Group Leases and Roommates

Monday, July 15, 2019

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In some areas, student-housing providers rent by-the-unit (group leases) versus by-the-room. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as being the local norm, mostly a concentrated student housing market, local by-law requirements, and more.


Before signing a lease, it’s important for student tenants to do research and educate themselves about the local rental market. If it’s a tenant’s market with high vacancy rates, it may be difficult to find enough roommates to fill an entire unit. However, if it’s a landlord’s market with low vacancy rates, it may be easier. Larger metropolitan cities with multiple colleges or universities concentrated in one area often fall under the landlord’s market.


There are many benefits to having roommates and signing a group lease. Finding housing with other student tenants allows for an early support system, increased financial resources, collective rental market knowledge or experience, and reduced stress by sharing the workload of finding suitable housing options.


A great way to find potential roommates is by posting a Roommate Profile listing on Students can register a student account and post listings for FREE at Roommate Profile listings allow students to describe their ideal roommates and location to live, preferred rental unit characteristics, and connect with peers. Other ways to meet potential roommates are through school-hosted events such as Orientations, Open Houses and Housing Fairs.


When students have a limited network of peers, especially when relocating to a new area, it is not advised to sign a lease requiring other bedrooms to be filled by unknown roommates. In most cases, the first student(s) signing will be listed as the ‘official’ or ‘master’ tenant(s), which would put all the financial liabilities and responsibilities on that particular student(s). This can produce added stress prior to the move-in date and payment deadlines. If all the rooms do not get filled, it may result in consequences such as higher rental payments and financial or legal consequences for breaking the lease. Leases are legally binding contracts that if broken unlawfully, can result in loss of deposit, credit score damage, a lawsuit or eviction on record.


Instead of leasing an entire rental unit, students can search for single rooms available by landlords (if local by-laws permit) or student sublets. On, Student Sublet listings allow students to advertise vacant bedrooms or lease takeovers. However, before securing a sublet, always verify that the landlord and current lease permits it.


Students should always do research to explore all options and types of accommodations available before committing to a rental. There are also many resources accessible to find roommates before signing a group lease or when filling rooms within a student rental. It’s very important to understand the lease fine print, and difference between individual and group leases.


SEE ALSO:  Understanding Common Lease Provisions & Clauses For a First Time Tenant

The Team