Does Everyone Renting a House Need to Sign the Lease?

Published on Feb 04, 2014 09:30 am

To find out who has to sign your lease, you’ll have to read your lease – in full. Leases usually contain the rules under which you rent your house or apartment, and if it says that every occupant needs to be on the lease, everyone needs to sign it. However, if a lease doesn’t have this provision, then the only people who need to sign the lease are the people responsible for paying the rent. Usually, though, your landlord will want every adult occupant to sign.

Following the RulesWhen you sign a lease, you’re agreeing to follow the building’s rules. These can include everything from taking reasonable care of the home to not throwing loud parties or allowing unauthorized animals to share your unit with you. If someone lives in the unit without signing the lease, he or she technically wouldn’t be bound by those rules since -they didn’t formally agree to them. Having everyone sign the lease ensures that everyone in the home has had an opportunity to learn about the rules and has agreed to follow them.

Paying the BillLandlords like to have everyone sign the lease for the same reason that they request to check your credit report before your rental application is approved. When everyone signs the lease, everyone is responsible for paying the rent. Even if you have four roommates, your landlord could hold you responsible for the entire lease payment if yours is the only name on the lease. Having everyone on the lease protects the landlord by giving him or her the ability to turn to multiple people to ensure the rent gets paid. This protects you, if you would otherwise have been the only signer.

Co-signersSometimes, landlords want signatures from more than just the people who occupy a rented house or unit. A co-signer – sometimes called a guarantor – is a third party who signs the lease along with you even though he or she won’t be living there. A co-signer, often a parent, typically has additional credit and income that can help bolster your application. As with a roommate or co-tenant, if you don’t pay your rent, the landlord can collect from that co-signer. If your rental unit offers added perks for tenants with good credit, a co-signer might be one advantage to consider.

Get Your Free Experian Credit Report No Credit Card Required
About the Author
Solomon Poretsky has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. Poretsky holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from, Inc., an Experian company.   © 2014, Inc.  All rights reserved.

More like this