Are You a Legal Professional?

Adding a Roommate to Your Lease

Adding a roommate isn't very complicated, but it pays to be careful about how you ask your landlord. It also helps to have some idea what to expect from your new roommate. Before even considering adding a roommate, ensure that whoever you choose is compatible and financially responsible.

Get the Landlord's Approval

Before writing your landlord to let him or her know that you wish to add an additional roommate, check your lease. Your lease will usually contain a clause about occupancy limits, so make sure that adding a roommate won't violate those limits. Your lease may also contain other provisions about what constitutes a "good tenant", so be sure that your prospective roommate also qualifies. Finally, it may be useful to have your prospective roommate attach his or her credit report along with the request.

New Roommate, New Lease

Assuming your landlord agrees to let you add a roommate and your prospective roommate passes a credit check, don't be surprised if the landlord asks you to sign a new agreement. Some landlordsmay allow you to modify your existing lease, but don't count on it. Signing a new lease assures that your new roommate is completely liable for rent alongside you, so it's for your benefit as well.

New Roommate, New Rent

It may seem odd that you should suddenly be paying more money for the exact same space, but landlords assume that more tenants cause more wear and tear. Also because you will usually have to sign a new lease, the landlord is entitled to include any rent increases that have occurred since you last signed. Although typically your landlord must give you notice of any rent increase, since this is a new lease, no such notice is required.

Security Deposit Increase

Along with a new lease and increased rent, your landlord will likely ask you to submit an additional security deposit as well. States limit how much of a security deposit landlords can ask for, so the increase over your old security deposit shouldn't be dramatic.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified real estate attorney to help you
navigate any landlord-tenant issues.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution