To cosignn or not to cosign..... ugh

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, May 17, 2011.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi all,

    Heard from my son this morning because he and girlfriend need help in trying to secure this apartment they have been looking at. Sounds like they are being jerked around some by the apartment... and actually sounds like the apartment will refuse to rent to them!! It is defnitely the cheapest place around..... and where they are currently staying sounds horrible.... in general a very bad scene with a lot of drug use. Sounds like he is so far staying clean (because he does not want to land in jail) but it has to be the worst place for him. I can't tell you how angry I am at gfs mother for bringing him back here and then not letting him stay there.

    Anyway so I think to get an apartment I am going to need to cosign a lease. I had said I would not do this. I really don't want to on the one hand but I think I might have to if I want to help him get out of where he is at. I have not made any promises and I want to check any lease terms to find out what happens if they break the lease.

    I met with them today and suggested they start looking for other apartments as the place they have looked at is now saying a cosigner makes no difference unless they ask for a cosigner..... which just seems weird to me.

    So we shall see.... I think my son is having a pretty tough time right now which is ok.... but is hard to see. I feel so sad for the choices he has made that landed him where he is. At least he is working and staying off drugs for now.
  2. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Probably what will happen is you'll have to pay out the rest of the lease or take a big hit on your credit, and forfeit the security deposit. They may not demand full payment if you or they can find another tenant, but I wouldn't count on it.

    I think that what that means is that they have three levels of qualification - qualified, qualified with cosigner, or not qualified. If he and girlfriend are deemed "not qualified", then you being prepared to co-sign still won't get them in.

    Sorry you're in this situation. It's good that he is staying off drugs and working, and I understand you wanting to help him stay that way. Good luck, whatever you decide.
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    My gut says dont' cosign anything, natural consequences for past mistakes, good reminder what they need to do now to make up for the mistakes. Then the mom in me says, cosign with conditions. Then the brains side of me says, what conditions? In the end, its you on the hook if he screws this up. Then I move on to removal from emotion and think rationally lol. I think it depends altogether on YOUR difficult child, him as a person, where he is at, not just a mix of his history but also his innate character mixed in with what he's been doing lately and is it seeming "real" or just to pacify others. A kid truly trying hard to get his life on track who I know to be good at heart and anxious for a chance to be a functioning and healthy adult? I'd cosign. Otherwise? probably not.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks for the thoughts and ideas.... I am still thinking on it. A lot will depend on what the lease says happens if you break the lease.... I have to say if it was my son alone or with a male friend I probably would say no. However I like the girlfriend and she is not a drug user or partyer.... so I think there is a better chance. We shall see what they come up with, they need to figure something out soon. I really hate the situation they are in now.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My standing rule is: I never co-sign for ANYONE.

    I don't care if they're my bestest friend in the whole wide world, I don't care if they're a blood relative, my mother, or my child.

    Never. This rule I will not budge on even if it means someone is sleeping on the street.

    Co-signing that lease makes you responsible equally for those monthly rent payments.

    easy child didn't believe me. She co-signed a loan for her best friend at the time. She's spent the past 4 yrs paying back 40,000.00!! Loan company couldn't go after the best friend so came after easy child. easy child gave them updated info on best friend, best friend was smart enough to never answer the phone or mail inquiries (obviously has done this time and again).....which left easy child holding the bag. easy child is in the process of sueing to get her money back.

    Like I said............not a good idea to co-sign for anyone at anytime for any reason.

    And to put it bluntly, it's not up to you to fix their living situation. Their choices got them into this mess, they can get themselves back out again. Meanwhile there are homeless shelters where they can go. (who often help with the whole housing thing)
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Starting from original post - if they are being "jerked around by..." the apartment manager etc. - then do you trust the apartment guys? If their attitude is that negative, then maybe your son needs a lawyer not a co-signer... Could the management find some stupid reason to force them out of the apartment, then come back at you for the co-signed amount, and then still rent it out again? as in, some sort of scam???

    There's good tenants, and bad tenants. There's good landlords and bad landlords. The only situation you ever want to be in is a good tenant with a good landlord.
  7. ski10

    ski10 New Member

    This is true for where we are.

    Might be a good idea to check in to other places to live, going through a private party is a good way, a friend of my daughter's did that, no co-signer needed.

    The only time I would consider co-signing is if my daughter got her act together and was going in the right direction but, I'd still first see if she could find a place that didn't require a co-signer.
  8. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I was in the exact same situation last week. My difficult child called because he found an apartment and the real estate agent said she could work with him. We went to see the apartment, I was worried they would want a co-signer and hoped they didn't need one because I wasn't sure if I was going to say yes or no. We saw the apartment, he liked it and the landlord said they could have it on the spot. The realtor said I wouldn't have to co-sign and I was relieved. I wasn't sure why she was being so trusting because he told her he had terrible credit, but I asked again, do I have to be there for any reason when they sign the lease and get the key and she said no.

    Well low and behold it was too good to be true. He went on Saturday morning to sign the lease and get the key. They had everything moved out of the hotel and ready to move into the apartment and I get the phone call. The landlord said I had to co-sign or they couldn't move in. So I went and had a talk with him and his girlfriend before I signed anything. They are clean, working full time, both of them, so I told my son if I co-sign and you screw up and I become responsible for this rent I will walk away from you and never speak to you ever again!! He knows when I can be a pushover and he also knows when I'm serious, and they both swore they will work for this and do whatever it takes to pay their rent. So, I co-signed and they moved in!!

    I just pray I made the right decision.

    Have you decided what to do yet???
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Our situations sound so similar... I am really wondering what the lease says about consequences for breaking the lease...I would feel much better about not cosigning.... BUT I also suspect I will have to. I really want to help then get out of where they are living and it did occur to me that maybe I should offer instead to help pay rent at a sober living place?? Although really I would rather my son be supporting himself. So I don't know.... none of the choices are great. His girlfriend has talked to another place.... maybe it would help if up front I go and look at it with them. I sure wish rent around here was cheaper.
  10. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Good cautionary tale there: get it straight from the landlord, not a realtor or any other third party.
  11. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I wouldn't cosign because I know I can't trust Kat for the long haul, but every situation is different. I would encourage them to look on Craigslist. There are lots of individuals on there who are more willing to work with people or relax their standards.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is our nightmare dilemma. Personally, I would go and look at places with him so he doesnt get taken by a slumlord. we have been there too many times now. Cory can be way too eager to get into any old place. I want to make sure he can afford it and the landlord wont take advantage of him and wont just kick him out in a month. I also make sure he hasnt lied to them so they wont come back and kick him out for that. This also lets them know he has family nearby that are watching what is happening so they better be on their toes too.

    I didnt cosign but I did pay first months and the deposit. This lady wanted a years lease and I wasnt putting myself on the line for a year. Thankfully she didnt try to get me to do it. I just assured her that his income was stable unless the government went

    Now if it had been a month to month, I might have considered it.
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Do they have a sceurity deposit ready to put down? If they do not, they do not 'get it' and I would not co-sign. If they are prepared with security deposit and you know they both make enough money to pay the rent, then I would probably do it.
  14. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I would not cosign under any circumstances. I would let natural consequences take over. My oldest son, difficult child 1, needs a place to live too. If he remains where he is now, I don't see anything good coming out of it. As much as the mom in me wants to help him, I'm trying really hard to DETACH while his plans for the future are starting to unravel. Hopefully, difficult child 1 will learn from this, not make the same poor choices again, and will get his life back on track.

    It sounds like your difficult child is one step ahead of mine, having already made the poor choices and now trying to put his life back together. I still wouldn't cosign because I think if you do, it'll make it too easy for him to forget about those natural consequences which got him where he is in the first place. And, as others have said, you could be left having to pay the entire year's lease.

    If deep inside you truly believe your difficult child is sincere in turning his life around, as someone already said, I might help out by giving him the first months rent and security deposit. However, I would really have to think about this before handing him the check. Before giving him the money, I would make it clear that if he repeats his past mistakes, you will NEVER again help him financially.

    While it is easy for me to say all of this, I know how tough a time I'm having following my own advice. I just keep hoping that if I repeat DETACHMENT enough times over and over again, I'll somehow, be able to stay detached without it breaking my heart... I really feel for you. There is nothing worse then wanting to save your child from himself and not being able to do so. SFR
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Well, it seems to me that if their credit history is bad...

    then they should not be looking at the types of rental situations that require good credit.

    We all know that there are many many different kinds of places to rent out there....and if they are trying to go through a real estate agency or professional management company - they will need good credit.
    If they do not qualify on their own, then in my humble opinion, they need to start looking for a private rental...instead of looking for a co-signer. And these companies WILL go after the co-signer for every last cent if the tenants skip out on the lease and/or leave the rental in less than stellar condition.

    Private rentals are advertised all over the place: Craigslist, the local paper, signs on the lawn. If they have poor credit, it's the best way to go. (Heck, if you have GOOD credit, sometimes a private rental is still the best way to go!)

    Their credit worthiness should not be your problem. And it should not be something you should feel bad about.

    Just my .02
  16. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks for all the thoughts... They still haven't found a place but I don't know how much they are looking. My info is so sporadic, they don't seem to realize that they have brought me into this mess so now I WANT to know what is going on.... I am trying to just back off and wait and see.

    So I think if we cosign it will be with our eyes wide open and a decision that we are willing to take the risk of losing whatever it is. I am not signing anything without carefully reading the fine print so we know exactly what we would be liable for. I did talk to them about how much they each are earning and so together taking 1/4 to 1/3 of that is the most they can pay for rent.

    I don't know if they have bad credit, but they may have NO credit.

    And honestly would you rent to a young couple (18 and 19) years old, both with new jobs, who are living together because they need to rather than their relationship being in a place where they are ready for committment? I think it is going to be tough for them to find a reasonable place.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sure we will be in this situation at some point also. I think we have already decided that we will cosign for an apartment for her if she is clean and sober and has a job. In the end it is the best alternative other than just letting her live on the street, but that would be a sure road to relapse. It's wise to check with the landlord yourself before signing to make sure you know exactly what you will be on the hook for. If the apartment building is filled to capacity, you may only lose the security deposit and one month rent. In any case, we know our kids are not in the position to be able to get credit on their own and we don't want them living with us. What is the lesser of two evils? That assumes you can afford the money you will be out of course.

    If he is clean and sober and you are happy with the progress he is making, this could be a turning point in making him more self reliant and responsible.