If I co-signed for a lease over a month ago but the situation changed and that person did not sign the lease, am I liable?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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If I co-signed for a lease over a month ago but the situation changed and that person did not sign the lease, am I liable?

After a month of notarized co-signature on a lease application that was not followed through on, the other party went and signed a lease without my knowledge. The property management company is now claiming I am the co-signor. Is this legal? I would assume there is an expiration or time limit on such an agreement. We are in Washington State. Also, the lessee chose not to move in and notified the company in writing that she did not move in and will not be doing so. Aren’t they obligated to make an effort to lease the property?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Good question. Your signature as a co-signor on the lease (without having an opportunity to review it) for all intents and purposes is dependent upon the actual lessee signing the document since that person was the primary occupant for the rental.

If that person did not sign the lease that you co-signed and did not move into the rental, then you should not be liable under the lease because your signature on the lease was dependent upon the primary occupant actually signing the lease and occupying the rental.

The landlord is obligated to try and rent out the unoccupied unit in a timely manner in order to mitigate any claims of loss. In the interim, you should consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your situation.

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