What is a rental co-signer?
A co-signer is a third party who is responsible if you are unable to pay rent. This person does not typically live in the apartment with you, but he or she is equally liable for your lease.
Do I need a rental co-signer?
If you fall short of the lease requirements for any reason, a guarantor can help reduce the stress of applying. Using a co-signer does not mean you are a bad tenant – it simply acts as insurance for your potential landlord if you do not meet the income level, credit score or other requirements.
Who can serve as a co-signer?
A co-signer is often a family member or friend with a strong credit history and a solid financial standing. In many cases, landlords prefer guarantors who earn a significant amount of money relative to the cost of the monthly rent. Landlords commonly require a guarantor to make at least 80 times the monthly rent rate, but this can vary based on location.
When you discuss a lease with a potential co-signer, it’s important to explain that he or she will likely need to provide
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personal information to the landlord. This may might seem invasive, as some guarantors are asked for recent tax returns, a letter of employment, recent pay stubs and recent bank statements. Also
make sure your co-signer is fully aware that if (for whatever reason) you are unable to make the rent payments, he or she will be held responsible. Consider using a friend or family member as a co-signer carefully since your future relationship with the person may be at stake; should you fall on hard times, and they are forced to pay your rent, things could get dicey.
What if I can’t find a co-signer?
If you don’t have someone who is qualified and willing to co-sign your apartment lease, another option is to use a co-signer service – although these services can be expensive. In metropolitan areas with large rental markets,
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there may also be programs that act as stand-in guarantors for a one-year lease. In New York City, for example, the Insurent Lease Guaranty Program provides institutional guarantors to creditworthy college students, non-U.S. residents, retired individuals and other renters in need of assistance.