Having a roommate can bring an otherwise unattainable apartment into your price range, and can open up opportunities in high-rent city centers. However, as anyone who has ever had a roommate knows, not all roommate situations are a match made in heaven.
While this means there are a lot of personal factors that should be considered when choosing the right roommate, make sure that you know the roommate laws in your state before bunking with your bestie.
Not all roommate laws are created equal, so always check your specific state laws regarding co-tenants, sub-tenants, and additional occupants. To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the most specific–and indeed the strangest–rental laws regarding roommates in some of the most renter populated cities.
- In New York State, certain tenants are legally given the right to live with a roommate. This right cannot be waived, and any lease provisions suggesting you cannot have a roommate may be ignored. A renter must, however, inform your landlord of your new roommate’s name within 30 days after they move in, or within 30 days after your landlord requests that you provide the name.
This only true if you live in a privately owned building, and you are the only person on your lease.
- Special Notes: If you live in public housing, most subsidized housing, or if two or more people have signed the lease you do not have the right to an additional roommate unless your lease does not expressly give you the right.
- While it’s true that you still must apply for permission to sublet in New York (and the process can be arduous and time-consuming) tenants in privately-owned buildings of four or more units have the right to sublet, regardless of lease restrictions. Landlords are able to refuse consent if your grounds for subletting are unreasonable, or if the subtenant you propose does not meet your landlord’s screening qualifications for tenancy.
- Special Notes: This right does not apply to residents in public or subsidized housing, non-profit buildings, co-ops, rent controlled tenants, and tenants with rent subsidies. Rent stabilized tenants do have the right to sub-let, but have additional responsibilities and obligations.
- A little-known law, not often enforced, New York law prevents more than 3 unrelated people occupying a dwelling unit and maintaining a common household.
- Special Notes: Two or more people related by blood, marriage, or are domestic partners can dwell with no more than two additional boarders, roomers or lodgers.
- Due to high rent prices which led to extreme overcrowding in off-campus student housing, 5 or more unrelated undergraduates cannot share an apartment in Boston.
- Special Notes: Exceptions to this law are dwellings that are hotels, motels, apartment hotels, dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses.
- Tenants protected by the Rent Ordinance of 1979 have various safeguards that other renters in the area may not enjoy. For tenancies covered by the Rent Ordinance and rent control, Legislation allows these tenants covered add occupants, if reasonable, despite restrictions in the rental agreement.
The specific number of roommates must comply with occupancy laws, and the new occupant needs to agree in writing to be bound by the current rental agreement if requested by the landlord. Furthermore, if a roommate leaves and the landlord unreasonably withholds consent to replace a roommate, tenants can petition for a rent reduction based on a decrease of housing services.
- Special Notes: The rights for adding family members are the same as unrelated roommates except for specific instances. Children, in particular, have more exceptions, as children under the age of 6 do not count towards occupancy limits, and minor children do not need to fill out an application form or need to agree to bound by the current rental agreement.
This is by no means an exclusive list, and with any situation involving state laws, it is always prudent to check your state’s or municipal area’s specific regulations. Since rental laws can be obscure sometimes, you should always refer back to your lease and ask your landlord questions if you are unsure about any terms.
*This information does not constitute legal advice; always check with an attorney for questions or clarifications about your rights as a renter.
Can the owner of a duplex ask the tenents to split and pay the water bill?
To my knowledge this is generally allowable, but if you are unsure, you should check with your local housing authority to look into any laws specific to your area.
I am temporarily taking care of my grandchild in my son’s apartment. It is 93 degrees today and for the third time in the past 30 days, the refrigerator has failed. As I cannot get hold of my son, I went to the rental office to see if they could send someone to fix it. I was told because of the Fair housing act, only my son can request the repair. Is that true?
I’m not sure why they are referring to the Fair Housing Act in this instance, as it does not seem relevant to repair issues. However, unfortunately, it does make sense that (if your son is the one who is listed in the lease agreement) that he would be the only person authorized to make a repair request.
i took over a lease without paperwork now hes tellin me i have to leave cause his lease said noone else can i get my money back its been almost a year
Are you asking to get your money back for the rent you paid for almost a year? That doesn’t really make sense to me.
Can a landlord take legal action on tenants if they don’t give a 30 day notice before moving out even if it is in the rental agreement that they need to give a 30 day notice can the landlord make them pay rent for the month after they’ve already moved out they gave a security deposit and told the landlord just keep the security deposit and the landlord said no what are the tenants rights ?
The landlord can use the security deposit to pay for the unpaid rent of the final thirty days. But a tenant should definitely give 30 days notice, especially if it is in the lease. Its reasonable for the landlord to continue to charge the tenants rent until proper notice is given.
I NEED HELP ASAP CAN ANYONE POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION PLEASE…
So my niece paid her rent she always pays on time her next door neighbor’s boyfriend went to her apartment next door broke her front window her back window before the cops came he lit the apartment on fire so her next to neighbors is burnt and the wall that they share and a part of the ceiling gopper in my niece’s apartment now the landlord has given her less than 2 weeks to move out She paid for a couple nights in a hotel and then pretty much told her she was on her own that she would give her the deposit back and the rent back but that she has to find some routes to go Due to the fact that it’s gonna take a long time to make the repairs isn’t it the landlord’s responsibility since she paid this month’s rent To put her into a different apartment that is available because she has open apartments when my niece said that to her manager She said all the open apartments are for section 8 that she couldn’t move her into another one now she’s saying that there was asbestos there’s a specialist disturbed and she she can’t live there due To her safety Everybody else in the apartment complex is still living in their apartments that doesn’t make any sense to me Can anybody advise me on what to do to help her she’s putting herself through college she’s a good girl But I don’t know what to do to help her I know she has rights some just not quite sure on what they are
I feel like people on housing have no real way of standing up for their housing rights or being harrassed by their landlords because we are on public housing lawyers cost money we are on housing as it is already how in the world would one being on assistance afford a lawyer to help fight for our rights and get any real justace .my a/c gets turned off ironically every month around the same time every month. Ironically it’s around the time rent is about to be due or is due n they konw bc they tell me they were working on it getting it fixed or try .n say nobody would open the door to .My apt. N also they see my windows open with fans n it’s hot outside like 80° or hotter. They have put the a/c they have never had to come into my unit to fix the a/c . It is central air conditioning. My landlord calls n harrassed me about ppl being at my apt bc we have friends n have sum one take a look at my vehicle no maintenance jus checking it n cleaning the carpets bc my car got water in the floor board .n have ppl over helping me with my homework n with my disabiled daughter. Landlord says tell the Mexican man that’s always out there fixing on ur car to help pay my rent n my daughter gets told stuff about her friends. And always getting accused of having people living with me. It’s just my daughter n I. I have men’s clothing in my closet bc one of my family members passed away and I can’t get rid of them it’s not like it likeva hoarder it not even one whole side of my closet. She has left me “landloard” ugly threatening messages which I have saved as well.. I’m too scared to say or do anything till now. Wish I had someone to help me with my situation.. Guess that’s too bad for me n my daughter. 😭
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation Farrah, your landlord sounds like he is threatening and harassing you. That is illegal. You should take detailed notes of every interaction you have with him, and keep records of everything. Then contact your local housing authority or tenant’s union, they are there to help you! And they will be able to point you to affordable or free options. Good luck!
I have been in this home approximately 15 years May 1st there was nothing about smoking so being smoker I smoked in my home because it was aloud approximately 3 years ago they put a notice that were not allowed to smoke in our units anymore 13 years of smoking in my unit my balls are yellow nicotine stains here within the last week in fact April 11th 2019 I have received a notice from housing saying that I am in violation of the rental agreement remind you I was allowed to smoke in here 15 years up until recently now they are really harassing me they want to come in and do checks I have a cat and a dog and mind you I v had the cat since I first moved in 15 years ago and my dog has been here for 7 years never had a dog cat inspection but in the last I had a pet inspection and they found a dieing battery in a fire alarn and i put a locking door nob on my bedroom door and the told me no locks on bedrooms in housing authority property . There was nothing mentioned about my pets at all . Please help iveI got letters from housing authority that threatening me that any body from housing author. To ajoe blow walking down the street copain I will be evicted this is taking itsi tole on my health I had a tumor removed from my head found to be malignant this being the reason for my full disability please help me
I live in Oregon and am low income housing help me
My Roomate is a complete ass! He’s on a seperate lease ( month to month) with the landlords/owners as I am on my own lease as well.. Hes rude, verbally abussive and demeaning. Always moving my things, slaming doors, and turning off cooler or heater when i just turned it on! Ive tried to talj to him to mo avail. How can i get him evicted?
We were moving and our house was a mess.. The owner came by and wanted a quick look because her son was leaving and he was part owner… I warned her and asked her to wait another day. She took pictures said I was a slob… And posted it on the internet It did look terrible but I had been there 8 years in a large 3 bedroom house
Can a landlord do this I am humiliated.. Thank you
That is a very unfortunate situation; I’m sorry that happened. I would suggest reaching out to your local housing authority to see what course of action you can take, if any.
Does the landlord have the right to charge u for addtional people living there thats not on the lease
Hi Catherine, If someone is not on a lease or rental agreement, they are guests. However, there are regulations on how long someone can stay a guest before becoming an unauthorized occupant. I would recommend you review your lease and rules & regulations as they typically outline who can occupy the home as a resident, how to register or request a guest visit, and the length of a guest stay before they are unauthorized and/or incur an additional charge. If those documents do not have that information or you have additional questions, reach out to your local housing authority to discuss your situation as they would know best if and when the landlord can charge for guests/unauthorized occupants.
I own a home and I let my dauter and son in law move in it rent free no pay at all and thay let a person stay with them rent free …after a while my daughter and son in law moves out and the other person that just stayed there don’t want to leave do I have to go by the same 30 day evacuation prose’s? I know it sounds complicated
Hi Bobby, it does sound complicated. I believe you will need to give that person all the same notifications to evict them as you would a paying roommate. I would check with your local housing authority to see which notifications to draft, how you must serve them, and how often to comply with your state and local regulations. Wishing you all the best!
Does lnlord have the right to tell u what to buy m rug in bathroom was dirty normal I wash by hand anyway he told me to by new rugs, he also try to tell me how to wash my face becuz water splatters he undermines everything I say he doesn’t give me credit for 8 yes I’ve been here normal wear and teR refrigerator and stove practically looks new still ive told them about leak in bathroom for the past few years it’s mildew in the bathroom he is insistive
I’m moving out at the end of August with the last day 31st. The landlord told me I had to be out before the end of the month because she is letting the new tenants move in four days early. I told her that I paid my full rent for August and asked if I would be receiving money back for the four days. She told me no. So I told her that I paid my rent until the 31st and they can’t move in until the first of September. She then to me that if I wanted money for the four days I would have to get it from the new tenants. And if I didn’t let them move in early that there would be extra charges. It said nothing in my lease about moving out early to let new tenants move in early at all. What should I do. If they would happen to fall and get hurt moving in am I responsible until the end of the month on the 31st?
If you paid for the full month’s rent and you have a lease or move-out letter that states you have until the 31st to vacate the premise, then you have every right to be there until the end of your lease. I would suggest writing an official letter to your landlord, stating that you paid your last month’s rent, and per the lease terms and move-out notice, you have until the 31st to vacate the property. And if the landlord would like you to vacate earlier than the agreed-upon date, you are open to a discussion if the landlord is willing to prorate the rent and reimburse you for the rent amount you already paid. Just be prepared that this might cause some hostility between you and the landlord and she might indeed try to claim additional charges be taken out of your security deposit or something. But based on what you shared in this comment, I don’t see how your landlord can legally do this. I would actually highly advise you to reach out to an attorney for further guidance and help with drafting a letter. You might be surprised by how affordable working with a tenant’s right attorney is and the headache they can save with their professional guidance.
A woman had a month to month lease on a house in Long Beach, She moved a couple in and they have a dog. Dogs are not permitted. The original renter moved out . The couple was aware but stayed. Now they have four people living there and another dog. Is it legal to move people in on a month to month? And if they were given notice to move and they stayed what happens?
This sounds complex, Olivia. The original tenant only had the rights allowed by the month-to-month lease agreement and state and local housing regulations. But in most cases, that couple and dog would have been a lease violation and considered unauthorized. But it might be a little too late to pursue that with the original tenant as she is now gone.
Depending on when you became aware of the unauthorized occupants and your interactions with them or the previous tenant, you might have inadvertently established a landlord-tenant relationship. If you are just becoming aware of them and haven’t received payment they might be considered squatters.
In either case, it is very important to check with your local housing authority and an attorney familiar with rental laws as they will help you understand if residency has been established and which steps you should take (including the proper notices and timing) in your state to have them removed.
I my husband and 11 year old daughter have been living in an RV Park. The ladies shower’s are out of order 3 broken out of 4 toilets as well. The power goes off for hours at a time 90° this summer 2020 no ac and now this winter have no heat, on going now for over a year, we live in Montana❤️ One of the maintenance man broke my back window of my car with a rock weed eating this summer and I had to pay out of pocket for the repair. They are drinking alcohol on the job as well. The RV park advertises free Wi-Fi but it doesn’t work. I’ve had raw sewage on my front lawn due to a neighbor who had a broken pipe told maintenance man and was finally resolved after the lady who was on drugs was evicted from her lot. My husband has medication in the fridge that could get ruined as well. I need help in resolving the situation… I know I’ll be out of this situation hopefully soon but don’t want other tenants to have to live like this.
RV Park stressed 😫
RV Park stressed — I hear your frustration. I’m not sure if your park is licensed as a trailer park or mobile home park in Montana but I found these resources for you:
Montana Department of Health and Safety | Trailer Courts and Campgrounds
Montana Residential Mobile Home Park Rental Act
I have a question, well it’s more like a an unresolved problem! There is a couple that I rent a room in my home to, they came with their dog??!! I told them they had to make other arrangements for him, they said ok. They asked if it would be alright if the dog stayed outside in my extra building until they was able to find someone, I said I guess, but ONLY A FEW DAYS.. no more than 3 or 4! Well, they have been here for an a month, and I don’t go out to that building, it’s for storage, and my husband and friends likes to go out and hang out, working and tinkering with stuff. So, Tuesday, a friend comes in the house and asks “Why is there dog s**t from one wall to another, out there in that building”? We go out there and check it out, and sure enough there’s that d*mn dog! They have been hiding him out back there, saying he wasn’t here!! I don’t want to evict them, they don’t really have any where to go, and they are only in their early 20’s, they old enough to know right from wrong! They did it to themselves, they knew the rules, and then lied. Now that building is covered in dog poop, and it will take 98 years for that smell to even begin to leave! I am an understanding person, I understand they don’t really have any place to take him, except the humane society, and they don’t want to give him up. They have a hard time taking proper care of him. They barely have enough to stay here plus food, let alone a dog too. I told them, it’s either they stay here without the dog, or they can leave with the dog. Can I call the pins or dog catcher to come get this dog, if I find out he is still on my property?
Tasha, that sounds like a difficult situation. Before you take action, I would reach out to your local housing authority and animal control and explain the situation. Every area has it’s own local rules and regulations that you’ll want to comply with to be sure you protect your assets and aren’t overstepping. It sounds like you’ll not be able to have them help financially to clean up the garage debris and smell but maybe the local housing authority will say you can ask them to physically clean up the mess themselves. I hope this resolves quickly for you.
SO I NEED RENTERS INSURANCE WITH ALL 4 PARTIES ON IT…BUT MY INSURANCE WILL ONLY COVER 3. AS FOR US 4, WE GOT TWO INSURANCE POLICY I PAY FOR ME AND A ROOMMATE. THE OTHER 2 PAY FOR THEMSELVES. THE PROPERTY MANAGER SAID WE CANT DO THAT..LOL…BUT I HAVENT FOUND ANYONE THAT WILL COVER 4 ROOMATES TOTAL. IS IT AGAINST THE LAW TO HAVE TWO POLICY, TO WORK WITH AND IN A LEGAL MATTER IS IT OKAY TO DO THIS? I JUST THINK THE PROPERTY MANAGER BEING UNFAIR.AND WANTING TO CHARGE ME 25 FOR NOT HAVING ALL ROOMATES COVERED UNDER ONE POLICY, I LIVE IN LAS VEGAS NV.
Hi Patty, I can’t offer legal advice but can tell you that although I can’t find any regulations in NV about renter’s insurance, I do know that your lease terms are legally binding so I’d check the wording to see if it indicates or alludes to one policy. If your lease isn’t clear, I’m wondering about the property managers rejection of your policies. Did each group policy separately meet the requirement or did each roommate group purchase half the requirement? If half, I would imagine that both policies would need to meet the full amount of insurance required. And perhaps if your insurance carrier doesn’t allow 4 roommates you might have to look for another carrier or work out an agreement with your property manager to allow for the coverage for the two policies each meets or exceeds the basic requirement in the lease. Wishing you all the best as you work with your landlord to meet that obligation.
Hey Heather Peake. thank you so much for your reply. the 4 of us do have 100,000 policy each its in the lease that she said we all need to be on the policy. lol. I’ve called several insurance agents and no one can do 4 only 3. but only 3 of us live her,the 4th person was a co signer. Also the Manager wants us to use her insurance company. But i was on the phone with them for 45 minutes, felt like i was talking out of my b… lol then she put me on hold for over 10 minutes so i just hung up. well knock on wood. the manager hasnt said anything since nov. 1 when we moved in. she wanted me to show her proof of the policy but we all 4 showed her the two policies.and so she hasnt charged us 25.00 dollars as of yet. lol i probably just jinked myself. but I rented before and rented through a realty company for over 11 years. I moved cause rent was just way to much. so i’m new at this. I guess. if I cant find one I’ll talk to her,and or just pay the extra 25.00 but in a way with 100.000 on 2 policy that is alot of money for a apartment. she should be happy with it. i dont know if it would conflict with the other insurance company though. anyways. i can go on and on. if you know anymore let me know. ty