‘Roommate agreement’ kills fraud

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Q: My son and a couple decided to rent a two-bedroom townhouse. Last month, all three signed the lease, and they each put up one-third of the deposit and one-third of the first month's rent. Now the couple (who share a room) are saying that my son has to pay half the rent because he has his own room. This is not what they originally agreed to among themselves. I believe that since all three are on the lease, they should each pay one-third of the rent. Is my conclusion legally correct? --Jaci J. A: When people rent a place together, how they share the rent is up to them -- no law requires that they share the rent equally. That doesn't mean, however, that they can't agree among them that they will divide the rent in a certain fashion, and if they are wise, they will write down that understanding in a "roommate agreement." For example, a roommate with a large bedroom and private bath will often pay more than his two roommates who share a room and bath. A roommate ag...