Apartment Resources

Adding a Roommate to a Rental Agreement

When you want to bring in an additional roommate or replace one that moved out, make a request to your landlord in writing and get his or her permission.

What will your landlord consider?
  • The occupancy limit per rental unit set by your landlord.
  • The prospective tenant’s rental history, credit history, employment, and references.
  • Additional wear and tear caused by more tenants in the unit
  • Additional costs for trash, water, or utilities (if paid for by landlord)

To speed up the process of adding your roommate, it helps to anticipate these concerns and include information such as your new roommate’s credit report and references with your request.

Signing a new lease or rental agreement
Your landlord may be fine with an informal arrangement or may want the new roommate to sign the lease as a co-tenant. Having your roommate become a co-tenant is good for both you and the landlord because it ensures that this roommate has the same rights and responsibilities (e.g. liability for rent and damage) as you do.

Increase in Rent and/or Security Deposit
If your landlord has you sign a new agreement, he or she may change the terms or increase rent. Additional roommates mean more wear and tear and increased utility bills, so landlords will often ask for more rent to cover those costs.

Your landlord may also increase the security deposit. However, unlike rent, state laws limit how much a landlord can charge for security deposits. For example, in California it is two months’ rent for an unfurnished unit with no waterbed. Check with your local housing authority to find out rent laws and security deposit limits in your state.

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