If I am the co-signer on my stepson’s apartment lease, how can I get my name removed?

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If I am the co-signer on my stepson’s apartment lease, how can I get my name removed?

I co-signed a 12 month lease for my stepson which ended about a month ago. Now he and his family are on month-to-month. His credit and pay history at the apartment complex is not good enough for him to sign a new lease. Is there any way that I can have my name removed or am I stuck because I am the only one that has decent credit? What are my options? I know that we can give 60 days notice but his credit history probably isn’t good enough to lease anywhere else.

Asked on December 20, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the lease has ended and was not renewed--i.e. if it's term expired--then you are off the lease in the sense that that lease is no longer in effect. You cannot be made to be a cosigner against your will, so if the only lease you signed was a 12 month lease that has no expired, unless you choose to cosign again, you are done. Whether or not you wish to help your stepson out by cosigning or guaranteeing another lease is a different issue, but if--as you write--the lease has already ended, then you are no longer a cosigner with one caveat: if you stepson incurred any liability (e.g. didn't pay rent) under the lease just expired, since you had been a cosigner on it, the landlord could look to you for payment, too. But anything he did after the lease expired, you would not be responsible for.


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