What To Do If a Tenant Wants To Add a Roommate

According to Zillow, almost a third of all households include roommates, an increase from 24.4% back in 2000. Doubled-up households rose more in areas like Florida, California and New York where rent rose faster than income. Many adults choose to have a roommate to help share the burden of rent. Although as a landlord renting to roommates may seem like an extra hassle as you may need to do multiple background checks, the more adults on the lease, the more people are responsible to ensure rent is paid on time and the property is well maintained.

Sometimes a current tenant may decide that they want to have a roommate to live with them are their current roommate is leaving and they want to replace them. According to NOLO many landlords insist that any new roommates become co-tenants on the lease. This policy makes sense to landlords to ensure the new roommate has the same responsibilities as the current tenant. All landlords should make it clear to tenants that adding or changing roommates comes with certain parameters.

  • Adding a new roommate cannot exceed the occupancy limit. Landlords can set reasonable limits on the number of individuals living in their rental property. The general rule is 2 people per bedroom plus one more. Different localities may allow for more.

  • New roommate must meet your guidelines including credit history, employment, rental history, and references.

  • A new lease must be drawn up and signed which includes the current tenant and the new roommate.

  • If your tenant wants to add a roommate you can ask for additional rent to cover extra wear and tear from having an extra person living in your rental. If you do raise the rent when a roommate is added to a lease make sure to ask for a commensurate security deposit.

  • Inspect the property before the new roommate moves in and save any documents or pictures in your rental property system. It would be unwise to add a new tenant and potentially extend a lease if the current tenant is not taking care of your rental property.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.