If you're a landlord who's planning to share a space with multiple tenants, then you should be able to write a Maryland roommate agreement by yourself and avoid any legal conflicts between the parties involved.
There are many benefits that come from drafting this type of lease agreement, including specifying boundaries, assessing the tenant's monthly rent more efficiently, and more.
The following article will cover rental agreements for rooms inside a property in Maryland, including rent, deposits, and some laws you should be aware of.
Room Rental Agreement
A Maryland roommate agreement (or room rental agreement) is a contract that allows the tenant to sublet a part of the unit to someone else during the lease term.
In this type of lease agreement, the landlord will outline the rules and rights that the new tenants will have for staying on the property. It's vital to note that the new tenants won't appear on the original lease agreement.
Some of the most common factors that this lease agreement type addresses include:
- Security Deposits
- Shared Housing
- Shared Utilities
In most cases, the "master" tenant will be the only one on the original lease agreement. There, the new tenant's responsibilities will fall to the primary tenant, unless the landlord specifically asks the new tenant to answer to them.
Why Use One? When Do You Need One?
There are many reasons why you (or your tenant) may choose to draft a Maryland roommate agreement. In case of the tenant, they may want help paying rent, so they ask for someone else to live on the property and share expenses.
While this is a viable option for the tenant, they must always seek approval from their landlord.
On the other hand, a landlord may want to write a Maryland roommate agreement because they want more tenants to make rent easily payable or wants to address utilities more efficiently.
Consider the following reasons why this lease agreement is beneficial to landlords aside from what we previously mentioned:
- It's great for landlords who are renting to elderly people since they can get assistance regarding keeping the property in shape.
- Contrary to popular belief, the cost of utilities will not rise, as long as all the tenants comply with the guidelines stated in the lease agreement.
- The tenants can share the costs of furnishing the space.
- Cleaning becomes much easier for the tenants.
Consequences of Not Having a Room Lease Agreement
In essence, this lease agreement will allow the landlord to set all the necessary rules to ensure a healthier environment for all the tenants. Overall, this lease is used to protect all parties' rights.
If you, as a landlord, want peace of mind and to avoid conflicts with your tenants, you should draft one of these lease agreements. This is especially useful in cases when the new tenant doesn't follow the terms of the lease; if you drafted a roommate agreement before, then you can evict them without any problems.
How Is It Different Than a "Roommate Agreement"?
A roommate agreement and a regular lease for a room rental are quite similar. The primary difference relies on the landlord's involvement.
In a roommate agreement, the landlord won't intervene in the terms of the agreement (although the tenant may still have to ask for permission before subletting the premises to someone else).
On a room rental, however, the landlord will specify the rules required from the tenant so that they can lease a part of the property to someone else. In both cases, the landlord must sign the lease.
How To Write One
Now, let's learn how to write a room rental agreement for the state of Maryland. As you will be able to notice in the next sections, the process to write these documents isn't that hard, but you must be thorough and specific with all the clauses so that you avoid any potential issues with your tenants in the future.
First, we must identify all the parties involved in this lease, particularly the new roommates. Include the full names of all the roommates involved in the lease.
These documents tend to get add-ons as time passes, so make sure to leave some extra space just in case. Next, you must include a detailed description of the leased unit, including unit number or building, county, physical address, and any other vital details surrounding the unit.
Finally, you must include a start and end date for the contract. You must also state the month, day, and year that the contract is signed to avoid legal problems later.
Typically, the deposit will only be the tenant's responsibility, but since you're having more tenants now, then you must modify the original lease and list all the people who will contribute to the deposit now and the ones who have already contributed.
Some of the most important factors surrounding the deposit include:
- The amount of deposit that was already paid to the landlord.
- The person responsible for providing the full deposit to the landlord. Typically, this person is the master tenant.
- The date when this deposit was paid to either the master tenant or landlord.
- The amount of money that every person contributed to the deposit and the names of those people.
Remember to be as specific as possible to avoid any problems with any of the tenants.
This section will be all about the tenant's monthly rent. As with the previous section, you may need to modify the original lease, particularly the tenant's monthly rent section.
You must specify the following:
- The amount of rent due to the landlord.
- The due date of the rent.
- The full names of everyone contributing to rental payments.
- The amount of money that each person will pay.
- The payment methods used to contribute to rent.
- The name of the person responsible for receiving all the contributions. This can either be the master tenant or the landlord.
Out of all these rules, the most important one is specifying how much money each person will pay. Keep in mind that not everyone will have to pay the same percentage of the rent, so if you want to avoid confusion, it's best to specify these numbers on the lease.
Here, you must specify the costs, deposits, and responsibilities for each person surrounding the utilities. In other words, you must specify which person handles which utility.
The most common utilities include:
- Trash Management
In some cases, not all rooms in your unit will have the same shape or dimensions. Typically, you would adjust the rental rate based on how big or small the room is. Moreover, you must include a breakdown of each space provided for each person in the unit.
If you have a property with assigned parking, you must specify which parking spaces will be allotted to which tenants; this is to avoid problems regarding tenants taking another tenant's parking place.
On the other hand, if you have any rules surrounding debris or snow removal from the property or the street parking area, you must include them too.
As the name implies, you must assign particular cleaning tasks and schedules for each tenant; that way, you will ensure that your property is in good shape at all times.
There are many other rules you can decide to include in the lease if you want to be as specific as possible, those include:
Subletting (in case one of the roommates decides to go away for a while and stops paying their share of the rent. Here, the tenants must seek permission from the landlord.)
Tenancy Closing Process (Final maintenance, cleaning assignments, and others.)
- Smoking policies
- Noise regulation policies
- Guest policies
- Parking for guests
- Rules for social gatherings
- Key distributions
Finally, you must include your signature, as well as the signature of all the roommates involved in the lease; this is what will make the document legally binding.
Remember to include extra space for each name, the date, and the signatures.
In a sense, a room rental agreement is similar to a regular lease. You must address things like the security deposit, the tenant's monthly rent split, and more.
However, there are some particular laws in Maryland that all parties must comply with. Consider the following disclosures if you're planning on drafting a room rental agreement in this state:
- Lead Paint: According to federal and state law, if your property was built before 1978, you must disclose the presence of lead-based paint on the property.
- Detectors and Alarms: You must install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and ensure that they're being maintained properly. All of this information must also be included on the lease.
- Environmental Hazards: If your property has any hazards like radon, bedbugs, or mold, you must disclose that information in the document.
- Security Deposit: You must disclose the location and the bank account where the deposit will go. Moreover, if the deposit will be gaining interest, you must write that information on the document too.
- Damages: If there are any damages on the property before the new tenant moves in, you must provide detailed information surrounding these damages and what the plans to fix them are.
- Rent Control: Maryland doesn't impose rent control, so landlords are free to increase the rent as many times as they consider appropriate as soon as the lease is up for renewal. You must include this information in the document so that the tenants know what to expect.
As with any other type of lease agreement for any property, there are certain conflicts that may happen at some point during the term.
If you're the one drafting the agreement for your property, then you should consider the following common problems that come from having different people in the same unit:
- Sleep Schedules
- Accepted Noise Levels
- Borrowing Personal Items
- Maintaining Privacy
- Addressing Inappropriate Guest Behavior
Moreover, both the landlord and master tenant should come up with a peaceful way to address most minor issues that could come up during the term.
If you're drafting the contract with your tenant, then you can both come up with the most appropriate terms for the new person and their tenancy requirements.
Build Your Own
Any landlord who is struggling to draft a Maryland roommate agreement can seek help from DoorLoop's forms. These are available in PDF, Word, and customizable formats.
Feel free to download any of these forms to draft your next rental agreement with ease:
If you need to sign a room rental or roommate agreement with a new tenant, you want to make the process as easy and efficient as possible.
With DoorLoop, you can get your agreements and templates eSigned in a few seconds. You can also get to the eSignature step much faster by creating reusable templates that are autofilled with tenants' information.
DoorLoop also makes it so simple to find the best tenants in the first place by syndicating your listings on popular websites Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, Apartments.com, and more. You can also make sure you're bringing in the best tenants by screening your prospects in seconds through DoorLoop.
For more information about DoorLoop, learn more or schedule a free demo.
A property rental process doesn't have to be complicated. As long as the original tenant agrees to have a new roommate and asks permission from the landlord, then there shouldn't be any problems.
If you're struggling to draft one of these legally binding documents for your tenant, feel free to check our online forms at DoorLoop. They have all the information you need for drafting a Maryland roommate agreement with no errors.
Do You Need an Agreement to Rent a Room in Maryland?
Considering the new tenant will not have the same rights as the primary tenant on the legally binding document, every property manager should draft an agreement to provide a safe environment for everyone to live in.
Do Leases Need to Be Notarized in Maryland?
While it's not required to notarize a Maryland roommate agreement, the landlord or original tenant may choose to notarize it just in case.
Can Landlords Break Room Rental Agreements in Maryland?
Yes. A landlord can break the Maryland roommate agreement in case the tenant doesn't comply with the explicitly-laid guidelines in the completed document.
Can I customize my own form or agreement?
Yes, you always can, however if you want to be 100% sure you are protected, you should consult an attorney in your local area.