If you plan on having a roommate, first consider whether living with that person is a good idea.
A big advantage of having a roommate is lowering your housing costs, since you can split the cost of rent and utilities and sometimes, the cost of furniture, groceries, etc.
But problems can also arise with a roommate situation—including differences of opinion on housekeeping, visitors, noise, and bill payment.
A few of a hard, cold financial considerations when it comes to sharing an apartment:
What if your roommate fails to pay the rent?
Most leases say that if one of you does not pay his portion of the rent, the other tenant is responsible for paying the entire rent amount (called joint and several liability).
If you choose to have a roommate, put in writing any agreements with your roommate regarding how you will divide the bills and the rent, signed and dated by both you and your roommate.
What if your roommate violates the lease?
Simply put, a lease violation is doing something that is not consistent with what you agreed to do (or not to do) when you signed your lease agreement.
The most serious and common lease violation is not paying the rent, which can lead to eviction. Other, lesser lease violations are usually not serious enough to result in eviction. But repeated lesser violations—such as several late rent payments, keeping a pet in a no-pet property, repeated neighbor complaints for noise, or damages to the property—can result in frustrating a landlord to the point they may consider eviction.
Unless the lease says otherwise, the landlord can evict both of you from the rental property even if you weren’t the person who actually violated the lease. Depending on the terms of your lease, this could even mean that you are liable for the entire amount of the rent due on the lease (called an acceleration clause; such clauses say that if you fail to do something required under the lease, all of the rent due under the lease becomes due at once).
Photo credit: Chris Benson/Unsplash