Having some form of a written document signed by both the landlord and tenant is always a good idea when agreeing on the living arrangements between you and your tenant.

Such a document will protect you in case of a disagreement. If the master tenant wishes to agree on living arrangements with other potential tenants, signing a Massachusetts room rental agreement is the right way to go.

This article will help you learn more about this document, the important items you need to include in it, and where you can get a readymade Massachusetts room rental agreement template when you need one.

Room Rental Agreement

A room rental agreement is the document signed when a master leaseholder decides to sublet a part of the rental property to another tenant.

It defines the rights and obligations of each tenant regarding things such as rent payment dates, security deposits, and any other important rules and regulations of the premises.

The other tenants do not affect the original terms of tenancy signed between the landlord and master lease agreement holder.

Usually, a room rental agreement delivers all the necessary information needed before the new tenants can move in, including whether they will pay each month's rent to the master tenant or directly to the landlord.

A roommate agreement differs from a sub-tenant agreement set between the other tenant and the landlord directly. With a roommate rental agreement, the master tenant will act as the landlord for their roommates, overseeing the rental application and addressing any issues.

The landlord's signature must appear on the same agreement signed between the master tenant and the new tenants because it is against federal law to illegally sublet a residential, commercial, or industrial property without the owner's knowledge.

Why Use One?

Despite both tenants having the best intentions, roommates do clash from time to time over issues such as the living arrangement or when one party still has last month's rent outstanding.

As a result, having a rental agreement signed between the two and the landlord will outline the responsibilities and boundaries that both tenants need to be aware of.

The following are examples of cases where a room rental agreement may be helpful in a mutually beneficial living arrangement:

  • Avoiding noise complaints by establishing ground rules on quiet hours, which is particularly important when you have students sharing the same Massachusetts rental property
  • Eliminating the "confusion factor" when it comes to household chores and expenses
  • Addressing the issue of having guests over, such as how long they can stay and whether they should also contribute to the household expenses and cleaning
  • Establishing boundaries in the case where one or both parties are in a relationship with a live-in partner
  • Agreeing on whether or not the new tenants are required to pay a portion of the security deposit and if so, who will be responsible for giving them back their security deposit when they vacate the premises

Not Having One

The simplicity of drafting and signing a room rental agreement leads most people to falsely believe that is not an important document.

However, it is only when things go wrong, do you start to realize its value. It can protect you if an eviction process needs to be initiated against your tenants because, for example, they continuously default on each month's rent.

If one of the tenants gets sick, having a rental agreement that states that you provided full lead-based paint disclosure, along with any other potential health risks will save you from a lawsuit.

Even in cases where roommates are close friends or family members, if they are establishing a separate landlord and tenant relationship, having everything written down and signed will avoid having different versions of the agreement set between the two parties.

Roommate Agreement

A Massachusetts roommate agreement delivers the necessary rules and regulations as agreed upon between the two tenants, covering everyday household issues and other living arrangements.

The landlord's signature is not required on a Massachusetts roommate agreement; only that of the tenants involved.

However, a room Massachusetts rental agreement requires the landlord to sign and provide approval for the new tenant to move in.

How To Write One

As the overall landlord for the new tenant, the responsibility for the rental application, lease agreement, and all other relevant documents are on you.

The important thing is to make sure that all the essential details and information is included in the agreement so that in the event of a dispute, as is normally the case with an eviction process, you are always protected.

To help you draft a room rental agreement yourself, here are seven features you should always include:

Introductory Paragraph

This is the first paragraph of your document and should allow the reader, at a glance, to get all the essential information for all parties involved. This includes:

  • The start date of the rental period
  • Legal names of all parties, i.e. the landlord, master tenant, and roommates
  • The full address of the property, including the street name and number, as well as the unit number in the case of an apartment building
  • Finally, the date of termination of the rental contract

Security Deposit

In ordinary circumstances, the tenant has already paid a security deposit to the landlord of the property, so this section will now deal with the portion of that security deposit that the roommate has to contribute.

No issue is more contentious between the landlord and tenant than that of security deposits. This is why your agreement has to be airtight, covering the following:

  • The amount of money that the landlord already received from the master tenant as a security deposit
  • Whether the landlord receives the security deposit directly from the new tenants or whether it is paid to the master tenant
  • The date on which the security deposit payment was received
  • Full names of all parties involved
  • The total amount of money that was paid toward the security deposit


When a new tenant moves in, it may or may not affect the current tenant's rentals. In either case, it is necessary to write down any modifications to the original terms, such as:

  • The due date for the rent payment
  • The total amount of rent the landlord receives from all tenants
  • Specific rental obligations of each tenant
  • Any late fee that may be charged
  • Which payment forms are acceptable
  • The party responsible for rent collection, i.e. landlord or master tenant

Rules for Household Supplies and Food

Issues regarding the responsibility for purchasing household consumables can be tricky if not dealt with early on.

It is necessary to decide how food and other supplies will be shared between the tenants and whether each party is expected to contribute a certain amount towards groceries on top of each month's rent.

Cleaning Schedule

While some tenants can verbally discuss the issue of cleaning the house, it is always a good idea to have it in writing. Each member should know when it’s their turn to clean the common areas of the house.

Utility Costs

The first thing that needs to be agreed upon regarding utilities is which ones to include and which to leave out.

Typically, each household requires the following utilities:

  • Natural gas
  • Water
  • Internet
  • Electricity
  • Phone
  • Trash pickup
  • Cable television

The cost of each utility, the name of the account holder, the account number, and the date on which payment is expected should all be clearly stated. Some utilities require a security deposit, and if that is the case, the person responsible for paying that deposit must be identified.

Additional Considerations and Signatures

Living with other people comes with a lot of other things that differ from one person to another. Some of these cannot be included on the rental application and will only be noticed after the person has been staying for a while.

However, whatever issues you can think of that may cause problems, such as policies on smoking, having overnight visitors, throwing parties, and keeping pets, should be noted down.

Finally, when all is in order, all parties involved should sign to show that they have understood and accepted the terms. Ideally, each party must keep a copy of the room rental agreement.

Local Laws

The following laws are applicable when renting out a portion of your rental property:

  • Discrimination when renting to someone as a roommate is strictly prohibited under federal law.
  • The roommate has a right to eviction proceedings similar to that of a tenant under Massachusetts roommate agreement laws.
  • If the original lease agreement allows subletting of the property, the roommate has a right to take legal action against the landlord.
  • The roommate has the right to live in habitable conditions, including reasonable maintenance and repairs of the residence.
  • The roommate has a right to see the lease agreement.
  • Emotional or physical harassment of any of the signatories is unlawful.
  • The roommate cannot pay rent that exceeds that of the master tenant.

Potential Issues

While there are certain benefits to having a roommate, such as saving on rent and utilities, the situation does come with its problems. Living with someone else, especially a stranger can cause the following issues:

  • Problems with noise, untidiness, and carelessness with household property
  • Not paying rent and utilities on time
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Theft or borrowing without permission
  • Having inappropriate guests over
  • Endangering oneself by living with a dangerous individual

Build Your Own

As long as you include all the issues we have highlighted in this article, your Massachusetts rental document will be solid. However, if you are afraid that you may end up forgetting essential items, or get the wording wrong, there is an easier solution for you.

You can download your own Massachusetts rental document directly from the Doorloop webpage by clicking the following links:


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,, 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.

Final Word

When it comes to finding tenants for your Massachusetts rental property, you can never cut corners with the agreement forms. Visit Doorloop right now for all the advice you need, as well as some helpful templates to get you started.


How Do I Enforce a Massachusetts Commercial Lease Agreement?

If a tenant breaches the terms of your Massachusetts commercial lease agreement by, for example, not paying their rent, you can start the eviction process to get them forcibly removed from your property.

What Is a Mutually Beneficial Living Arrangement?

This is a living situation in which both parties stand to benefit from one another, for example, by cutting back on the rent or by finding a good place with a suitable roommate to live with.

What Action Should I Take if I Do Not Receive Rent Payment for My Rental Property?

You should serve your tenant with a notice for the rent request. If that fails you can take the matter to court and ask for eviction.

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.

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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!