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A Guide to Getting an Apartment Guarantor / Co-signer

You've finally found your dream apartment and you learn you don't qualify. If the only thing that's standing in the way of you and your dream rental is not qualifying, there's another way. Check out this guide to getting an apartment guarantor. 

What Does a Guarantor Do?

It finally happened. You found your dream apartment with ample closet space and a gorgeous lake-front view. You submit your application and start day dreaming about home decor when you're hit with the bad news - you don't qualify. At this point, most apartment seekers tend to hang their heads and settle for their second choice but there is another way. While some landlords will inform you of the alternative strategy of finding an apartment guarantor, some landlords won't so it's important to know that it's an option. 

According to, the guarantor cosigns a lease when a potential renter is unable to meet the requirements requested by a landlord. This is a frequently utilized tactic especially among students and first-time apartment renters. If you're in need of additional backing, a guarantor acts as extra insurance to reassure landlords that they will receive each month’s rent.

Reasons for an Apartment Guarantor

There are various reasons why a landlord will request a guarantor when applying for an apartment. The primary reasons are if your yearly income isn't 40 times the monthly rent, if you have bad credit or you have little to no rental history. If you've been rejected for an apartment, first find out if management allows guarantors before you launch into the search for a co-signer.

Requirements for an Apartment Co-Signer

In most cases, guarantors need to make between 80 to 100 times your monthly rent amount. This significant income requirement is due to the fact that the guarantor will be liable to cover your rent if you're unable to. When seeking the right person to become your guarantor, ensure they understand the terms of the guarantor agreement first.

How to Find an Apartment Guarantor 

The most likely candidate for an apartment guarantor is usually a parent or wealthy relative. If you're not sure how to approach someone about becoming your guarantor, offers a sample guarantor letter to present your potential co-signer.

If you're unable to find a personal guarantor, some states such as New York offers the option of finding an institutional guarantor. These guarantors work like an insurance policy where apartment seekers pay for a policy and is able to qualify for an apartment without finding their own guarantor to co-sign. 

Required Co-Signer Documents

Similar to the documentation required when a renter signs a lease, an apartment guarantor is required to submit paperwork such as:

  • Two pay stubs
  • Two bank statements
  • One or two tax returns
  • A letter from their employer. 
While most apartment co-signers will be aware of these requirements when they co-sign, it's smart to give them advance notice of what to gather before signing on the dotted line. 

If you're stressed about not qualifying for the apartment of your dreams, you can still make it happen by finding an apartment guarantor. While it's important not to sign a lease for an apartment you can't afford, if a factor such as bad credit or no rental history is holding you back, an apartment guarantor is a viable way to still score your dream rental.

You've qualified for your dream apartment, now what? If you're looking for help with your upcoming move, check out SmartMove's Customized Moving Guide for personalized tips, tools & timelines.

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