9

My girlfriend is getting an apartment since she'll be away at school for 6 months. She's an international student so can't legally work off campus, but she has more than enough money to cover the apartment rent, etc. The apartment wants proof she makes $X a month (she doesn't because she can't work) or a co-signer.

I know you should never co-sign for someone unless you're willing to pay everything, but is there any risk if she gives me all of the money upfront? She said she'd give me the money and I could just give her back $x each month for rent so that if something happens I'll already have the money.

  • 4
    Why doesn't she offer the landlord all the money upfront in lieu of proof of income? – Robert Longson Jan 10 at 18:40
  • 8
    @RobertLongson If you live in a state that allows withholding rent in certain circumstances (like no hot water for excessive period of time), then it's best not to have prepaid the landlord. – Hart CO Jan 10 at 18:46
  • 6
    I'd be concerned for her if you turn out to be a jerk, or you two break up (or both). – RonJohn Jan 10 at 20:31
  • 2
    In some cases landlords will accept a note from the renter's bank stating that the renter has plenty of money to cover the rent in lieu of a credit or income check. Might be worth asking if they'd be amenable to that. – Daniel Jan 10 at 21:45
  • 3
    @RobertLongson , many landlords, especially professional companies, will simply not accept that. Been there, tried it. We offered 12 month rent upfront, they didn't care, literally said: 'you could give us a million in cash, we wouldn't rent to you, because you don't have a credit score'. Silly, but they follow their SOP, no matter how braindead. – Aganju Jan 10 at 22:04
20

Having the money up front mitigates most of the risk. The main lingering piece would be if, as a cosigner, you are on the hook for damages in excess of the deposit (on all leases I've used/seen a cosigner shares full obligation for all amounts owed).

So if she trashed the place or ran a meth lab, you could be on the hook for damages/remediation in excess of the deposit.

Another risk would be a reversed deposit of the funds after you signed. Many scams are structured around sending someone money and having that person turn around and send some gift cards or other non-reversible payment. Then the initial deposit gets reversed. That seems incredibly unlikely in this context.

Feels pretty low-risk to me on your end, she's taking some risk as well (you could run off with her money, though it'd hurt your credit score and you could face legal action, etc.).

  • 5
    There's also the risk that if she overstays her lease, OP will be liable for all eviction expenses. – Acccumulation Jan 11 at 17:28
  • @Acccumulation That's a good one, will vary significantly by state but certainly worth considering. – Hart CO Jan 12 at 5:51
  • Maybe some of the risk could be mitigated by her having liability insurance? Even if she doesn't trash it on purpose, she could accidentally start a fire or something like that. – Kat Jan 12 at 17:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.