What are our legal obligations if we co-sign for our son to enter into a lease of a home with 6 other students?

Our college senior son is strongly considering entering into a lease with 6 fellow students. The landlord is requiring each parent to cosign with son. We are reluctant to sign. None of the boys have lived away from home and we are concerned that some may bail out. I understand that we would be guaranteeing only our son’s rent but what about damages to the 5 bedroom home?

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the specific language in the lease, but usually cosigners to a lease are guaranteeing the FULL amount not just your relative's portion of rent.  Damages also depend on the language of the lease, but usually cosigners are liable for any (and all) damages as well. 

Your son is an adult.  He is a senior in college.  Unless this place is the Taj Mahal I am a little confused at why the landlord would require 6 separate parental cosigners.  I rented my own apartments through college without a cosigner.  I wouldn't sign that lease if I were you--if the five (really ten) other parties walk away you could be stuck with the whole lease payment plus any damage to the premises.

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