Frequently Asked Questions

HousingMatch is a secure, private online community. We are designed specifically for low income families and individuals who may need added security to protect vulnerable persons such as children, the elderly and disabled.  As a non profit membership-based organization we rely on your donations to exist, so please give generously.

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

  • HousingMatch is a private and secure online network for families, low income persons, the elderly and disabled.
  • We require that everyone who is seeking a roommate obtain a Tenant Screening Report before posting their ads.
  • This gives added security to people looking for roommates because they know that everyone has a background check report if they have posted an ad.
  • Members are responsible for screening each other when they interview.
  • Also, only members can view the ads that have been posted. Unlike other roommate matching services, ads are not open to the public and you have to join to see the ads.
  • Landlords cannot view the Tenants and In Place Members personal listings. Landlords can see only their Name, Email Address, the Location and Rent Amount of the housing they seek. Tenants and In Place Members entire ads are available only to other people looking for roommates.

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

  • Decide how long you want to make your roommate agreement for; 3 months, 6 months, or one year? Include that information in the roommate contract.
  • Depending on the rental contract, you may need to have a security deposit, and first months rent payment.
  • See our resources section for programs that can help you access funds for move in costs, furniture, and movers in some cases.

03 What are some possible roommate contract arrangements?

  • Check the Resources section for sample roommate contracts.

  • Lease terms (how long the contract last), depends on what you agree on: is it for one year, six months, or month-to-month?

  • You can include childcare arrangements where you agree to provide childcare regularly for each other free of cost, or you can use childcare to pay for groceries or utilities.

  • Make sure you include agreements about parenting styles in order to avoid conflict. For example and agreement that children go to bed at a certain hour or that they have dietary restrictions

  • Special instructions for limitations on guests and visitors are important additions to a roommate contract. Include a limitation on how many overnight guests are allowed. Note that a standard rent contract only allows for overnight guests to stay 2 weeks in a calendar year, if not stated in the lease. Don’t risk a lease violation by having too many overnight guests.

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 and take the tenant to court.

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 a “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.

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

  • The lease is always the contract that will take legal precedent in court, meaning it is the one the court honors.
    The roommate contract should help the roommates agree on day-to-day living arrangements, lifestyles, habits, and is used as a guide.
  • Violation of either contract is grounds to request mediation services or to relocate.

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 seek a new living arrangement.
  • We recommend to keep your account active for six months so you can always post a new ad, if necessary.

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

  • If there is a short term lease agreement, then roommates may need to give a 30 day written notice to the landlord and their roommate that they intend to seek a new living arrangement.
  • HousingMatch.org recommends having a security deposit and last months rent in place to help provide time to move.
  • You may post an ad for up to six months without getting a new background check, so don’t delete your old account.