To share or not to share

By Nancy Kaller on Jul 07, 2021 at 10:04 PM in Articles
To share or not to share

So…perhaps you’ve decided to move out of your parents’ home, or move to a different area, or a smaller or even larger home. The question to consider is if you want to live alone or share the home? Consider this:  

When you venture into a rental agreement with another person, you both are equally responsible for the monthly rent, in addition to the other terms listed in the rental agreement. You are cotenants.

Cotenants are two or more tenants who rent the same property under the same rental agreement. Each cotenant will have a rental agreement with the landlord and are therefore 100% responsible for carrying out the rental agreement, each of you shares the same legal rights and responsibilities. You each are liable for any damage done to the home. 

Your landlord probably wouldn’t care what agreement you might have for paying the rent with the other person, just as long as the rent is paid. However, keep in mind when you are cotenants, each person has the responsibility to pay the full amount of rent, so if the other tenant can’t pay, or won’t pay, or simply vacates, you are on the hook to pay the full months’ rent. 

We’ve just touched on one portion of the rental agreement, but keep in mind as cotenants, you are responsible for broken items, even if you didn’t break them. Or how about the guests that consistently stay over longer than the rental agreements states, which would then be a breach in the rental agreement, which could be grounds for eviction.

So, when choosing to cotenant and have a roomie, be sure to pick wisely. Just because you’ve known this person forever, or perhaps they are your best friend, think hard about actually living with them and decide if it could work out. Perhaps they want to “always” have people over, which maybe you wouldn’t like in the long term, or perhaps you know of times they didn’t pay their debt, or they are night owls and you are not and the TV is on late at night, disturbing your sleep. Think long and hard and choose wisely because as cotenants, you don’t get to decide you want the person out and you evict them, only the landlord can evict a person. 

Lastly, if you do decide to have a roomie, write up an agreement together and reflect on the top topics, such as how the rent will be split, how the cleaning will be done, simple “house rules” that work for each of you and hopefully will help in avoiding disputes. Remember this agreement has no bearing on the rental agreement with the landlord, it is strictly between you and your roomie in hopes that you have a wonderful experience together making memories.

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This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change and may vary by county or city. You are responsible for performing your research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

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