Source: Renter’s Rights-2nd Edition
                    By Attorney Janet Portman & Marcia Stewart

Obviously, you will not choose to live with someone who is financially unstable or inconsiderate.  Even if you are satisfied with a prospective roommate’s resume, your Landlord might not be.  There are a number of reasons a Landlord might object to your chosen roommate, even if you have chosen someone who seems responsible and trustworthy.  To increase your chances of an official okay, consider the following issues.

Will adding a roommate exceed the occupancy limit?  Landlord’s are entitled to set reasonable limits on the number of occupants per rental unit.  (See June 2014 Tip of the Month)

Will the new tenant meet the Landlord’s “good tenant” criteria?
If your Landlord subjected you to a thorough screening process, checking credit, employment, rental history and references, put yourself in your Landlord’s loafers and do the same for your prospective roommate.  If the results are dismal, don’t waste your time further.  If there is a “smallish skeleton” in the closet, do your best to prepare a plausible explanation.

Adding a roommate to the lease or rental agreement. If your intended roommate passes your Landlord’s credit and background checks, the Landlord will probably ask both of you to sign a new lease or written month-to-month agreement.  From your Landlord’s point of view, this is far more than a formality, since it makes the new arrival a co-tenant who is 100% liable to pay rent and make good on any damage.  It is also desirable from your perspective, because it makes it completely clear that your new roommate shares the same legal responsibilities that you do.

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This web page was updated on 04/29/2014.