What to know about co-signing a student’s lease

by Tom Simplot

Aug 9, 2015

Who doesn’t have fond memories of their first apartment in college?

These days, owners and managers are sophisticated about signing on students as tenants and require more proof of funds than in years past.

Most students can’t qualify to meet the income requirements or the credit score needed to lease an apartment on their own. Apartment communities near universities and colleges have likely addressed some of these issues in their standard documents by requiring larger security deposits or requesting first and last months’ rents. They may also require students to have a co-signer on their lease.

Students younger than 18 typically require an adult to help them co-sign a legal document like a lease. Most communities also will require a co-signer for a lease with a minor tenant.

Co-signers need not be roommates in the apartment. They are the guarantor on the lease, promising to pay rent if the tenant cannot. They are legally responsible for rent payments, as well as the tenant.

If your student has roommates who are going to help cover the rent, this can be even more complicated. Those roommates’ names may not be on the lease and the responsibility for rent payments falls to the student on the lease and you as the co-signer. The failure of your student to pay rent in full and on time could impact your credit. You may want to ask the apartment manager or owner to notify you immediately if the lease account goes into default so you can ensure the situation doesn’t impact your credit.