Dear LoanSafe,

My girlfriend asked me to do something that I’d love to help her out with, but I’m not a hundred percent certain if it’s the right decision to make. She asked me to co-sign the lease on her apartment for her, even though I’m not going to be living with because I have a higher credit score and she wants to move into a nicer apartment complex. I’m aware of what a co-signer is required to commit too. Paying any missed rent, being constrained to pay even if she’s evicted, and that it will even affect my credit score if she does get evicted. My question however is, as long as she never defaults on her rent, can I have the fact that I’m a co-signer removed from my credit history if I apply for a loan or mortgage? I really need as much advice on this as possible as I’m having mixed feelings on the decision.

Thank you for the help, Daniel

Daniel,

First off, it’s relieving to know that you have knowledge regarding the risks of co-signing. The fact that you’re thinking about the risks involved is a great start. You are correct that you will be responsible for any missed rental payments if she is unable to pay – this can lead to a huge financial risk or consequence on your end.

To answer your question, leases typically do not appear on a credit report as installment loans as other types of co-signed debt do, as long as rent is always paid on time. As long as she keeps up on a monthly basis you should be safe from appearing as a co-signer if you decide to pursue any type of loan. Her motive for putting you on her burden is a red flag that needs to be addressed.

We at LoanSafe are not here to give anyone relationship advice, but however do work to ensure everyone considers all the risks involved when pursuing something as dangerous as a “co-signing commitment.” Regardless of your relationship status to her, no one should ever become a signer solely on, “it being the right thing to do.” You mentioned that your credit score is higher than hers. This fact alone should stir up some major discussion among you two.

There’s a huge difference between a person who has no credit, and a person who has bad credit because of debt. A close person to you with no credit, has a little more credibility because they have yet to prove themselves. This does not mean that you should take this obligation lightly either.

A person who has bad credit is often known as a delinquent borrower. People with bad credit have a higher risk of defaulting because they have obviously already done so in the past. Taking into consideration of why her credit is low should not only be a test for your relationship, but a test of whether you should co-sign the lease or not. Having collection accounts in your name could ruin your chances of pursuing your own rental, or the chance of getting a mortgage approved.

Never consider a co-signing agreement based on feelings, but instead on research and an extensive conversation with the co-signee.

Best of luck,

LoanSafe

Moe Bedard
My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, LoanSafe.org. My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications.