Most apartment complexes check an applicant's credit history before approving a lease agreement. Your youth or a scant credit history may put you at a disadvantage. Your potential landlord may be unwilling to take a risk on an untried youngster and issue a denial for the unit. Do not take that as the last say in the matter. You may be able to have a parent co-sign your lease agreement to get the keys to the apartment. By doing this, you may also be able to build a rental history and credit score that will make it easier the next time you want to rent.
What Is a Co-Signer?
A co-signer is added as a co-applicant who uses his credit history and income to secure a contract for someone else. The co-signer promises to pay the bill if the primary borrower defaults on the lease agreement. In the event you default, the landlord may go after the co-signer to recover the money owed using collection agencies or civil court. Collection entries and judgments adversely affect the co-signer's credit history, so it's important that your co-signer know the risk. A judgment may also result in garnishment of the co-signer's wages or a bank levy.
Ask the Co-Signer
Approach your parents and explain your financial predicament. Ask if they are willing to co-sign for your apartment. You may need to provide proof that you can afford the rent on the unit as they are taking a significant risk. If they agree, approach the apartment manager. Ask the manager if he would allow you to add your parents as co-signers to the lease.
Secure the Documents
If the landlord is agreeable to your suggestion, resubmit your rental application with your parents' information added. After you receive approval, you need to set up a meeting between the landlord, your parents and yourself to sign the lease agreement. Make sure the lease agreement correctly lists your parents as non-occupied co-signers who will not be occupying the residence. Pay all monies due to the landlord and set a moving date.
Consider the Risks
Be honest with yourself about your ability to afford the unit before you ask your parents to co-sign. If you default on the agreement, you risk hurting your parents' credit rating and placing them in an unfortunate situation. Your relationship with your parents may become strained because of your inability to pay your bills.
Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.