Co-Signer Questions & Answers

Most landlords and property management companies in Boston require a co-signer for a student tenant and in most cases this guarantor will be a parent or guardian. Landlords need to have assurance of financial compensation should a student default on lease or damage their unit. A majority of parents co-signing for their children will never encounter issues with the landlords or their child. There are some important things you should know when you co-sign a lease.

Your Responsibility as a Co-Signer

It is important to discuss the responsibilities of renting an apartment and the repercussions of mismanaging the lease agreement by tenants. If you co-sign you are responsible for any missed financial payments for the entire duration of the lease or any defaults and damage that violate the agreement. You need to make sure you are aware if there are any late or missed payments if your child defaults on the lease and you are held financially responsible. You will also be responsible should any damages go unpaid. You can discuss the lease agreement with the applicants, agent and owner to understand the liability.

The lease terms for most apartments/houses in Boston require a 12 month lease while others may allow shorter terms such as 6-9 months (usually rare). Many students who do not plan on staying throughout the summer months will look for someone to take over their lease for the remaining months of the term (sublease). The tenant should check with the landlord policies on subletting before entering into any agreements because they are legally responsible to pay for the remainder of the lease. Most landlords and management companies will allow subletting with tenant screening and a sublease agreement.

Communicate with the Renter

You and the applicant should ensure that any potential roommates are reliable and financially ready. The leasing agent will go over the lease agreement in detail with renters and can provide the lease agreement to co-signers via email or fax. A deposit of one month rent is required to take an apartment off the market and credit check fee applies to all applications. A payment plan is usually initiated for the subsequent payments (additional rental deposits and service fees).

The Guarantor Documents

When considering applications, the real estate company will generally perform a credit check and provide income verification with a guarantor form. This income and credit information supplements the applicant’s financial standing and credit history. The guarantor / co-signer form must be officially notarized for authenticity and can be initially faxed / emailed for speed – the original document must be delivered to the agent to give the property owner. The real estate office verifies gives the landlord all guarantor information in the packet which includes applications and leasing documents.

Know the Leasing Schedules

You and the applicant should be aware of the lease expiration and renewal dates. Financial aid priority deadlines, tuition deadlines, and enrollment deposits are important for any student and can affect the rental. Finally, keep track of utilities and other monthly bills on a calendar or budget spreadsheet.

The Benefits of Renters Insurance

Renter’s insurance useful because the owner’s property insurance does not cover your personal property. This type of insurance covers renters personal assets based on the policy and terms. Most rental insurance policies are affordable and offer the most benefit in case an incident occurs. It is always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected and renter’s insurance is a great way to have peace of mind.