Is a co-signer on an original lease still legally reponsible under any renewals that they did not sign?

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Is a co-signer on an original lease still legally reponsible under any renewals that they did not sign?

I resided at a former landlord’s property for 5 years. My mother co-signed my lease. She did not reside with me at the property. She just co-signed the lease agreeing to pay my rent should I become unable to pay it. My mother has not co-signed on any subsequent lease renewals since the initial lease. I caused damage to the property during the final year of my residence at the property. Can the landlord (by law) come after my mother for the damages. If so, and she was financially unable to pay, would she have to do jail time or would the only consequence be a downgrade in her credit rating?

Asked on November 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most situations when there is a co-signer for a written lease that is renewed several times, the co-signer is not obligated on the written lease for any term beyond the term that he or she originally signed for.

However, in your situation, there is a question as to when the actual damages to the property most likely in the landlord's eyes. You say that you caused the damages in the last year of the renewed lease that your mother did not sign. If you have proof that the damages happened after the end of the initial period of the lease that your mother signed for, then she should have no liabilty for the damages.

The dispute would be a civil matter. Jail does not happen in a civil lawsuit. If there is a judgment against your mother, her credit rating could suffer.


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