A lot of us have roommates. If you rent in an expensive city, it’s almost inevitable you’ll need to share expenses. For many of us, even if we don’t live in some of the most expensive cities in the world, we might live with roommates just because we feel safer or enjoy the lowered costs.

One of the things you should consider if you rent with someone is a roommate agreement. So what is a roommate agreement, and how does it work?

What is a Roommate Agreement?
A roommate agreement is a legal document, signed by both or all roommates in a lease. It isn’t signed by the landlord and doesn’t involve them. It’s basically a document meant for agreeing on the rules among the tenants.
It’s a great idea to have a roommate agreement, even if you know the person and trust them. Sometimes specific issues can come up that neither person expected, and this can cause stress. A roommate agreement just tries to get in front of that, so you can relax at home, free from arguments or hurt feelings.

What Kind of Things Should Be in A Roommate Agreement?
There are many different things you should consider putting in the agreement. Talk it out with your roommate beforehand. Nothing prevents you from coming up with what you want in the arrangement together. It might be better than just handing your roommate a contract and expecting them to sign it.

Early Move Out
This is a great thing to address in the agreement. Sometimes, one of you, maybe even you, might get a different job offer, find a special someone, or just need to move before the lease is up. Decide what happens ahead of time if this is the case.

Significant Others
You or your roommate might have a significant other. Come up with some basic guidelines about common room use, or how many nights a person who isn’t a tenant can stay over.

You can write rules for things like how the rent is paid, the proportion, and the way it is delivered, separately or together. Put in writing who pays the utility bills, how they pay them, and who pays deposits.

Quality of Life
You can get down in the details with several issues: who does what errands like cleaning, food sharing between you, and even the expected temperature of where you live.

Do these issues seem too detailed to you? Maybe, but arguments have started over less. If nothing else, it lets you discuss these issues before moving in together.