Western Property Management, Inc.
Roommates: What You Should Know
The Residential Rental Agreement that you sign makes you jointly and severally responsible for all of the terms and conditions within the Rental Agreement.
Jointly and Severally means that you and your roommates are held to the terms of the Agreement both as a group and as individuals.
So, for example, you may have privately agreed with your roommates to pay a portion of the total rent. If you pay your privately agreed portion, you are still responsible for the payment of the remainder equally as much as your roommates.
Another example of this would be if 3 roommates occupy a home with each paying 1/3 of the rent. If one roommate has their payment returned NSF, all roommates would be notified and legally responsible for the portion of rent that has not been paid. Western Property Management, Inc. is not able to electively force only one tenant to pay and we must take actions (i.e. eviction) on all tenants as a group.
By the same token, if damage is done to the property, Western Property Management, Inc. will not apportion blame but will hold each tenant jointly and severally responsible for the cost of the repair. Who did and how much they are going to pay is, by necessity, a matter to be decided by private agreement between tenants. For example, if a tenant becomes intoxicated and punches a hole in the wall, all tenants would be responsible for the repair, and if Western Property Management, Inc. determines that the actions of the tenant constitute a breach in the terms of the Rental Agreement, we will pursue legal action against all of the tenants listed on the Rental Agreement.
If you want to modify your lease agreement by adding a new roommate there will be an additional deposit, along with a lease modification fee, proper documentation must be filed and approved by Western Property Management, Inc. prior to the event.
Security deposit refunds are disbursed in one check to either one party or to all tenants collectively. How you would like to have the deposit disbursed will need to be received in writing with all lessees signatures upon move-out. The Security Deposit will remain in trust until all tenants have vacated the property and possession of the property has been fully returned Western Property Management, Inc.
It is important to discuss household responsibilities with all of your roommates prior to signing the Residential Rental Agreement. It might even be prudent to have signed documentation of agreed distribution of the household chores and expenses (i.e. utilities)
It is up to the roommates to police themselves regarding violations of the lease. For example, if street parking is not allowed, one roommate parking in the street will cause issues for all the tenants. If Western Property Management, Inc. is forced to take legal action to enforce the Rental Agreement then it will be against all of the tenants collectively.
Roommate arrangements can be beneficial and often work as planned. However, it is best to make preparations for a plan of action in the event that something does not go perfectly. Even if you have known someone for years, living with him or her is often very different than occasional get-togethers. A Rental Agreement is a long contract that can have a lasting impact on your credit and future leasing ability, so please approach this with extreme caution.