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RENT IT RIGHT

Sharing a room spurs payment rift

October 26, 2008|Janet Portman | inman news

Question: My son and a couple decided to rent a two-bedroom town house. All three signed the lease, and they each put up one-third of the deposit and one-third of the first month's rent. Now the couple, who share a room, are saying that my son has to pay half the rent because he has his own room. This is not what they originally agreed to among themselves. I believe that since all three are on the lease, they should each pay one-third of the rent. Is my conclusion legally correct?

Answer: When people rent a place together, how they share the rent is up to them -- no law requires that they share it equally.

That doesn't mean, however, that they can't agree to divide it in a certain fashion.

If they are wise, they will write down that understanding in a roommate agreement. An oral agreement also is legally enforceable, but it's hard to win a case when it boils down to "he said" and "she said."

Your son needs to have a talk with his housemates and hash this out again. If he cannot afford to shoulder half the rent, or feels the couple's stance is unfair, he can always break the lease and move.

-- Janet Portman, inman news

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