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What is a Roommate Agreement and Why is it Important?

Julia Paz | 11/4/20

What is a Roommate Agreement and Why is it Important?

The Importance of Creating a Roommate Agreement 

 No matter who your roommate is or where you’re living, it’s important to set up a roommate agreement. A roommate agreement puts into writing the duties, rules, and obligations that are expected of each roommate. If one roommate was to not follow through with the roommate agreement, this document could be used to prove that the roommate initially agreed to that rule. This agreement also lays out exactly what each roommate expects of the other, which removes any stress or worry that may occur without it. Overall, roommate agreements make coexisting simpler for everyone involved. These are the most important ideas to cover on a roommate agreement. 

What Is a Roommate Agreement?

A roommate agreement is a simple document you create with your roommates upon move in that outlines agreed-upon rules that are expected of all housemates. It’s a great way to start on the right foot with your roommates. A roommate agreement should cover a few key areas; paying for things, personal preferences, and anything related to the home itself. You should include anything important to you and your roommates! Don’t worry about including things already laid out in your leases like rent or utilities.

House meetings are essential for solid roommate relationships

 Important Topics to Include

Purchase and Payments of Communal Items

Buying the same item 3 or four times does not make any sense. Decide how often each person will buy things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paper towels, or milk. You can also decide to split the cost every time these items are purchased, but it is completely up to you!


 Dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes… it doesn’t matter. There should be a rule for pets or a potential rule for pets in the situation that a roommate has or decides to get one. Make sure to double-check your lease and house rules before introducing a new pet into your home!


Can guests come over whenever the roommate wants?  This one is really up to your personal preferences. Some people love having friends around while others want to have their home be a private quiet space. Discuss a guest plan and what needs to be done to have a guest stay over. This could be as simple as texting your roommates when you will have someone over.

Cleaning Expectations

A cleaning schedule isn’t important, but one roommate shouldn’t be doing the bulk of the work unless it was agreed upon. Everyone should contribute to cleaning, so layout what needs to be done and what is expected of each person. At the very least, everyone should do their own dishes and clean up after themselves. 


This is an important part of the roommate agreement especially for students or those who work from home. This can include anything from quiet hours to how far away you can hear the noise. Be sure to set clear expectations so that if you have to ask your roommate to be quiet you have a leg to stand on.


No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night freezing or sweating. Make sure to compromise with your roommates on an ideal temperature for your new home.

Covid-19 Precautions

In today’s day and age, this is something that should be talked about among roommates. Set expectations for how seriously you all take social distancing and other expert suggestions to keep yourselves healthy and safe. This can be as simple as agreeing to wash your hands when you enter the home or getting tested whenever you don’t feel 100% well. 

Living with roommates can be hard! Try your best to be as understanding and friendly as possible especially when moving in. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot!

A roommate agreement can prevent any awkward confrontation and conflicts that may arise in the future. By setting up clear guidelines and expectations together, you will be able to start living together in your new home on the best foot possible.

Learn more about Alcove roommate matching and application process Here!