate the number of days' notice before the party that a sublessee must give the principal tenant if they want to invite more guests than those listed here. A large gathering must get the consent of all tenants.

House Chores: Identify all the necessary details relating to household duties.

Noise Levels: Make sure you write down the start and end times of any quiet hours.

Overnight Guests: State any rules relating to overnight guests, such as whether the sublessee is allowed them or not and if they first need to discuss it with the principal tenant.

Step Nine: Identify Additional Terms

In this section, you can mention any other governing law, such as specific state laws that deal with the implementation of room rental agreements.

When drawing up a room rental agreement, you need to be aware of Federal fair housing laws. These laws provide several exceptions to the conventional protected classes when choosing a roommate.

This means that selecting and advertising for a tenant roommate has specific requirements and limitations when renting out a room on your property.

When advertising for a roommate or sublessee, you are prohibited from using discriminatory language.

However, in your advertisement, you can provide a preference for the roommate's sex.

In other words, you can advertise for a female tenant if you're female, but you can't specify anything else in the ad.


consequences of not creating a room agreement

You open yourself up to many risks, additional costs, and possible legal action if you fail to draw up and sign a sublease agreement.

By creating an agreement when renting out a room, you can avoid some of the following unnecessary hardships:

Lost time: If a roommate leaves early and without notice, you may be forced to impulsively start looking for a new subtenant. Therefore, if you end up with a difficult roommate because you were in a rush, you might have to deal with several problems or clean up your roommate's messes. You could also miss out on valuable sleeping hours if they constantly have guests over or throw parties.

Lost money: If a sublessee vacates the premises early without giving warning, the other party will have to pay higher rent, lose the security deposit, or foot the bill for any property damage.

Stress and anxiety: Any relationship will face strain when rights and responsibilities aren’t laid out clearly. A sublessee's actions or failure to pay rent on time, might result in your landlord being suspicious of you. Furthermore, if your housemate is your friend, your relationship might suffer because of minor misunderstandings.

Lost property: If you don’t have one of these agreements, the other tenant could steal or damage any of your personal items. Moreover, one person could be burdened for paying any damages to shared property that occur during the tenancy.

DoorLoop Forms

While renting out a room might seem simple, it can get complicated at times, which is why it's crucial to have a written room rental agreement in place.

From the amount of rent and security deposit to house rules, parking, chores, and more, this agreement discusses everything you need to have a comprehensive sublease in place.

If you're looking for a free and comprehensive room rental agreement form or any other type of lease agreement, make sure to check out DoorLoop.

We have an endless supply of free forms and templates to ensure that you manage your properties and room rentals effectively and efficiently.


What Happens if a Roommate Breaks the Agreement?

The eviction regulations in the state will apply to the roommate.

Furthermore, the roommate's infraction may be mentioned in a Notice to Quit, along with a deadline for the roommate to make amends.

What Happens if a Roommate Abandons the Lease Agreement?

The other roommates will be able to file a small claims lawsuit with the local court if a roommate breaks a lease. Additionally, the former roommate will be responsible for paying rent as specified in the lease.

Without a lease, the roommate is only responsible for one month's rent and is regarded to be on a month-to-month basis. However, even this would be challenging to collect without a contract of some sort.

Should a Roommate be Added to the Original Lease Agreement?

This depends on the terms stipulated in the original rental agreement. If subleasing is allowed, there's no need to add the roommate to the original lease.

However, if the landlord prohibits subleasing, a roommate will need to obtain the landlord's permission, after which they might be added to the lease.

Does a Room Rental Agreement Cover More than One Tenant?

Yes, a sublease agreement may cover more than one tenant. However, you need to list the names and personal information of each tenant in the contract.

Tenants may be expected to pay a variety of utility costs based on the size and amenities of the room. Make sure to mention this in the contract as well.

Frequently Asked Quesitons

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is from public sources, for informational purposes only and not intended for legal or accounting advice. DoorLoop does not guarantee its accuracy and is not liable for any damages or inaccuracies.