Should all roommates be on a lease?

Moving to a bigger city like New York City or Chicago can cost a lot. Many people who move to a city like NYC are usually on the lookout for roommates. Even people who already live here are online, posting “finding roommates” ads. This is only because rental prices are high and they are only continuing to skyrocket. Unless you are making high numbers, most people choose to live with others to save. 

But what happens when you find the roommate to live with and need to sign the lease? Is it a requirement to co-sign the lease, or is it possible to have just one roommate sign? Some rental places require each person living there to sign a lease, but let’s talk about the situation if that decision isn’t set in concrete. Below are some options if you’re curious about the pros and cons about signing a lease with a roommate.

Pros and Cons of Co-signing a Lease

Choosing to co-sign a lease with your roommate means that everyone is responsible for paying rent on time and preventing damage to the property. Everyone who is living on the property is and will be held accountable equally. Each roommate will have a direct relationship with the landlord, which means each one will be able to communicate complaints, repairs, and rent hikes. Everyone on the lease has an equal say in decisions made and cannot be forced to leave by other roommates without probable reason. 

The cons to co-sign a lease is that if a roommate leaves without notice, the other roommates are forced to continue paying rent in their absence, and depending on the number of roommates you have, the rent of the person who left will either be divided amongst everyone else, or if you were the only other roommate, you would be paying the full rent amount. Another con is when a roommate violates a condition(s) and everyone else can be held responsible for one person’s mistake.

Pros and Cons to NOT Co-signing a Lease

There are pros and cons to having only one roommate sign the lease too. However, most landlords require each roommate living at the property to at least list their names on paper. If a roommate did not sign the lease, they still have to follow the rights and obligations on the agreement, as long as they are living on the property. But if there are some rights and obligations outside of the lease that only one roommate signed, the other can be exempt from fulfilling this. The person who didn’t sign, however, will not benefit from short notices that are given by the landlord. 

A huge con to not all the roommates signing the lease is that they can just refuse to pay rent, and there really isn’t anything that can be done. They can cause a multitude of problems, and if they’re not on the lease, the roommate that is will have to fix the problems. The one who signed the lease is the one that will have to deal with paying rent on time, even if they have to pull money from their own pocket. The roommates in this situation do not have equal rights and obligations. Another con in this agreement is that the rent price can actually be more than if roommates co-sign. 

In Conclusion

If you have found a roommate and are choosing between these two options, just know that both are available (if the landlord allows it) to freely choose from. Note the pros and cons, and if you haven’t found a roommate yet, choose wisely to avoid roommate problems that could result in fines and a bad apartment experience.

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