Sharing a living space with another person is often a good way to cut expenses, divide household chores, and find a friend. On the other hand, you may find yourself living with someone with different cleaning standards, sleeping habits, and lifestyles, as well as different views about religion and politics. Get to know your roommate. Be frank and open about your preferences and expectations. Come to clear agreements about the division of expenses and household chores, the use of shared spaces, guest policies, etc. It is highly recommended that you use a Roommate Contract. The Roommate Contract is a legal document that prescribes in writing each roommate’s responsibilities and obligations. It can be used in a court of law if one roommate moves out, leaving the other to pay all of the rent and other expenses. It is also a good way to find out about your roommate, and come to an agreement about arrangements so that don’t become problems in the future. Most apartment complexes and landlords will not rent separately to roommates, so each roommate is responsible for the total expenses of the apartment or property. Thus, if one roommate moves out, the other roommate(s) will have to provide the missing portion of the rent and utilities. Also, if one roommate’s name is not on the lease, that person cannot be held legally responsible for the rent, so make sure that all roommates are listed on and sign the lease.
If one roommate moves out before the end of the lease, there are several things you can do:
- Find Another Roommate: While this is the responsibility of the roommate who moved out, you will have to take action if the roommate does not.
- Go to Mediation: Mediation can assist people in finding resolutions that are mutually beneficial. The AA White Dispute Resolution Center can give you the names/locations of mediators at 713-743-2066.
- Go to Court: In the state of Texas, you can file suit against your former roommate if the amount of money involved is less than $5,000. There is also a small fee involved to file in small claims court.