No No on a Co-Sign

Barbara has a college student son. He wants to move into an apartment off campus. Barbara would have to co-sign the lease, and he plans to move in with roommates. Should Barbara co-sign the lease for him?

QUESTION: Barbara in Grand Rapids has a son who’s a college student. He wants to move into an apartment off campus next year. Barbara would have to co-sign the lease with him, and he plans to move in with roommates. Should Barbara co-sign the lease for him?

ANSWER: I would refuse to do it. I don’t co-sign, but let me tell you what I did do. My son faced exactly the same situation this year. He moved out of the dorm and into a house with six guys. I’m paying for his rent since it’s a part of college. I’m paying for his college.

In a sense, the question is would I be willing to sign the lease? Yes, if it wasn’t with five other college students as my partners. I don’t want that for sure. I smell liability, liability, liability. I told my son to call the landlord, and he offers to pay his portion a year in advance. Then you sign the lease.

I’m not signing a lease with these guys. Then if they don’t pay, I’m not on the hook for the whole thing, which is what happens in college roommate situations.