What is a Cosigner?
In the simplest of terms, a cosigner is the person who is promising to pay whatever a person owes if that person cannot or will not pay it themselves.
In terms of leases for apartments, a cosigner promises to pay rent if the person who is living in the apartment they cosigned for does not.
Do I need a cosigner?
That depends on where you rent. Most places, however, do require a cosigner if you fall into one or more of these three categories: under 18, no or poor credit history or rent is equal to more than ¼ of income. Apartment complexes that are geared specifically to college students may require a cosigner regardless of any of these things, however.
Who should be my cosigner?
Anyone who is over 18 AND has a good credit history can cosign. That usually is a family member such as a parent or grandparent, but a friend, coworker or teacher who falls into that category—and is willing—could sign as well. Keep in mind that apartment complexes reserve the right to reject any proposed cosigner.
Do I have to pay my rent if I get a cosigner?
YES! Rent is still first and foremost your responsibility. Cosigners are required for “just in case” situations if you are not able to pay your rent. Not paying could affect your credit rating, whether or not your cosigner takes over rent payments if you stop, which in turns affects your ability to get any kind of credit—loans, credit cards, a mortgage, etc.
Should I cosign for a friend?
This is a personal decision. It may seem like the friend thing to do, but keep in mind that if, for ANY reason, purposeful or not, your friend can’t pay, you are legally responsible to take over payments. That can put a strain on even the best and well-intentioned friendship.
Written by: Laura R. Aiuto