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Can Roommates Be Added to Rental Property Leases?
It is quite common in the rental industry to include a roommate to assist with monthly expenses. Having an extra person who can share the property responsibilities can be a benefit. Not every real estate lease agreement allows roommates to be included without a review by property managers or property owners. There is a traditional process that is involved with adding roommates to a rental property legally.
How to Add Roommates to Lease Agreements
Each state has different landlord laws that apply to lease agreements. Reviewing these laws before making changes to any lease agreement is helpful. The information provided here is not considered legal advice or a primer for the exact process to add a new roommate due to differences in state laws.
1. Determine Roommate or Subtenant
2. Verify Financial Responsibility
3. Calculate Security Deposit
4. Obtain Landlord Approval
Difference Between Roommate and Subtenant
A subtenant is the most basic form of two people sharing the same living space. This person does not deal directly with property managers or landlords and rents direct from the leaseholder. Landlords cannot usually evict a subtenant unless a violation of the original lease agreement permits evictions. A roommate added to a lease agreement shares the same responsibilities as the original lease holder.
Verify Roommate Financial Data
This process can be completed in two different ways. Proof of funds can be requested in person such as paycheck stubs, letters from banks or cash in hand. Many landlords provide a background check and financial review for any roommate added to a lease agreement. This process will prove the accuracy of financial information for a new roommate.
Calculate the Security Deposit
When roommates are included in a lease agreement, a separate security deposit is usually required. This is used to cover the additional person in terms of damage to the property during the lease term. Property managers, landlords or rental home owners usually help calculate this security deposit that is payable immediately upon roommate approval.
Obtain Approval from Landlords
A property manager often performs the functions of a landlord or owner of property. The exact process that some companies use could differ and add extra time to the verification process. Most approval is offered in the form of a letter to the leaseholder and new roommate. This approval is the final step of including a new person to an existing lease.
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