College students are accustomed to getting their parents' signatures on a variety of documents, such as applications for student aid. Once you're a legal adult, you don't have to get your parent to cosign for an apartment. If you have bad or no credit, a parent's signature may mean the difference between being approved or denied for an apartment, though.
Apartment Leasing and Income
When you apply to lease an apartment, the property management company or owner will want to know that you have sufficient income to cover your rent. In most cases, this means income that's at least three times your monthly rental payment. If you can't meet this threshold, you may need a parent to cosign before you can be approved.
The Role of Credit
Many apartment companies check tenants' credit before they approve a rental application. If you're in college, you might not have much credit, or you could have high debt in the form of student loans. A parent's good credit can help you gain access to an apartment lease, and it may be the only way you can get an apartment with bad or no credit.
Your Relationship With Your Parents
Although there's no legal requirement that your parents cosign your apartment lease, you'll need to examine the effect your living arrangements have on your relationship with your parents. If your parents are paying for college or housing, they may require that you make them cosigners on the lease or provide them with specific information about where you're living, so talk tot hem about their expectations before you sign any contract
In a few rare cases you might need your parents' permission to lease an apartment. If you start college before you turn 18, for example, you won't be able to lease an apartment on your own. Similarly, some schools require that students live on-campus unless they live with a parent or family member, and in such a case, your parent would not only need to cosign your apartment, but also live with you.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.