What is a Room Rental Agreement?

Whether you’re looking to downsize or make extra bucks, you can’t go wrong with renting. In fact, you’d be surprised how many people rent out an empty room before finally selling their home. Mostly, people rent out empty rooms to the young generation that needs additional space and income to pay the mortgage.

No matter what stage of life you’re in – increasing income through renting works wonders. If you own a big house and plenty of rooms empty, renting them out would help you earn a sizable income. When dealing with room renting, it is crucial to focus on the room rental agreement.

Shared purpose of Room Rental Agreement

The purpose of having a sound room rental agreement is to protect your vested interests. And most importantly, it gives homeowners a chance to highlight what tenants can and cannot do on their rented property. In most cases, homeowners rent out empty rooms to get a supplement income. Unlike most side hustles that take up a lot of time, renting is straightforward.

Despite the reason you want to rent out a room, ensure there is a room rental agreement in place. Throughout the tenancy, you can review the room rental agreement to set specific boundaries and check whether or not the tenant followed your rules.

In this post, you will learn about the basics of a room rental agreement, how it works, the consequences of not having a room rental agreement, and how to draft a room rental agreement:

What is a Room Rental Agreement?

A room rental agreement is often referred to as a term sublease agreement and combines elements of the original agreement. It is the most comprehensive and detailed outlook on tenants’ rights and responsibilities.

A room rental agreement gives the tenants an outline of all responsibilities before subleasing a rental room. Remember, a room rental agreement does not cover the entire rental property. Instead, it outlines specific responsibilities that apply to renting a particular room.

When dealing with rentals, there is little to no value in oral agreements. Instead, written room rental agreements are ideal for landlords and tenants to honor their promises. And that’s because a room rental agreement carries weight and propels tenants to fulfill financial obligations and responsibilities.

In order to protect tenant rights, it is crucial to have a room rental agreement. It is common practice for the principal tenant to sublease a specific room of a property to another tenant, and having a room rental agreement brings all tenants on the same page.

A room rental agreement is essential between the landlord and the person renting a room. It should outline all the responsibilities and define rules for the tenant and the landlord. Once a room rental agreement is signed, it becomes a legally binding document that safeguards the tenant and the landlord. But understand that a room rental agreement does not work like a traditional sublease agreement.

Room Rental Agreement: How it is different from a roommate agreement or traditional lease?

Oftentimes, people use the traditional lease and room rental agreement interchangeably. While both documents are legal rental contracts between both the landlord and the tenant, they are still relatively different. On the surface, the difference between a roommate agreement and a room rental agreement may seem minor.

Still, it is better to get familiar with the roles and responsibilities attached to the room rental agreement and roommate agreement. When someone becomes part of a rental housing agreement, you can rely on undefined and vague terms. In fact, you have to follow clearly defined rules to meet specific expectations.

A room rental agreement or room lease agreement kicks in when a new tenant comes to terms with the original lease. You may have heard about a room rental agreement as a room lease agreement or sublease agreement.

A roommate or traditional rental agreement

  • It is signed by multiple tenants living together and does not require the signature of the property owner.
  • It covers the shared cost of items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and maintenance.
  • It defines clear house rules like temperature settings and quiet hours.
  • It applies to the tenant and the landlord who don’t share the same rental unit.
  • It is an independent document and is separate from the original agreement.
  • It does not require the permission of the landlord.

A Room Rental Agreement

  • Popular as a sublease among the masses.
  • Unlike a traditional lease that covers the whole unit, a room rental agreement covers one room within a bigger rental unit.
  • Unlike a traditional lease that can last up to a year, a room rental agreement is designed to support short-term lease on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • A room rental agreement is between a landlord and a renter.
  • It applies to the landlord and renter who live in the same household.
  • It requires the approval of the landlord to process the sublease.
  • It can include elements of the original agreement.
  • It works when a tenant decides to sublet a room to another party.

A standard room rental agreement should be clear about the following aspects:


It should highlight the address of the unit that landlord is leasing to the sub-tenant.

Responsibilities and obligations

It should describe the basic responsibilities, obligations, and duties of each tenant within the lease.


Cover the starting and ending dates in the room rental agreement.


It should describe the distribution of utilities among tenants, like who will be responsible for paying different utility bills.


Identify and add detailed information about each tenant and sub-tenant.


It should cover the cost of the security deposit and rent of the sub-tenant.

Renter’s insurance

It should state whether or not the renters will buy the renter’s insurance throughout the tenancy.

Parking space

Determine whether or not tenants are permissible to park their vehicles and the number of available parking spots assigned to each tenant.


It should highlight the responsibility of tenants if a guest damages the property and under what conditions you can trace the source of the damage.


It highlights whether or not the tenant can have guests or pets in the unit.

Smoking and alcohol

Note smoking rules and acceptable behavior by tenants or guests when consuming alcohol.

What can you add to a Room Rental Agreement?

When you draft the room rental agreement on your own, it is better to make a few copies and hold onto the original for safekeeping. In a room rental agreement, you can be specific and highlight details that matter the most to you.

From a landlord’s perspective, it is vital to report received rent as an income source. But the landlord can make deductions by making various improvements to render a better living experience for the tenant.

A room rental agreement should include:

  • Your address, contact information, and name should be under the landlord section
  • Name, address, and contact information of the application under the tenant section
  • A clear description of the room to avoid confusion
  • Full address and geographical location of the real estate property
  • Agreement terms and conditions like weekly or monthly
  • Household rules that landlords and tenants can reference easily
  • Total charging rent on the due date
  • Fees landlord can charge when the rent is late
  • Type of chores tenant has to do at a specified time
  • Suggestion to buy renter’s insurance and get insurance proof
  • Conditions under which the tenant is allowed to sublease a room
  • Signed signatures with dates under the words Tenant and Landlord
  • Absolve tenant of incurring any liability unless there is a direct negligence
  • The conditions for the tenant to sublease the and how separation of areas and privacy would work
  • Ensure parking space, bedroom locks, and smoke detectors are functional
  • Holds tenant accountable for maintaining the good condition of the unit
  • Notice period before terminating the agreement
  • Security deposit amount and conditions if there is damage

The need to have a Room Rental Agreement

Many homeowners see a room rental agreement as an opportunity to increase income. It is ideal for the building manager, principal tenant, or homeowner to lease a portion of a unit to a third-party tenant. With a room rental agreement, you can identify and address the obligations and responsibilities of all involved parties and create a joyful living experience.

The fact is that the room rental agreement has become an excellent tool to address unit problems before they spiral out of control. To ensure adherence to the room rental agreement, all involved parties have to communicate on open channels.

When a tenant enters a room rental agreement, it is important to highlight the most obvious elements that may lead to contention in the foreseeable future. A room rental agreement helps the landlord avoid potential arguments right from the start.

Starting and maintaining constructive conversations with tenants takes time and often doesn’t pan out. In this scenario, a room rental agreement is a perfect piece of document that brings the tenant and the landlord on the same page.

From a legal standpoint of view, room rental agreements are not compact or all-in-one solutions. Instead, they serve as a guide for tenants and landlords to follow the same direction. It propels tenants to choose a roommate with due diligence and stay in touch with landlords. While courts can enforce tenants to fulfill their financial obligations, they cannot enforce irresponsible tenants to maintain a clean room.

How to write a Room Rental Agreement?

Before you note down different elements of your room rental agreement, consider your state’s requirements for legal rental contracts. Plus, make sure the room rental agreement you create is between the subtenant and the tenant and does not cover the entire unit.

While there are various versions of a standard room rental agreement form, you should be able to identify all the prerequisite requirements and details. Room rental agreements have become effective tools to follow through pre-determined guidelines that suit different conditions.

Here are some essential steps and guidelines that can help you create a solid room rental agreement:

Highlight lease details

Note down the length or term of your lease. Make sure to fill out the starting or ending lease date. If the lease is monthly – classify it as a fixed lease.

While filling out the room rental agreement form, make sure to highlight the full name of the tenant and subtenant renting your room. You can also add a brief description of the room rental and the bathroom and garage details.

Security deposit

Reference the original lease rental agreement and mention the amount of the security deposit on the property.

Fill out basic room rental agreement information

Fill in basic room rental information like agreement date and tenant name. Make sure to provide an accurate room date on the rental agreement form. Similarly, write down the full name of the tenant. You should also identify the unit address with the street address and the room your tenant rents to a subtenant. Mention if there is any room number or apartment number.  

Note down legal considerations

Whether it’s renter’s insurance or early termination of the contract, note down all legal considerations. Highlight if the subtenant has to buy the renter’s insurance. And if the subtenant does, mention the insurance company’s name, the signer’s name on the insurance policy, and the insurance policy’s monthly rate. In case of early termination, note down the number of months required to give out the notice.

Mention tenants who can share utilities

Since utilities are not part of the rent, write whether or not you offer any additional utilities on top of the rent. If you do, list down all the utilities. If your utilities are not part of the rent, make sure to highlight this detail for the tenant and subtenants.

Consequently, it would direct tenants to share the utility costs. If tenants will share utility bills, mention the listed name on your utility bill. Highlight how tenants can split or rotate these costs. In the same fashion, mention the parking details and whether or not the tenant/subtenant would get exclusive parking privileges. Mention the vehicle’s description, parking spot, and subtenant’s name.

Add behavioral conditions

Whether it’s overnight guests, quiet hours, noise level, parties, laundry, or pets, mention the behavioral conditions. For instance, highlight if the subtenant can bring pets into the unit. If the tenant permits pets, write down the pet type, owner’s name, and pet’s name.

In addition, identify the number of tenants that will carry out the household duties like chores. Similarly, determine the quiet hours and minimum noise level in the room rental agreement form. If there is a party, highlight the terms and conditions for acceptable behavior.

For example, if the tenant plans to host a big party, mention the days he has to give prior notice for the event. For parties and entertainment gatherings, establish clear rules about smoking and alcohol consumption within the property.

If the principal has made the property a smoking-free area, highlight it for the subtenants. In a room rental agreement form, check your state laws and whether or not they permit construction. Mention governing laws and amendments in your room rental agreement.

No Room Rental Agreements: What are the consequences?

Legally, a room rental agreement is not a mandatory obligation for tenants or landlords. However, it works in the best interests of both parties. In fact, the benefits of having a room rental agreement outweigh its limitations and risks.

As a property owner, you understand that real estate management has become more complex and competitive. So, having a legal contract like a room rental agreement makes perfect sense. Whether it’s a natural disaster or property damage, a room rental agreement can guide tenants and landlords to take the right course of action.

Besides, landlords and tenants become vulnerable to various risks without a proper room rental agreement. In fact, the consequences of not having a room rental agreement are not worth it. Without a legally binding room rental agreement, there can be mental frustration and direct conflicts around property damages.

Simple room rental agreement

A room rental agreement can protect multiple parties at once. Most importantly, a room rental agreement protects tenants from unexpected rent increases, unwanted inspections, and third-party fees. But if you cut out the room rental agreement, it becomes more stressful for landlords and tenants to address property concerns.

Combined mental and financial consequences can also tarnish the reputation of landlords in the market and trigger a potential lawsuit. Without a proper room rental agreement, you cannot resolve common issues between the tenant and the landlord. Often, tenant breaks the agreement terms.

But instead of having to deal with unprofessional and rude behavior, landlords can use the room rental agreement to evict tenants from the rental unit. If there is a direct violation of agreed-upon rules, the landlord will be within legal rights to evict tenants. Since evictions take a lot of time and money, landlords use rental applications for tenant screenings.

Lost resources

One of the pitfalls of not having a room rental agreement is that it can force the tenant’s hand to pay more rent, pay for property damages, and forfeit the security deposit. Similarly, not having a room rental agreement gives tenants a free hand to move out of the room without giving early notice.

Lost time

When a roommate leaves without early notice, it leaves no choice for landlords and homeowners to find a suitable replacement. What’s more is that unexpected search often doesn’t pan out for landlords. Often, roommates have an argument and disagree over post-midnight noise and waste time trying to solve the problem on the spot. And without a rental agreement, there is no clear guidance, and the disagreement is not resolved.

Mental frustration

One of the major consequences of not having a room rental agreement is that it leaves tenants and landlords in the balance. Over time, it leads to distrust, and one party usually leaves. With a room rental agreement, the landlord can call out and make the tenant accountable for unacceptable behavior or delayed rental payments. This approach usually leads to mistrust, miscommunication, and misunderstandings.

Property damage

When there is no room rental agreement, there is a good chance a borrowed property is damaged or not returned. For instance, when there is damage to the community property, one party is most likely to cover the entire bill.

Final thoughts

Before you advertise to rent one of your empty rooms, take a proactive approach to curate a room rental agreement. A room rental agreement also allows owners and landlords to find ideal renters. As a homeowner and landlord, you should be aware of your state zoning laws related to room renting. The key is to take some time and understand the process of renting a room legally.

While the process to rent a room is simple, it’s worth noting local laws that can impact tenancy. In some cases, you may need permits and inspections for rentals. If you’re in the clear to rent one of your rooms legally, you can dive into bigger considerations, like whether or not you want to furnish the apartment for the tenant.

You can define specific parameters around your room rental agreement. You can offer monthly rent or leases for the young generation of renters to garner the attention of more potential tenants. In hindsight, a room rental agreement helps you clarify limits and conditions for tenants.

Why PandaDoc Notary?

On PandaDoc Notary, you can make the most out of remote online notarization. RON is not a passing trend but a new way to notarize documents.

If you want to notarize your room rental agreement, you can use the platform to schedule an appointment with one of our online notary agents and accelerate the notarization process.

You can count on the expertise and experience of public notaries to review and validate a wide range of documents, like the room rental agreement.

If you want to speed up your notarization process, use the PandaDoc Notary platform. It is a perfect hub to have a flawless signing experience and engage in seamless virtual conversations.

Notarize your legal estate documents through PandaDoc Notary.


Can a room rental agreement cover multiple tenants?

Your room rental agreement can involve many tenants. Since tenants and subtenants vary, it is important to validate each party’s provided information with specified lease dates.

Can you execute a weekly or monthly in room rental agreement?

Landlords and homeowners can execute a weekly or monthly room rental agreement. When you draft a room rental agreement, make sure to mention the accurate dates of the lease.

Who is responsible for preparing the room rental agreement?

You can avail the services of a real estate agent to draft a room rental agreement for you. Landlords seek out real estate agents to authenticate the room rental agreement between multiple parties. And both the tenant and the landlord should sign the rental agreement with two non-beneficiary witnesses.

Who is responsible to cover the cost of the empty room in rental agreement?

Typically, the tenant covers the cost of rental agreements.

Who gets to keep the room rental agreement?

While the tenant gets a copy of the room rental agreement, the landlord maintains the original room rental agreement.