Sometimes several people decide to rent a place together. People may want a roommate for many reasons including to help pay the rent, for company or for an added sense of security.
Landlords can have rules about how many people can stay in a place and can charge more for extra people. They can only do this if it was agreed to when the place was rented out. A landlord can end a tenancy if there are an unreasonable number of people living in the place.
Even if it is allowed by the landlord, there can be downsides to having a roommate. People with roommates have less privacy. Roommates may disagree about chores, guests and other aspects of day-to-day life. The Office of Residential Tenancies does not deal with disputes between roommates.
People who decide to share a rented place can have a written agreement outlining their rights and obligations towards each other. Some disputes may be avoided if everyone sharing the space agrees on the terms of the arrangement. If disputes still arise, roommates may have to consider taking the matter to Small Claims Court. A written agreement may help a tenant make the case that their roommate did not do what they agreed to do.
Agreements between roommates do not affect the rights of a landlord. This means that one tenant can end up on the hook for the entire rent even if they paid their share. It also means that a tenant could lose anything they paid towards the security deposit even if their roommate caused the damage. Also if only one tenant signs the rental agreement, that tenant can do things like decide to end the tenancy without consulting with any roommates.