Should you get a cosigner?

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Lighthouse

Updated

June 23, 2022

Should you get a cosigner?

Should you get a cosigner?

To co-sign or to not co-sign. Now that's the real question. When should people use cosigners on rental leases? 

People of all walks of life can benefit from this service. They're especially great for those who find it difficult to rent an apartment.

Despite this, cosigning can kind of be a mystery. Some people claim there are no disadvantages to cosigning. Others don't even know who to ask or how to approach the situation. 

Well, we're discussing it all here! Stay tuned to find out everything there is to know about cosigning. 

In this article, you'll find: 

What is a co-signer? 

Can you have a cosigner for a rental? 

Who should get a cosigner? 

Pros and cons of co-signing for an apartment

How to get a co-signer for renting (when you can't find one)

How to add a co-signer to a rental lease?

Let's get started! 💨

What is an apartment cosigner? 

A cosigner is a person who signs a rental lease with you. In other words, the lease's liability gets split in two. It's between the cosigner and you. 

Cosigners don’t have to live with you, but they are financially responsible for the cost of the rent. 

Many cosigners actually contribute to the monthly rent by paying a part of it. Not to point any fingers, but this is pretty common between students and their parents. 

Nonetheless, cosigners are a great option if renting has been an obstacle for you. 🙌

Can you have a cosigner for a rental? 

Yep, you most definitely can! That's all part of the magic of renting! 😆

I used my parents as a cosigner when I attended college. Any student will know it's pretty hard juggling school on its own, let alone a job on top of that. So, I didn't have any income to show. Only my measly savings and student loan money. 😂

By getting my parents to cosign, my landlord knew that at least one person on the lease earned a steady income. The landlord got their guarantee; I got an apartment- everything was well in the end! 

Who should get a cosigner? 

Cosigners will help someone who's in a tough spot. Typically, those who have run into past issues with renting should consider consigning. They're also a good option for those who don't have enough income to pay the rent.

So, what kind of issues could those be? Anything that has to do with your rental history, criminal background, or credit score. 

Low credit, criminal records, or past rental issues all negatively affect your application. A cosigner will mitigate this matter by taking away the burden of these concerns.

Who should you ask to be your cosigner?

First of all, whoever you choose to ask should have good credit and a high enough income. The whole point of a cosigner is to boost your rental application. 

The entire idea becomes redundant if you pick someone that can't afford the rent and has poor credit. 

You should also opt for someone you’re close to. A family member or close friend are both great options. A lot of confidence goes into cosigning. So, you have to pick someone who’s trustworthy but equally trusts you. 

Pros and cons of cosigning for an apartment

People of all walks of life can benefit from getting a cosigner. Although getting one comes with many pros, there are also some cons you should be aware of. They won’t so much affect you (the tenant), but your cosigner. 

Let’s go over the pros and cons of cosigning for an apartment. 

Pro: Great for those with poor or no credit 

Cosigners are going to be your best friend if you have low or no credit score. The landlord reviews your cosigner’s credit score instead of just yours. 

Their score balances out your low credit- a huge bonus when renting! It'll increase your chances of getting approved for an apartment! 

Pro: Helpful for young people or first-time renters

Many landlords get apprehensive when renting to young or first-time renters. They don’t have any proof to show if they’re a responsible or reliable tenant. 

As such, a cosigner acts like that extra vote of confidence. Cosigning is already a big commitment, so it shows the landlord that your cosigner trusts you. 

Secondly, the landlord has a Plan B in case they run into issues with you during your tenancy. It’s pretty much a fail-proof plan to them!

Pro: A good option for people with poor rental history 

It can be harder to find an apartment for those who have an eviction, broken lease, or default on their file. You can increase your chances of securing a rental apartment if you get a cosigner to back you up. 

Pro: Great for those who have a lower or no income

Landlords typically pay close attention to your income. They want to ensure that you’re making enough to pay rent at the beginning of every month. 

It can be very helpful to cosign with someone if you have a lower/no income. Your cosigner's salary supplements what you have to present to the table. It's almost like applying with two incomes! 😆

Con: Can lower the cosigner’s credit 

If you miss or default on a rent payment, this could negatively impact your cosigner’s credit. It doesn’t matter whether they’re living in the apartment or not. 

A missed payment can land on the cosigner's file if the landlord decides to report it to the credit bureau. Since the cosigner is also financially responsible for the rent, their credit gets hit. 

Con: It can ruin relationships 

Cosigning is a huge commitment. They’re legally bound to your lease. So, if you run into issues throughout your tenancy (aka you don’t pay rent), your cosigner has to pick up the pieces. These financial burdens could seriously damage or even ruin your relationship with them. 

Con: They can be hard to find

As we’ve stated one too many times by now 😆, cosigning is a big responsibility. As such, few people might be willing to cosign a lease with you. This makes things a little complicated if you’re really in need of one.

Con: Cosigners can be costly 

If you can’t find a cosigner, you can always source someone to help you. Cosigning services are the perfect solution for those who don’t have anyone they can use. 

Yet, these services cost a pretty penny. They'll run up those charges associated with applying for a rental. 

How to get a co-signer for renting (when you can't find one).

Working off our last point, you can always hire a third-party service to cosign your lease. Many different companies offer this service, such as: 

  • The Guarantors
  • Insurent
  • Liberty Rent 
  • OneApp Guarantee

For a fee, they’ll act as your cosigner when getting an apartment. Although costs are on the pricier end, it may be worth it if you can’t find an alternative. You’ll also be able to find a home you genuinely enjoy! 

How to add a co-signer to a rental lease?

Before starting the process, make sure you're honest and open about the process. Your co-signer should understand the legal obligations they're about to take on. 

The rest of the process is fairly straightforward. 

1. Have your co-signer fill out a rental application as an 'additional tenant'. The landlord will run a screening report on you and your co-signer.

2. If accepted, your landlord will give you a cosigner lease agreement to sign. The tenant and cosigner's obligations will be detailed and outlined. 

3. Once everything has been read and understood, both of you will sign the lease agreement! 

Conclusion

We hope we cleared up confusion about whether you should get a cosigner for your next rental! Follow us on social media for more content about renting an apartment in this crazy market. 😅

Over here at Lighthouse, we offer an awesome cash back service for people who refer us when signing a new lease. The process is quick and easy, and you get to save that extra cash at the beginning of every month! 

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