What’s a co-signer?
A co-signer is a person – such as a parent, close family member or friend – who pledges to pay back your rent if you can't. In almost all instances, the person asked to co-sign usually has a good credit score and a lengthy credit history, which greatly improves your odds of getting the apartment.
Why would you need a co-signer?
A property owner 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?
Remember, there are risks for your co-signer. If you don’t pay your rent, your co-signer will be responsible for payment.
Keeping that in mind, it’s usually best to ask a parent or close friend to co-sign - but there’s more to it than that when choosing a co-signer. For one, you need to be sure that they could actually pay your rent. If both of you failed to pay, you’d both be named on the lawsuit when your landlord sues for the rent.
Remember, what your landlord really wants is someone who will consistently pay the rent without too much trouble. Having a co-signer can get you over the line on that new place to live if your monthly income or rental history can’t.