When renting an apartment, the property manager often checks references from previous owners to determine if an applicant is reliable. If this is your first apartment, you may not yet have established references or rental history. In this case, the landlord can ask for a co-signer on your lease to make sure they collect the rent. A co-signer signs a lease with the tenant, even if they are not usually going to live on the property, and accepts financial responsibility if the tenant does not pay the rent.
There are many possible reasons why you may be reluctant to find a co-signer. You may not want to ask anyone a financial favor, you may feel uncomfortable doing it, or you may not have a close friend with a strong credit score. . Even if there is someone you know who might agree to co-sign for your apartment, you might not want to put your friend or family in that position. When a landlord requests a co-signer for a lease, there are several ways around this requirement.
Pay several months of rent in advance
Some landlords may allow you to pay rent up front, such as paying three to six months’ rent before you move in. Prepaid rent gives security to the landlord and allows them to waive the co-signer requirement. While this type of agreement requires you to save a larger amount of money before you move in, it is a method of eliminating the need for a co-signer.
It is not legal in all areas for a landlord to receive more than a month’s rent in advance, so it is important to research the state and local laws where you wish to rent.
Offer a larger security deposit
You may be able to pay an additional security deposit which requires more money in the short term, but it will give you a good return when you move out. As long as you pay the rent on time, take care of the property, and follow the directions in your lease, you should get your security deposit back.
Provide proof of reliability
Providing your future landlord with personal documents attesting to your reliability can alleviate the requirement for a co-signer. For example, you can share pay stubs or bank statements from the past year showing proof of income. You may be able to collect personal references from bosses or professional acquaintances that will testify to your reliability and character. If you’ve had a roommate in the past, you may be able to get a personal letter of recommendation from your former roommate as a reference.
Find an apartment that does not require a co-signer
You may be able to find an apartment that does not require a co-signer. While large apartment complexes often have property managers and strict candidate policies to follow, a private landlord or smaller apartment location can be more lenient in this area. You can also rent an apartment on the top floor of a private house without a co-signer.
Sometimes tenants sublet an apartment and in this case they already have a rental lease, so there won’t be a co-signer requirement for this type of arrangement.
Find a roommate
Instead of a co-signer, you may be able to find a roommate. A landlord can remove the need for a co-signer if there are two tenants listed on the lease.
Maintain good credit
One of the main reasons a landlord needs a co-signer is to reduce their losses if they default on your rent. Good credit is a strong indicator that you’re responsible and paying your bills on time, so having good credit can be a great way to avoid needing a co-signer.
If you already have below-average credit, you can start working right away on fixing this problem by staying on budget and starting to pay all your bills on time. It may take several months, but over time your credit will improve and it will help you in many financial areas, not just getting an apartment. Also, try to keep your credit card balances below 30% of your total available credit, as two of the most important factors affecting credit scores are on-time payments and the amount of available credit used.
Negotiate a higher rent
Some landlords may accept an offer to pay a higher monthly rent to rent the apartment without a co-signer. For example, you can offer to pay $ 1,050 or $ 1,100 per month for an apartment with rent of $ 1,000 per month. The extra money offsets the risk of default on rent.
Create a rental CV
If you are looking to find an apartment without a co-signer, you can even prepare a rental CV with proof of your reliability. You can include things like the following:
- Bank statements or check stubs validating employment and income
- Receipts for invoices you paid on time
- Contact details of people willing to provide positive references
- Reference letters from credible sources, such as a current or previous boss, roommate, or landlord
Whenever you use someone as a reference, always make sure to check in with them ahead of time and make sure they’re ready to provide you with a positive recommendation.
While it can be more difficult to find an apartment that does not require a co-signer, it is certainly possible. There are many options and each of us has had to rent our first seat at some point in our lives. Use some of these suggestions with a little diligence and investigative skills, and you can move into your next apartment without a co-signer.