Co-signer vs. Guarantor: What’s the Difference?


You are looking for your ideal rental property and you have finally found it! Then you apply for your apartment or house and you are refused. Now what? First of all, don’t give up hope. There is still a way for you to find your perfect spot. Did you know that you can qualify for a lease using a guarantor or co-signer? Find out the difference between a guarantor and a co-signer and which one is best for you in the article below.

Why would you need a guarantor or co-signer?

There are several reasons why you might be refused a rental. It could be that your income is a little lower than the level desired by your potential owner, or your credit score is too low or nonexistent. Before approving an application, landlords want to know that someone will pay the rent. This is where a guarantor or co-signer comes in. Both can help you secure a lease if you are financially unable to qualify on your own. They each have different rights and responsibilities, so it is important to know the difference before choosing one.

What is a guarantor?

A surety is an outside party, such as a family member or friend, who will stand surety for you and accept responsibility for the rent if you are ever unable to pay it. A guarantor assumes all legal responsibility for the apartment but has no rights with regard to ownership. For example, if a parent is the surety of their child, the parent does not have the right to occupy the rental property. In addition, if their child has roommates and the roommates do not pay, the guarantor is responsible for the full rent, not just from their child.

What is a co-signer?

In the eyes of your landlord and the law, a co-signer is just an additional tenant. They bear legal responsibility for the rent and can live in the property. In most cases, a co-signer is a roommate or significant other who signs the lease and takes responsibility for paying part of the rent and expenses for the apartment. In some cases, it may also be a family member sharing the apartment.

Co-signer vs guarantor

Despite these distinct differences, many rental markets will use these terms interchangeably. But, is a guarantor a co-signer? Not necessarily. In short, a co-signer takes a higher risk by logging on. Yes, the benefits are higher as well, but they come at a cost. If you are a co-signer living on a property shared with roommates, someone else’s failure to pay their share of the rent and fees may be on you. You can become responsible for the entire rent of a property for which you have co-signed a lease.

You can also risk the risk of eviction if other tenants do not pay their fair share, even if you have already paid your share. You can also be sued for the full rental amount for the full term of the lease if you break your lease.

What are the rights and obligations of a guarantor? First, a surety has no right to the lease that they agree to pay if you or someone you live with doesn’t pay. They cannot move into rental accommodation and are usually required to live in the same country as the person they are guarantor. They can constitute a guarantee as a surety. If someone defaults on the lease, they could lose everything they’ve put in place, from personal property to cash. A guarantor has a higher risk because he has full financial responsibility without any rights to the property.


Before choosing a surety or co-signer, think carefully about the potential impact this could have on your relationship with the party who is acting as a co-signer or guarantor for you. Consider limiting the length of time you want the co-signer or guarantor to help you. Maybe you have a multi-year lease; you can decide that you don’t want them to be co-signers or guarantors for the first year of your lease until you are up and can meet the financial obligations of renting your apartment.

Once you’ve decided who you want to ask for help, think about how you will approach the topic with the person you want. It helps to do this at a time when neither of you is in a rush, stressed or angry. Maybe consider going out for lunch or coffee and socializing before asking for their help.

be ready

When you apply, you should already have prepared answers to some of the key questions your co-signer or potential guarantor might ask you, such as: How would you pay them back if something went wrong? What would you do if they were forced to pay rent for you for a while?

Put their minds at ease from the start by having an idea of ​​how you would go about handling a repayment if you slipped the rent due to a loss or potential reduction in income, economy, health problems, job change any other reason.

The sweetness of the home

Both the co-signer and the guarantor have the financial responsibility to help you get into your new apartment, but each has specific rights that come with this responsibility under the law. Knowing the difference can help you decide what is best for your situation.

Dealing with these issues before making the decision to make a deal is key to a good relationship with a family member or friend who takes on this responsibility. Take the time to think about who you want to ask for help, be prepared, and choose wisely.

Ready to start your research? Find thousands of apartments for rent on Zumper and consider choosing a guarantor or co-signer you trust.

Related Posts