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BECOMING A CO-SIGNER ON A LEASE

There are a number of instances where you may need to co-sign a lease. If you are moving in with someone else then you and your roommate or partner will be required to sign the lease. If you are under the age of 18 or do not have adequate renting experience, then you may sign a lease with your parents as the co-signers. Whatever the case, when co-signing a lease you are not signing away half the responsibility. In fact, when co-signing a lease you are not only responsible for being a good tenant but also for being a good roommate as well.

Co-Signing with a Roommate

If you are moving into an apartment or house with someone then you are making a big step. Signing a lease together means that you are planning on living with them for the duration of the lease, whether this is six months or six years. If you are moving in with a partner then this can be a huge step; after all, if you do break up and one of you moves out, then you will most likely be responsible for the entire rental payment each month. This is also true if you are living with a roommate.

Many lease agreements do not allow subletting which means if your roommate moves out, you are not able to get someone else in to fill his place until the lease runs out. If your roommate and you get into a big fight after only three months of living together and he moves out, you will be responsible for paying the entire rent from then on.

When you decide to move in with a roommate or with a partner you need to be sure about what you are doing. The only instance where this is not the case is if you are moving into a share house and renting out a room or if you and your roommate are on different leases. Some landlords will allow you to sign two separate leases if you ask them but this is not the norm.

Co-Signing for a Family Member

If you are co-signing for one of your children in the neighborhood or if you are helping out a friend by co-signing their lease then it is critical that you understand what this means. Essentially, if the tenant cannot pay the rent, then you have to. The rent is automatically defaulted to the co-signer.

This can cause problems for your personal situation which is why many people prefer not to mix business with family ties. If, for example, your son stops paying the rent then you will need to bail him out. This is not a very good lesson in responsibility as he is simply relying on you. Letting your son sign the lease on his own may be a better option as he learns the hard way about budgeting. If he is completely strapped for cash, you can also loan him the money to pay for rent rather than letting the responsibility fall back on you.

If you are becoming a co-signer on a lease for a friend and something goes wrong, then the friendship could dissolve before the lease does. After all, how would you feel if your friend stopped paying the rent, skipped town and you were left with the bill? This is another thing you need to keep in mind before signing the dotted line. Becoming a co signer on a lease impacts you a lot more than you may think. Make sure you read through the lease agreement and are confident signing your name before doing so.

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