A co-signer can give landlords the peace of mind they need when approving tenants who may not have a good credit score or renting history.
Co-signers can give landlords the peace of mind they need when approving tenants who may not have a solid credit score, be able to prove a stable income, or have no renting history, for example, they’re students. In order to make sure that the co-signer can be held legally responsible, you need to ensure that you are including all of the necessary information in the co-signer form and/or within the lease agreement.
The two terms, tenant guarantor and co-signer, are often used interchangeably, yet there are a few differences between them.
In short, guarantors are responsible for paying the rent in the event that the tenant is unable to do so.
On the other hand, a cosigner is responsible for paying the rent (or part of the rent) immediately. Co-signers also have more rights under the lease and can live in the rental property with the tenant, if they wish to do so.
There are a number of circumstances in which a landlord may request that a prospective tenant has a co-signer. Including but not limited to:
As well as being someone who can financially support the tenant, the co-signer should also be someone trustworthy and reliable. A co-signer could be a parent, family member, or friend but is ultimately someone with a steady income who can accept financial responsibility for the rent and other relevant expenses.
If the tenant is not able to rely on family or friends to be a co-signer, third-party guarantor services can be utilized. Nonetheless, it is important to note that these come at a premium.
Despite there being a little extra work involved when dealing with a co-signer, it does mean that you can confidently rent to tenants who show promise but may slightly miss the mark. Choosing to rent to a tenant with a co-signer may allow you to fill a vacancy more quickly, enabling you to sustain your rental income.
There are alternatives to using co-signers but these are also not completely risk-free. Some alternatives are:
In addition to being financially responsible for the rent, the cosigner may also be responsible for the following:
As well as ensuring that the above financial obligations are clearly identified in the lease or cosigner addendum, there are various identification requirements that also need to be included.
Whether or not the co-signer may live in the leased premises with the tenant should also be noted, as should the party responsible for attorney fees and court costs incurred, should any legal proceedings arise out of the agreement.
Below, we have provided a free template for a co-signer addendum. This can be edited as necessary and then signed by all parties involved.
This agreement is made on [Date: XX/XX/XXXX] between Landlord, [Landlord Name], and Tenant(s), [Tenant Name], and is understood to be included and recognized as an Agreement to modify the Lease between Landlord and Tenant(s) dated [XX/XX/XXXX] and which refers to the Leased Premises:
Leased Premises Description
The Leased Premises is located at: [Property street address, city, state, ZIP code]
Co-Signer(s) Identification Details
Co-Signer Name: [Co-Signer Name]
Co-Signer Address: [Property street address, city, state, ZIP code]
Drivers License Number: [XXXXXX], Issuing State: [State]
Telephone Number: [XXXXXXXXX]
The Co-Signer has read the Lease referenced above and agrees to accept full responsibility for the fulfillment of all Terms and Conditions of the Lease Agreement, including, but not limited to, the payment of rent, late fees, damages assessed and incurred by Tenant(s), and any necessary cleaning charges. Co-Signer understands that Co-Signer will be responsible for these financial obligations set forth in the Lease.
The Co-Signer Agreement will remain in force throughout any extensions or modifications of the lease terms and will terminate upon completion of the lease term or with the written consent of changes from Landlord. If any issues arise that result in the eviction of Tenant(s), Co-Signer will be held equally responsible with the Tenant(s) for any unpaid rent, utility charges, damages assessed, and necessary cleaning charges until the Leased Premises is re-rented.
The Co-Signer [will/will not] reside in the Leased Premises.
Co-Signer understands that this Agreement is contingent upon a satisfactory credit check. Co-Signer gives approval to the Landlord to verify their credit history.
Co-signer Name (Print): [Print Co-signer’s name]
Co-signer Signature: [Co-signer’s signature]
Landlord Name: [Print Landlord name]
Landlord Signature: [Landlord signature]
At the end of the day, it is within your right as a landlord to choose the tenant you want to live in your rental property (as long as your selection criteria are not discriminatory in any way). Nonetheless, if you are wanting to fill a vacancy quickly, it might be worth it to accept a tenant-co-signer duo, rather than let your rental remain empty any longer. With two incomes to rely on, you may find that the occurrence of late or missed rent payments may even be bypassed altogether.
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