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Do You Need an Apartment Cosigner?

March 20, 2019

You’ve found an ideal new apartment. You can’t wait to move in, but then the news comes: you have to get a cosigner. You’re probably confused as to who a consigner is and why you need one. Keep reading to have all your questions answered.

What’s a cosigner?

A cosigner is someone who signs the lease with you, but doesn’t necessarily live with you. Instead, they vouch that if you fail to pay your rent they will cover rent payments for you.

Why you might need a cosigner?

When applying for an apartment you usually have to provide proof of income and credit reports, or information that will allow your landlord to run a credit check on you. If something is unsatisfactory or your income is not sufficient enough for the lease, you will need someone else to step in and say that they can help you out financially if need be.

Limited credit could be another reason as to why you would need a cosigner. Let's say you just got a credit card and you are starting to build your credit history. There is probably not much credit history to go off of there, even if you're starting out on the right foot towards good credit. On top of that, it's your first time renting and you have no landlord references. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unreliable, but that the landlord has no way of telling if you are good at paying on time. In this case, a cosigner can help you secure the apartment.

Let’s say you do have a credit history, but it’s not in great standing. In fact you have bad credit. Your payments are late or you’ve declared bankruptcy previously. This could be a red flag for your potential landlord that you may not be able to afford their rental property The landlord will want  assurance that this is a not pattern that your finances follow and that your rent will still be covered. This is assurance that a cosigner can provide.

How to get a cosigner?

Agreeing to become a cosigner is a big responsibility. That’s why you need to make sure that the person you’re including on your lease is someone you trust, as well as someone who is financially stable and would be okay with covering for you if you’re unable to pay rent.

Have other tips on how to choose the right person to be a cosigner? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram.

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Angelina is a Marketing Specialist at Apartment List where she writes content on rental lifestyle. Angelina previously worked as a Russian and German language specialist at Facebook and Google, and has a BA in Applied Linguistics from UCLA. Read More
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