When tenants decide to become roommates it is a good idea for them to make a written agreement that specifies what is expected of each roommate.

Roommate Agreement
  • How are the utility payments, phone bills or heating expenses to be divided?

  • How are the rent or security deposit payments to be divided?

  • Who is responsible for cleaning?

  • Putting each person’s responsibilities in writing may help to avoid problems later.

In rare situations, each roommate may have a separate agreement with the landlord. In such cases each roommate will be responsible for only his share of the rent payment to the landlord.


Students should be aware that the Boston Zoning Code prohibits five or more full time undergraduate college students from sharing a dwelling unit in Boston.
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Most leases contain a rent responsibility clause. Usually it will state that each tenant is “jointly and severally liable” for the rent. This means that if one or more roommates fail to pay their share of the rent payment the remaining roommates are responsible for the entire payment.

Most leases and written agreements prohibit subletting without the landlord’s permission. This means a tenant cannot add or replace roommates without the landlord’s prior approval.