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ADDING A ROOMMATE TO A LEASE

Tenants in an apartment or other rental property may wish to add a new roommate for any number of reasons. Sometimes, this is an effort to alleviate some of the burden of rent, while in other cases the existing tenant or tenants may have simply found a compatible person with whom they would like to share living space. If you are personally considering opening up your apartment to another, there are several things you will need to take into consideration. The main factor to keep in mind is the same for nearly any substantial change you choose to make in your apartment or in your renting arrangement. You will need to request your landlord's permission.

If you are unfamiliar with the ramifications of adding a roommate to your lease, you will want to familiarize yourself with the entire process before promising anything to someone who wishes to move in. One important thing to understand involves the rent itself. If you are seeking a roommate primarily because the burden of the rent is too much for you to handle, you may want to consult with your landlord about your concern before officially requesting that a roommate be added. The reason for this relates to the change of stipulations that can take place during this process.

Practical Lease Considerations

One reason that you will want to ask your landlord to add a new roommate to the lease, rather than merely allowing someone to live in your rented residence and pay you cash before you pay the landlord, is so that you personally will be protected in case this person decides to throw a party. If the landlord approves someone else living in the rental property with you, he or she will then most likely want that individual to go through a standard process of credit check, application, and new lease. This proceeding affords as much protection to you as it does to your landlord.

Oftentimes, people who have a roommate "unofficially" living with them experience problems if that individual decides not pay rent. If the new roommate does not have his or her name on a lease agreement, you do not have a recourse if the rent is not paid. If you have brought someone on board specifically to help with the rent, you may find your decision backfiring if that person becomes either unable or unwilling to pay a fair share of the rent. Even though having this person go through the standards rental agreement process is in your ultimate best interest, there are some possibilities concerning your own lease that you should be prepared for.

Because your rental situation will be changing, at your request, from the original one you agreed upon in your lease, your landlord may very well require you to sign a new a lease at the same time your new roommate signs his or hers. This might not have a significant impact on you, though in some cases, your rental rates will be affected. On a normal basis, your landlord would have to provide you with ample notification of rate changes in accordance with laws in your jurisdiction; if you are willingly changing your rental situation, however, the landlord can write a new lease that reflects inflation in standard rental prices.

Another thing to consider in adding a roommate to a lease is the occupancy limit. If you do not recall off hand what the limit associated with your apartment is, you can either find a copy of your original lease agreement or ask your landlord. Often dictated to a certain extent by local laws, occupancy limits may prevent a new roommate being added.

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