Contact us whenever you need it!

+1 855 997 0206

Contact hours: Mon-Fri 8am - 10pm ET

A landlord may want proof that a new tenant can afford rent, and some ask for documents to prove it. For example, in New York City, many landlords require a tenant's annual income to be at least forty times the monthly rent. Bank statements and pay stubs can serve as proof of income.

But a tenant can fulfill these requirements with a cosigner or guarantor to assure the landlord they will pay rent on time. It is common for rental leases to use cosigners and guarantors interchangeably, but these terms are different.

Legally, a lease guarantor must pay rent if the tenant fails to pay. But they do not share the lease with the tenant they protect. Unlike a guarantor, a cosigner has a little more leeway in their living arrangements. Sometimes, a cosigner on a rental lease may be allowed to live in the unit and pay their fair share of the rent, including other lease agreement responsibilities, should the other tenant default.

In the following paragraphs, you will discover the difference between a lease guarantor and a cosigner. Let's explore.

What Is a Guarantor?

Anyone over 18 who lives in the same state as the tenant can voluntarily sign on as a guarantor. The guarantor must prove sufficient income or an excellent credit score to sign the lease agreement. They only step in when the tenant defaults on the lease agreement. Beyond that, the guarantor has no other responsibilities.

What Is a Cosigner?

Anyone who cosigns a residential lease agreement —mortgage or rental contract— becomes the co-owner or co-guardian of the asset and shares all its responsibilities. As a cosigner, this person becomes a party to the agreement. The cosigner may not be the primary tenant, but they share an equal commitment with the tenant for maintaining the lease.

Cosigners can be parents, mainly if the prospective tenant recently depended on them. A cosigner is jointly responsible for the terms of the lease. If a tenant breaks the lease, the landlord may sue the tenant and cosigner for compensation.

The cosigner should also know if they handle subsequent lease renewals or only the first year of the lease. If the cosigner wishes to be relieved of any future potential liability, the cosigner should notify the landlord before the lease renews.

Particularly in the cases of students, there are sometimes three cosigners. When one cosigner has assets and income, they may be the only one sued (and they would then have to sue the other cosigners). Drafting a roommate agreement to protect individual rights may be beneficial to students who are cosigning.

What Are the Differences Between a Cosigner and a Guarantor?

The following table has a summary of five of the main differences between a guarantor and a cosigner:

Guarantor Cosigner
Can be an individual or third-party company Primarily an individual (family for students or a friend for roommate)
Cannot live in the rented property Can live in the rented property
Has no risk of eviction from defaulted rent High risk of eviction from defaulted rent
Only pays rent when the tenant defaults May pay half the rent monthly with the tenant
A landlord may require an annual Income (including liquid assets) of 40-80 times the monthly rent Including liquid assets, 70-80 times the monthly rent may be the threshold

Who Can Be a Guarantor and a Cosigner?

Finding a close friend, or family member, who can shoulder the rent liability is best, but anyone can vouch for a tenant if they meet the guarantor requirements. Certain companies and services offer professional guarantors at a fee. These services would probably cost another month's rent, but they may also have substantial income and credit score requirements.

A cosigner can be a family member (parents). Especially if the tenant is young, has no rental or employment history or good credit rating, and was recently dependent on them. The cosigner must meet all the qualifications of a typical apartment applicant, including good credit and employment history and sufficient income.

As proof of their income, they may have to provide documents such as:

  • Income tax receipts and pay stubs
  • Detailed bank statements
  • Other forms of identification, such as Social Security Numbers

When Is a Cosigner or Guarantor Required?

For several reasons, a cosigner or guarantor may be necessary to get a rental application approved, which may require a background check. A landlord may require either of the two if a tenant has:

  • Credit issues: Property managers and landlords may have reservations about the tenants' ability to pay their rent on time if they have little or no credit history, bad credit, or bankruptcy on their credit report. \

  • No Rental history not available: Some landlords or property managers require a guarantor for first-time tenants. After a tenant has built up a rental history, they may lease elsewhere without a personal guarantor. \

  • A history of unsteady employment: Frequent gaps in your employment history could equate to income problems soon. Occasionally, landlords will refuse to rent to college students without a cosigner or a full-time job, even if you have student loans or savings to cover the rental costs.

  • Minimal income: For tenants to afford rent payments and other living expenses, landlords often require an income of three times the monthly rent. Renters or property managers may ask for income proof and ask current employers to confirm this information.

Get a Simple Lease Agreement

As many landlords know from experience, even tenants who seem responsible often encounter life upsets that prevent them from paying their rent on time. To reduce risk, landlords require a lease guarantor or a cosigner for young or credit-risk prospective tenants before they approve leases for financial peace of mind.

Overall, a cosigner or guarantor on a lease allows landlords to accept tenants who may not otherwise qualify for a rental lease. However, landlords are not obligated to accept tenants who require either of the two. Make sure you take this into account when drafting your late rent notice, lease agreement or rental application.

See All Real Estate Documents

A landlord may want proof that a new tenant can afford rent, and some ask for documents to prove it. For example, in New York City, many landlords require a tenant's annual income to be at least forty times the monthly rent. Bank statements and pay stubs can serve as proof of income.

But a tenant can fulfill these requirements with a cosigner or guarantor to assure the landlord they will pay rent on time. It is common for rental leases to use cosigners and guarantors interchangeably, but these terms are different.

Legally, a lease guarantor must pay rent if the tenant fails to pay. But they do not share the lease with the tenant they protect. Unlike a guarantor, a cosigner has a little more leeway in their living arrangements. Sometimes, a cosigner on a rental lease may be allowed to live in the unit and pay their fair share of the rent, including other lease agreement responsibilities, should the other tenant default.

In the following paragraphs, you will discover the difference between a lease guarantor and a cosigner. Let's explore.

What Is a Guarantor?

Anyone over 18 who lives in the same state as the tenant can voluntarily sign on as a guarantor. The guarantor must prove sufficient income or an excellent credit score to sign the lease agreement. They only step in when the tenant defaults on the lease agreement. Beyond that, the guarantor has no other responsibilities.

What Is a Cosigner?

Anyone who cosigns a residential lease agreement —mortgage or rental contract— becomes the co-owner or co-guardian of the asset and shares all its responsibilities. As a cosigner, this person becomes a party to the agreement. The cosigner may not be the primary tenant, but they share an equal commitment with the tenant for maintaining the lease.

Cosigners can be parents, mainly if the prospective tenant recently depended on them. A cosigner is jointly responsible for the terms of the lease. If a tenant breaks the lease, the landlord may sue the tenant and cosigner for compensation.

The cosigner should also know if they handle subsequent lease renewals or only the first year of the lease. If the cosigner wishes to be relieved of any future potential liability, the cosigner should notify the landlord before the lease renews.

Particularly in the cases of students, there are sometimes three cosigners. When one cosigner has assets and income, they may be the only one sued (and they would then have to sue the other cosigners). Drafting a roommate agreement to protect individual rights may be beneficial to students who are cosigning.

What Are the Differences Between a Cosigner and a Guarantor?

The following table has a summary of five of the main differences between a guarantor and a cosigner:

Guarantor Cosigner
Can be an individual or third-party company Primarily an individual (family for students or a friend for roommate)
Cannot live in the rented property Can live in the rented property
Has no risk of eviction from defaulted rent High risk of eviction from defaulted rent
Only pays rent when the tenant defaults May pay half the rent monthly with the tenant
A landlord may require an annual Income (including liquid assets) of 40-80 times the monthly rent Including liquid assets, 70-80 times the monthly rent may be the threshold

Who Can Be a Guarantor and a Cosigner?

Finding a close friend, or family member, who can shoulder the rent liability is best, but anyone can vouch for a tenant if they meet the guarantor requirements. Certain companies and services offer professional guarantors at a fee. These services would probably cost another month's rent, but they may also have substantial income and credit score requirements.

A cosigner can be a family member (parents). Especially if the tenant is young, has no rental or employment history or good credit rating, and was recently dependent on them. The cosigner must meet all the qualifications of a typical apartment applicant, including good credit and employment history and sufficient income.

As proof of their income, they may have to provide documents such as:

  • Income tax receipts and pay stubs
  • Detailed bank statements
  • Other forms of identification, such as Social Security Numbers

When Is a Cosigner or Guarantor Required?

For several reasons, a cosigner or guarantor may be necessary to get a rental application approved, which may require a background check. A landlord may require either of the two if a tenant has:

  • Credit issues: Property managers and landlords may have reservations about the tenants' ability to pay their rent on time if they have little or no credit history, bad credit, or bankruptcy on their credit report. \

  • No Rental history not available: Some landlords or property managers require a guarantor for first-time tenants. After a tenant has built up a rental history, they may lease elsewhere without a personal guarantor. \

  • A history of unsteady employment: Frequent gaps in your employment history could equate to income problems soon. Occasionally, landlords will refuse to rent to college students without a cosigner or a full-time job, even if you have student loans or savings to cover the rental costs.

  • Minimal income: For tenants to afford rent payments and other living expenses, landlords often require an income of three times the monthly rent. Renters or property managers may ask for income proof and ask current employers to confirm this information.

Get a Simple Lease Agreement

As many landlords know from experience, even tenants who seem responsible often encounter life upsets that prevent them from paying their rent on time. To reduce risk, landlords require a lease guarantor or a cosigner for young or credit-risk prospective tenants before they approve leases for financial peace of mind.

Overall, a cosigner or guarantor on a lease allows landlords to accept tenants who may not otherwise qualify for a rental lease. However, landlords are not obligated to accept tenants who require either of the two. Make sure you take this into account when drafting your late rent notice, lease agreement or rental application.

See All Real Estate Documents