Do You Need an Apartment Co-signer?
So, you’ve found your perfect apartment, and now it’s time to sign the lease. This is a big thing, putting the whole financial burden on you. Are you going to be able to take that alone? Depending on your circumstances, you might need a co-signer to qualify for the apartment.
You’ve found the apartment you want; now it’s time to sign the lease. One factor to consider is whether you will need a co-signer to qualify for that lease. Here’s some info to help you determine whether sealing the deal on your apartment choice will require some outside help.
What is a co-signer?
Your co-signer would be responsible for your rent, required to pay for it if you’re unable to do so. They don’t have to live in the apartment, but their name will be on the lease.
Why would you need a co-signer?
Remember what the landlord really wants from a tenant: someone who will consistently pay the rent without too much trouble. Having a co-signer will act as another way to get the rent if something were to happen that would make it difficult or impossible for you to pay the rent. Sometimes, a landlord might require a co-signer in order to lease the apartment to you. This is usually the case if you have low income, poor or no rental history, or bad credit. For any of these situations, having a co-signer will give the landlord a lot more peace of mind about letting you rent the apartment.
Who should you ask to co-sign
Usually, a parent or close friend would be willing to co-sign, but it’s a lot more than just choosing someone. They’re possibly taking on the financial burden of paying for your apartment, so first you need to be sure that they could actually take on that debt. If both of you failed to pay, you’d both be named on the lawsuit when your landlord sues for the rent.
Then there’s the personal side. How would this change your relationship with your co-signer if you couldn’t pay the rent? Even if you wouldn’t take advantage of someone and force them to pay your rent, things could still go wrong. What if you lose your job, and can’t make payments for a few months? Discuss every scenario you can think of with your potential co-signer, to make sure this won’t destroy your relationship. Signing a legal agreement to take on someone else’s debt isn’t a casual favor.
If you can’t find a co-signer
So, you’ve gone through everyone you know and no one can or will co-sign for you. You’re not quite out of luck yet.
You can still make a case for yourself. Why do you have bad credit? What have you done to fix it? What are you doing right now to fix it? Talk to your landlord and show them proof that you’re doing better than it seems.
If that doesn’t work, speak the language of money. Offer to pay more rent upfront, or a larger deposit. Shift to a cheaper unit in the building, so your credit becomes less of an issue.
If that landlord can’t be convinced, then you’ll have to look for somewhere else to live. You might want to find a building owned and managed by an individual landlord or smaller local company – they’re more likely to have less rigid standards for renting. There’s always the right apartment somewhere out there for you, so keep looking.
If it still doesn’t work, then just save up more money in preparation for later. Get some time to build up credit and a bank balance that will show them that you really are good for the money, and don’t need a co-signer.