Writing Agreements

 

 

 

 

PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE WRITING OF AN AGREEMENT LIGHTLY: 

 

 

 

The Agreement you write together is the basis of where you begin. It makes sure everyone has been heard and because you write down your Agreement, this ensures there is no future disagreement about what was agreed upon. 

 

TO A LARGE DEGREE, THE ACT OF WRITING THIS AGREEMENT WILL DETERMINE WHETHER YOU SUCCEED OR FAIL.

 

Food For Thought

If you have an individual who verbally makes light of writing an agreement or tries to apply pressure to let things just work out naturally, it may be wise to ask yourself what reason a person would have to object to making the effort, and taking the time, to write an Agreement with people one is planning on living with. It usually comes down to that person not wanting to be held accountable for their actions. Remember, as you begin this process, that the people you are setting out to share a home with are not your family, or at this point even your friends, so you are not beholden to them or responsible for them and, if you succumb to the pressure of not writing an Agreement now, you will all suffer the consequences later.

 

Agreements are not written in stone: The shared home agreement that you can download on the bottom of this page contains many of the questionnaire/profile topics.  Add other topics that are relevant to your group, and try to be as thorough as you can, knowing that it is just a starting point and that as you get to know each other some things will relax, some may become irrelevant, some may be expanded upon.  The point is to sit down together and come up with a group agreement that will apply for the trial period your group has chosen.  You can print this agreement, or you can fill it out on the computer.  There will be topics you may not know how to decide upon until you have lived together for awhile. These need to be noted so they can be brought up at your (weekly) meeting and added when you have all decided what will work for everyone.  A beginning agreement needs to be a place to begin!!  Your agreement will evolve over time once you have grown to know each other.  Time provides an opportunity to realize the small things that each of you did not know would bother or annoy you when you first thought about sharing a home with others.  Continue to re-evaluate and update your agreement at your weekly meetings.  An agreement is never written in stone.

 

Writing an Agreement, even when you have examples to follow, is something that is not in everybody's comfort zone or skill set.  Actually, it is not in a lot of people’s comfort zones, so if you find yourselves in a position where one person is having to do all of the talking and there is little discussion, then your agreement will probably not end up saying what the group as a whole actually agrees upon. If your group runs into this difficulty you can borrow a 'how to book' from a library or find an online guide. Remember that you will be updating your agreement over time, so do the best you can. 

 

Food For Thought

 

If an individual in your group is the owner of the home you will be sharing, they will have provided a description of what they are offering as a landlord.  This is no different than if you were renting an apartment in a complex. You do not argue with the landlord in that complex about using the storage room in the basement that is clearly not being offered. The homeowner is in the difficult position of having to wear two hats. They will have put thought into what they are offering and will have reasons behind what they are prepared to offer and not offer. They do not need to explain their decision any more than a management company would have to explain theirs.  It is important that everyone respects the difficulty this presents to the homeowner, and ensure any topics relating to the rental agreement remain separate from the Share Agreement you write as a home share group. It is also relevant to note and remember that as friendships and relationships form over time a home share group creates its own stable secure future.  This comes from the ability to move together as a group, whether that be across town, or to another city.  The only person in the group left out of this stability is the homeowner, who cannot just pick up and leave.

 

As needs and desires change over time and as relationships and trust grow and develop, your Agreements will need to change accordingly and will need to be re-written or amended to keep current.  Agreements are not written in stone: they are a tool to fit your own group’s needs and desires.

 

Shared Home Agreement

 

Download file