Your Credit Report & Renting

Will My Friends’ Credit Records Affect My Rental History with a Co-Lease?

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Will My Friends’ Credit Records Affect My Rental History with a Co-Lease?
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Can my friends’ credit records affect my own rental history if we’re co-leasing?

Signing up for an apartment with several friends is always an exciting time. Because you’re already close friends, you know you’ll be able to hang out together both in the apartment and out in the community with little conflict. Plus you’ll enjoy being in a situation where you trust your roommate(s) and know exactly what personality and behaviors to expect from everyone living in the apartment.

However, first you must apply for the apartment. Often friends will co-lease an apartment together, which might cause some issues if one of the roommates doesn’t have a good rental history or credit history. This should only be a problem in being approved to rent the apartment. Once you’re living there, as long as you and your roommates pay your rent on time and follow all the requirements stated in the lease agreement, a roommate’s bad credit record should not affect you or your personal rental history report.

But once you’ve moved in, if as a unit you slip and miss rental payments or break another lease rule, the penalties can affect all renters who co-signed the lease. This is because your landlord can place notifications of the missed or incomplete payment in everyone’s rental history reports, even if as a group, you had assigned only one person to handle the lease payment. The landlord won’t keep tabs on which renter in the apartment is responsible for paying the rent. Legally, he can come after each and every person who co-signed the lease, and hold them responsible.

To help keep your rental history report free from negative reports made by landlords, if you’re co-signing with friends, it might be smart to handle all the rental payments yourself, so you can ensure that it gets paid on time and in full.