Should my roommate and I sign individual leases, or the same one?

No matter how well you know your roommate, signing a lease with anyone is a big decision. If you both sign the same lease, you are giving your roommate a lot of trust. If you have known your roommate for a long time and they have a history of being responsible and dependable, this shouldn't be too big of an issue. If, however, you don't know your roommate well, or they have a history of forgetting to pay bills, you may want to consider asking for individual leases when you rent an apartment near USF.

A lease is a legally binding contract, so be sure to read it carefully. If your rent is due the 1st, pay it by the 1st. If you share a lease, this can become more complicated. You may be faced with several dilemmas:

  • How do we split the rent?
  • Who is responsible for turning in the rent?
  • Does one person pay the other person half each month, and let the other be responsible for turning it all in?
  • Do we take turns paying – one person is responsible for January, one for February?

Money can come between the best of friends, so consider carefully planning out how you and your roommate will handle the rent on your USF apartment. If you and your roommate sign the same lease and they don't pay their part, you will both be penalized. If your roommate decides to move out before the lease is over, you are then responsible for paying all the rent. There are several potential issues that you may run into if you are on the same lease and your roommate is not responsible.

If you have a co-signer or guarantor, this can become even more complicated. For the most part, everyone who signs on the lease will be responsible for anything that is not paid. This means that if you and your roommate both have your parents co-sign, if your roommate does not pay, your parents may end up having to cover them.

Having individual leases may also affect price. Some apartment complexes may charge more for multiple individual leases than for one lease that you have to sort out amongst yourselves. There may be no price difference, but that varies by apartment.

If you need a roommate, several USF apartments offer individual leases and roommate matching. Our free search tool shows you which apartments near USF offer roommate matching. If you don't already have a roommate, living with strangers can help you meet new friends. Even if you don't become best buds with your roomies, at least you won't have lost any friends!

Some USF apartment complexes offer only individually leased rooms. This means you can rent a single room in a two to four bedroom apartment and you are only responsible for your portion of the rent. Others do not offer separate leases for each renter. In these cases, your decision is already made for you. Before you decide on your next home, think about whether or not separate leases are important to you. If they are, make that one of your first questions to every apartment complex!

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTampaBay.com or any of our advertising partners.