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What Is a Lease Cosigner?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2016
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A lease cosigner is an individual who is willing to make a pledge in regard to a lease that in the event that the tenant fails to honor the terms of the lease, the cosigner will do so. Cosigners are often required when the credit of the tenant is not quite up to the standards of the landlord, but there is still a desire on the part of the landlord to do business with that tenant. By requiring a lease cosigner, the landlord is able to minimize the risk associated with leasing to the tenant, since this additional signer is entering into a covenant to make the lease payments if the tenant does not.

The concept of a lease cosigner is very common with property rentals. Even something as simple as renting commercial property for a storefront or an apartment may require the use of a cosigner. Cosigning a lease may sometimes help the tenant to avoid having to pay additional funds on the front end, since the landlord is assured of receiving his or her funds in the future.

There are other instances in which a lease cosigner may be required. For example, leasing an automobile may require a cosigner, depending on the age and financial situation of the applicant. Here, a responsible person will function as the cosigner, often allowing the applicant to enjoy terms and conditions that would have been impossible to secure otherwise.

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Still other forms of lease agreements may require the provision of a lease cosigner. Leasing of heavy equipment, production facilities, and large commercial spaces may not only leave room for a cosigner, but even require one in order for the deal to take place. Unless the lessor is assured that the lessee can manage the lease payments with little potential for default, there is a good chance that the lessor will require a second person to be involved in the lease arrangement.

Choosing to become a cosigner on any type of lease is a serious commitment that is legally binding. It is not unusual for landlords and others who offer lease agreements to run credit and background checks on potential cosigners, just as they do on the applicants. This means that not just anyone can function as a lease cosigner. Unless the individual has equitable credit and a steady source of income that could be used to honor the terms of the lease in the event the tenant defaults, that individual will not be accepted to cosign on the agreement.

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