FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ page. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) when seeking a new roommate. Whether you sign up with a case manager referral or directly on the website you may need to consider some of these FAQs.

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01 How Does HousingMatch.org Protect My Privacy and Provide Security?

  • HousingMatch.org does not collect personal information that could put your identity at risk.

  • Your ads are private; only agencies and people sharing housing can view your ads; landlords cannot view your ads.

  • Heads of household who share housing are screened before they post an ad. See the Background Check page for more information.

  • Background checks are accessed on separate, secure portals off of the HousingMatch.org website.

  • HousingMatch.org and participating agencies abide by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Written Information Security Policy Program (WISP) see our Terms and Conditions for more information.

02 I found a roommate, what do we do now?

  • Use the sample roommate rental contracts in the Resources section to help guide you in making a contract.

  • Decide the time period you want to make your roommate agreement; 3 months, 6 months, or one year? Include that information in the roommate contract.

  • Make a detailed contract with house rules and lease provisions that you both sign.

  • If you have a case manager, you may get financial assistance your with the security deposit and first months rent.

  • Case managers can also help you access help with furniture and movers in some cases.

03 What are some possible roommate contract arrangements?

  • Check the Resources section for sample roommate contracts.

  • A good roommate contract has details that are important to both roommates, but is still flexible and fair. If you have a case manager, you can get assistance with the contract.

  • If you have children, you can include arrangements for childcare and special instructions for providing childcare.

  • If you have children, make sure you discuss your different parenting styles, for example you may want to agree on when children go to bed at a certain hour or that they have dietary restrictions.

  • Special instructions for limitations on guests and visitors is important in a good contract. Decide together on how many overnight guests are allowed and for what time period. Check with your landlord about overnight guest restrictions.

  • HousingMatch.org recommends that roommates make the decision when they create their roommate rental contract who will stay in-place (keep the unit) and who will relocate (leave) when the roommate contract ends. This decision should be in writing and be agreed upon before moving in together. 

04 What happens when both names are on the lease for the apartment?

  • When both of the roommates names are on the lease, they can negotiate separately with the landlord.

  • If one roommate does not pay the rent, the landlord can still hold the other roommate responsible for the entire rent payment.

  • The landlord must initiate the eviction process if a tenant is unwilling to vacate (move out) and take the tenant to court.

  • Both roommates can get evicted for a violation that the other makes on the lease.

  • HousingMatch.org recommends seeking free mediation services if there is a conflict in the household. See the Resources section for more information.

05 What happens when one tenant’s name is on the lease and the other is subleasing?

  • First, the tenant whose name is on the lease, or “head of household”, must get written permission from the landlord to be allowed to sublease the room to their roommate, “subletor”.

  • The landlord is not responsible for collecting rent from the subletor and not responsible for evicting a subletor who refuses to vacate.

  • Free legal help is available for heads of household who need to evict a subletor; see the Resources section.

  • HousingMatch.org recommends that roommates seek free mediation services if there is a conflict in the household. See the Resources section for more information.

06 Which contract is more binding, the roommate contract or the lease?

  • The “standard lease” (signed between roommates and the landlord) is always the contract that will take legal precedent in court, meaning that it is the most important lease and legally binding.

  • The roommate contract should help the roommates agree on day-to-day living arrangements, lifestyles, habits, and is used as a guide for the roommates.

  • Both contracts are important, and if either roommate violates or goes against what they agreed to, seek free mediation services. See the Resources section for more information.

07 How can HousingMatch.org help if roommates are not a good match?

  • If roommates are having troubles, it is strongly recommended to go to mediation, if possible, to work the situation out. See the Resources section for mediation information. If mediation does not work, or is not an option, then the roommates may want to go back to the HousingMatch.org site and find a new roommate.

  • HousingMatch.org recommends that roommates make the decision when they create their roommate rental contract who will stay in-place (keep the unit) and who will leave in the event of a conflict that cannot be resolved by mediation. This decision can be made in writing and be agreed upon before moving in together. 

  • Case managers can help with mediation, conflict resolution, and by referring roommates back to the network to seek a new shared housing arrangement.

08 What should roommates do if they want to end the roommate contract?

  • Seek legal advice first when ending a roommate contract before the agreed upon time period. Free legal advice is available to qualifying households. See the Resources section for more information.

  • Roommates need to give a 30 day written notice to the landlord and their roommate that they intend to move out.

  • HousingMatch.org recommends having a security deposit and last months rent in place to help provide time to move. The security deposit should be kept by the landlord in a separate interest bearing bank account. See the Resources section for landlord tenant information.