Moving into your first apartment as a legal adult can be daunting. Landlords will typically require certain documents from prospective tenants, including credit reports and character references.
Parents can help their children lease apartments by becoming “guarantors” on the rental agreement, often making two and a half times or more of the monthly rent and having excellent credit. To qualify as a guarantor or co-signer on a rental agreement.
1. You Can Be the Guarantor
If your parents have good credit, the landlord or property manager could require one or both to act as guarantors on your apartment lease agreement. This is particularly common among young people or those who lack lengthy credit histories; acting as guarantor means agreeing to sign the lease and assume responsibility for rent payments and charges should the tenant fail to make them themselves; unlike cosigners however, who live at the apartment but don’t necessarily assume the right of residency themselves.
Before agreeing to be your guarantor, an individual must undergo a background and credit check, provide copies of their current paychecks or bank statements and pay an application fee that ranges between $25-200. Furthermore, it’s essential that they understand their responsibilities as they take on this financial commitment – this may take several rounds before finally agreeing on one person.
Assuring your guarantor that they may be financially affected if you default on your rent can provide peace of mind and may help alleviate any anxiety about signing the lease agreement. Also consider asking whether or not it would be okay if they allowed you to review their credit report prior to signing as this may help identify potential issues that could arise later on.
Importantly, your guarantor will only remain financially responsible until either you vacate the apartment or they sign an end-of-lease release form. Therefore, it’s crucial that all paperwork, money and any additional documents requested by landlord or property manager be brought along, such as letters of reference, employment verification and financial references if applicable. If they feel uncomfortable being part of this situation they can opt out altogether from being your guarantor on the lease agreement.
2. You Can Be the Co-signer
Co-signers are legal representatives who agree to take legal responsibility for your rent payments if you fall behind in paying, typically leading to eviction proceedings from your landlord. They’re commonly used by college students, those still building credit and those unable to meet landlord requirements due to low income or no rental history – much like having insurance protection when searching for apartments outside their price range. According to rentprep having cosigners can help qualify you for apartments otherwise out of reach.
Your co-signer should be someone you trust, such as a parent or family member. Given they will legally be responsible if you fail to pay rent, choosing an appropriate person who will share personal financial details is key; look for someone with excellent credit who has stable income streams as they must also take on responsibility of your lease agreement – most landlords require this for extra security measures.
Before asking someone else to cosign for your lease agreement, it is essential that both parties involved understand exactly what is involved. They will need to complete a rental application, pass a background check, provide income proof and sign an agreement just like you will do.
If your parents are unwilling to cosign for your lease agreement, there are services that provide cosigning services; however, these may incur an extra monthly cost and fee.
Whenever seeking a co-signer for your apartment lease, be prepared to make a convincing argument to your landlord as to why they should approve you. Outline what steps have been taken to improve your circumstances as well as evidence of consistent income and savings plans for future needs.
3. You Can Be the Sub-Leaser
Once you have obtained permission from your parents, you can become the sub-lessee for an apartment lease. As with a traditional application process, income verifications, pay stubs, references from previous landlords/roommates to prove eligibility as an ideal tenant will all help strengthen your case for subleasing an apartment. Ideally, establish an agreed upon process for rent payments before moving in – then put that process in writing!
4. You Can Be the Roommate
Sometimes adding your roommate directly onto an apartment lease and having them move in can be straightforward. Your landlord will still conduct credit and employment checks as well as review any pertinent paperwork before giving their approval for you to move in, however. Furthermore, they may ask for a security deposit equaling one month’s rent as part of their responsibilities to ensure it does not get damaged or left vacant.
Be mindful if your parents or other family members are already on the lease – adding roommates will not be possible in such an instance; either find another family member who can serve as guarantor, or save up for your own place.
Preferably, it is wise to have a roommate agreement in place prior to moving into an apartment together. This can help mitigate problems that can arise from sharing living quarters together such as arguments over money or who uses which kitchen appliances. Establishing rules and expectations early will keep everyone on the same page and accountable for their actions.
Before moving into a new apartment, be sure to plan and save enough for the first month’s rent, deposits and security deposits as well as unexpected expenses such as fixing broken items in the apartment. If roomsharing, make sure both parties involved understand how payment will work in advance.
if your parent is on an apartment lease, it would be wise to discuss the possibility of getting off in the future should that become necessary. By starting early in this process, they can evaluate all your options and offer guidance and advice – such as suggesting tenant broker services that can assist in finding new housing options; or helping negotiate lease-break clauses should an emergency or job relocation arise.