Let’s say you’re a first-time renter and you’re looking for an apartment. Maybe you’re just not getting approved, or you don’t have a stable enough income to cover the rent; what should you do then? Here’s a solution: get an apartment co-signer!

If you’re not familiar, don’t worry! We’re here to help you with this guide to tell you everything you need to know about renting an apartment with a co-signer, co-signing for a lease, and apartment co-signer requirements.

What’s a Co-signer?

An apartment co-signer is someone included on a lease agreement who is held responsible for paying the rent in full, if the tenant is unable to do so. They’re obligated to help you financially in terms of your rent instead of placing you in debt with your landlord. The co-signer can either be someone who lives in the residence or is a separate party, such as a parent or guardian.

Usually, tenants get apartment co-signers if their credit scores are too low to be approved, have no stable income, or are unemployed. With a co-signer, the tenant is showing the landlord that they have credible financial backing to pay for the property.

How does co-signing for a lease work?

Renting an apartment comes with qualifications, much like applying for a job. Normally, you’d need to have an income that’s enough to cover rental, food, and transportation expenses, plus an adequate credit score and history. If you’re a student who hasn’t built up credit, or you don’t have a good credit history, having a co-signer will help you get an apartment more easily. Once you find an apartment co-signer and the landlord approves, the lease will be signed with the co-signer’s name, and you now have an apartment!

Alternatively, suppose you’re co-signing for an apartment. In that case, you’d be responsible for paying the monthly rent, any property damage, repair costs, and other fees, should the tenant fail to pay these debts. Basically, the responsibility for the payment would fall to the co-signer and not paying will affect their credit score and history.

  • How does a co-signer help someone actually get an apartment? When you ask a co-signer to sign onto an apartment lease, you’re lowering your risk as a bad credit borrower. This is because the co-signer promises to pay any rental payments if you’re unable to. Plus, a co-signer also helps you by attaching their good credit score and history to your lease.
  • How does the process work when the rent is missed? If the person you co-signed for fails to pay, you’re legally obligated to make up for the missed payment. With your name on the lease, you face the consequences of failed payments or loan defaults.

Related: Personal Finance 101: How To Stick To The Budget You Make

Pros and Cons of having and being an Apartment Co-signer

Deciding on having or being an apartment co-signer isn’t a decision you can make overnight. Co-signing isn’t just a verbal agreement between everyone involved nor a mere vote of confidence in the borrower. For the tenant, having a co-signer is ensuring that you won’t break their trust on any financial payment of the property. And as a co-signer, you’re promising to settle should the tenant fail to pay.

With that, here’s a short list of the pros and cons of co-signing.

For tenants:

Pros

  • The process of renting an apartment is much smoother with a co-signer because of their good credit score and history.
  • You’d be approved even as a first-time renter with a low credit score or an eviction history.

Cons

  • Having a close friend or family member as an apartment co-signer may damage your relationship with them if you can’t pay.
  • Your co-signer may take over your lease entirely.

For apartment co-signers:

Pros

  • Co-signing for a friend or your child builds trust in your relationship. More so, it promotes independence and can help your child transition to adulthood.

Cons

  • Being responsible for all of the rent for the apartment, if the tenant fails to pay, can be a huge financial burden.
  • As an apartment co-signer, if the tenant gets evicted for any reason, your credit score may be negatively affected since your name is on the lease.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Lease Signing In New York

Who should I ask to be my Co-signer?

Co-signing for a lease is serious business. Most of the time, a close friend, relative, or parent is the usual pick since they’re the people who already know and trust you. But you have to remember that renting an apartment is costly, so there are many things to consider before co-signing an apartment.

Apartment Co-signer Requirements

As an apartment co-signer, almost everything boils down to money. Since you’re responsible for all financial matters regarding the property, landlords generally look at your income and credit score before giving their approval. However, there isn’t a definite criterion on who can be an apartment co-signer, so anyone who meets the landlord’s qualifications can be one. Requirements usually include:

  • High credit score
  • Good mortgage or rental history
  • An established employment record
  • Sufficient income

Co-signing for an apartment is a serious responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re looking for an apartment co-signer, make sure they meet these criteria to be approved for an apartment quickly.

The bottom line is…

Source

Having an apartment co-signer will be a massive help while looking for a place to stay. But, you can’t rely on your co-signer to pay for everything! Remember, they will only step in if you run into financial problems and fail to pay your dues. Nonetheless, if you stay responsible and diligent with your payments, your apartment co-signer will never have to interact with your landlord.

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