separate lease agreements for each adult, or one for all adults?

6 Replies

Hi BP community!

Another newbie landlord question :)

My wife and I are purchasing a duplex in Atlanta, GA. One side of the duplex has tenants that might stay after we close, the other side is vacant. We're moving into the vacant side and are putting together a 12-month lease for the occupied side in case the current tenants want to stay (and we want them to stay). Either way we will manage the property ourselves.

There are a few adults (and a child) living in the occupied side. I have a copy of their current lease, and the adults living there all signed one lease with their names on it.

The BP Landlord Forms had a lease package that we purchased, and we noticed that the residential lease agreement has the language "Tenant” (singular).

So my impression is that depending on the lease document the landlord chooses to use, some landlords have all their tenants sign one document, other landlords have each tenant sign separate documents.

Any recommendations on whether every adult living in the unit sign a separate lease agreement with identical terms (one document per adult tenant), or one agreement document for all the adults?

Hey Greg, remember your ultimate goal of the application is to screen your applicants and fill the unit with the best qualified applicant. With that said, and assuming you spoke to the prior landlord/owner and got a feel for the current tenants, why would you want to run them through the ringer separately?

I would use the one form as long as you can get the information you need from both of them to adequately check their, finances, credit and criminal background. 

Going forward however, once you move out of the other side and decide to rent it, I would employ the practice of using two separate apps for each adult desiring to rent the unit. 

I will caution you with this last thought, start thinking about if or when one of the adults in the current occupied unit move out. I would have a new app and lease agreement ready for the remaining adult so you at least you have one person you can hold accountable or go after should something happen.

Just my thoughts bud. :-)

Ian G. 

Very helpful Ian! Thank you!

Hey Greg, congrats and good luck with your duplex. Would love to hear more details on the actual deal if you are willing to share as I am in a similar position and have just rented out our primary residence and looking for a duplex. 

I had 4 guys move in to my house and had them all sign the same lease, but they had a cosigner for the entire lease. I'm not a pro or anything by any means, but I almost think its better to just have one signed name on the lease so there is a single entity/person to go after in case of any issues. If there are multiple people on the lease, I would think it just takes more time, energy, and effort to get issues resolved. Hope this helps.

Congratulations Greg on your purchase of a duplex...great investment opportunity.


I agree with Ian, going forward it is very important to have separate applications for each adult that will be living within the unit.  It may be an increase in cost for the applicants but it's your best interest to understand the background and history of each person applying.  You want the best tenants possible to ensure a successful investment.

Seperate applications to collect information/run checks before move in. In this case you want one lease for current jointly occupying tenants, it should say something like they are jointly and seperately liable ( phrase per legal languge for your state).
Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
Seperate applications to collect information/run checks before move in. In this case you want one lease for current jointly occupying tenants, it should say something like they are jointly and seperately liable ( phrase per legal languge for your state).

 agreed with this. from my understanding, separate leases are typically only used when you are renting out by the room, because you are contracting multiple agreements with different parties. if you have one unit for rent, you want to collect one check and evict one group if someone doesn't pay. if you have separate leases, you ca n only evict the person that does not pay, and then you are only collecting rent for people that stay.

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