Two Tenants - one lease or separate leases?

5 Replies

I have two new tenants moving in, unrelated, purely roommates unknown largely to one another. (they found each other to rent the unit)

Should I have one lease, with both listed, or two separate leases?


I would be uncomfortable with this but if I did this deal it would be one lease with both fully liable for the terms.

Ummh...this is an odd arrangement and loaded with risks, but, hold both contractually with one lease.

In the event there is a disagreement which results in one of them moving, then, the one that's left holding the apartment is responsible for the rent.

So, in that case you would do credit and background checks etc on both.

Good luck and let's hope it turns out well for them and you.

Should we call this creative renting?

We have a condo in a college town and did individual leases for each of the three rooms.  We estimated utilities and split it 3 ways to keep it simple. It has worked out well and gives you flexibility so that if one goes bad they are not tied together with one lease.

Not that unusual of a situation to me, I've had several properties rented to college students where roommates come and go over time. I used to do an individual lease with each tenant but learned that this causes me to be in the middle of a situation where one tenant is not performing an element of the lease. For example, if the leases say that each tenant must perform snow removal on the steps, I'd hear from the other tenants saying it was the first tenants turn, etc. I now put all tenants on one lease and make them equally responsible for all the elements of the lease. If any element is not adhered to then all tenants go. This way they figure it out themselves. And of course the usual background and reference checks are done on each tenant.

Well said Randy Beadles! I've had good success with the same strategy, usually grad students.  One lease works well. Screen them thoroughly so that you know you have responsible folks. Then if the two roommates don't work out well together, they suck it up and stick out the duration of the lease before going their separate ways. 

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