Finding a roommate can be a daunting task. So you've interviewed a number of people. Some odder than others. You've struggled between the girl who's a kindergarten teacher by day and pin-up model by night, the yoga instructor, the sous-chef, and the hot blonde that could be your Carrie Underwood. You make your choice and you hope this person doesn't mind that you sing while on the loo because it helps. It is time to lay down the rules of the house without sounding anal and controlling. But what should actually be written down on paper and signed? I say everything. Here's my lease agreement I wrote up for my new roommate that you can use as a template.
RENTAL AGREEMENT: Commencing on the 1st of June, 2009, [Roommate's Name], Facebook member and recent graduate of The University of California, Berkeley, (hereinafter referred to as “Flatmate”), agrees to enter into an agreement on the 20th of May, 2009 (hereinafter referred to as the “Contract”) to pay to [Your Name], the greatest strategist and photographer of our time, (hereinafter referred to as “Lord of the Manor” or “Incumbent Flatmate” or “Other Flatmate”) the sum of [Rental Amount] per month on or around the beginning of each calendar month to share in the occupation of the apartment at [Your Address] (hereinafter referred to as “The Place”). Rent check shall be made out to [Your Name] and can be written in Black, Blue or Red ink. The usage of Green ink shall result in the unconditional voidance of the check. Exceptions will not be made. Please refer to the Webster’s Dictionary for clarification on the word “unconditional”.
TERM: The lease term follows a complex algorithm whereby the termination of the lease can be triggered at any time by the following in descending priority:
- Death: The lease will be terminated upon removal of FLATMATE’s corpse, pale or otherwise.
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me: A lack of it and utter and uber disregard for the other flatmate. This may include, but is not limited to walking into the restroom while the other person is poo-ing more than three (3) times in as many days or twice (2) in a period of 8 hours, taking a bite out of the person’s KFC 3 piece meal while said person is in the restroom and leaving only a post-it with a winky face.
- Peeves: If the entirety of one flatmate becomes a pet peeve to the other flatmate, the lease shall be terminated upon a series of passive aggressive email exchanges with a minimum of 2 responses from each person following initial email, and a verbal tirade of mother insults and derogatory racial comments directed directly with eye contact towards the other flatmate despite both flatmates being of Asian descent.
- C’est La Vie: The lease can be terminated via the employment of an argument about the merits of “just living life man” and that one shall not be “tied down to the rules of the society and the oppression by The Man” and that “its just time to see the world, you know, and like experience the awesomeness of it”. This will require at least a 30 day notice to the other flatmate out of courtesy and the binding constraints of the Contract.
- In Other Words: It’s month to month, until it’s not.
UTILITIES: Utilities will be estimated and determined monthly, with exceptions, and shall include the use and services of Comcast Wi-Fi Internet Access, Comcast Digital Cable (Excluding Fee-Based On Demand Services and Pornography not included with internet access), PG&E and Garbage Disposal.
SUBLETTING: FLATMATE shall not be permitted to sublease her room because that would just be uncool.
CLOSET RENTAL: FLATMATE shall not be permitted to engage in the rental of the closet space despite its attractive value as a small room for someone who is not claustrophobic.
LATE CHARGE/BAD CHECKS: In the event of a bounced check or payment not received by the 5th day of each calendar month, the FLATMATE shall purchase dinner to turn the frown upside down that will surely be on the face of the Lord of the Manor. And then make out a check that will not bounce even if it requires capital support from the FLATMATE’s parents or a good friend willing to lend such money without worrying about the strain it will have on the friendship.
NOISE AND DISRUPTIVE ACTIVITIES: FLATMATE shall exercise restraint and consideration whenever necessary, using best judgment. This includes, but is not limited to, off-key karaoke singing in the living room, restroom, or any shared spaces, including standing at the bottom of the stairs, off-rhythm tap dancing, inappropriate bird calls, and unnecessary flatulence between the hours of 9 pm and 2 am, except on weekends.
PETS: One Pet shall be allowed until the existence of the Pet is discovered by the LANDLORD at which time the Pet must be donated, exterminated, left at the FLATMATE’s parent’s house or the FLATMATE must trigger the C’est La Vie termination clause and vacate the premises with a 30 day’s notice.
VISITORS: Visitors are allowed to stay overnight with advance notice to the other flatmate. Long term visitors are allowed on a case by case basis as long as the person is attractive or is not a douchebag. Please refer to www.urbandictionary.com for clarification on what the term “douchebag” covers.
HYGIENE: The facilities of The 404 are there to be used. Odors should only emanate from the restroom or the compost and trash bins. Tampons, wings, pads and other female hygiene products should be disposed of properly. Please remove of any hair that is no longer attached to one’s scalp from the floors, showers and other shared spaces.
ADDITIONAL TERMS: The basic rules of engagement shall be observed. That is: Respect, consideration and an avoidance of being petty and passive aggressive.
In Witness Whereof, the parties have caused these presents to be duly executed:
_______________ FLATMATE ____________ DATE
_______________ LORD OF THE MANOR ____________ DATE