Renting Laws: Underage Tenants and Parental Consent

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There are many laws pertaining to rental agreements. Laws put into motion to protect both the renter and the landlord. One main area of rental laws pertains to underage tenants. These rules may vary from state to state, but generally underage tenants refer to anyone under the age of 18. Some states view underage tenants as anyone under the age of 17.

Who can enter into a rental agreement

Anyone can enter into a rental agreement, despite the age of the person. However, underage renters are not legally bound to the agreement. The law grants the option to the minor as to rather he/she wants to honor the agreement, or avoid payment responsibility.

What most landlords require

Most landlords will rent to an underage person, but will also protect themselves. This is where parental consent plays a part. By requiring an underage renter to provide a parent or guarding as a co-signer, the landlord can legally hold the co-signer to the lease, if the underage renter chooses not to pay or to stay for the required time period.

Rights that Underage Renters Have

Without a co-signer, underage renters have no rights. It is quite difficult to find a landlord that would rent to the underage. But, if permission for renting is granted with a parental consent, than the minor would have the same rights as any adult. It should all be lined out in the rental agreement. The rental agreement should outline time period that apartment is required to remain rented, amount of monthly rent, and deposit amount and return policies. While it is unlikely that the underage person has rented previously,it is always a good idea to have the parent read over the agreement, just to make sure all areas have been covered. Other rights that underage renters have with a co-signer include no increases in monthly rent for the duration of lease, and also the right to a 30 day in case of non-payment of rent.

What to know before entering into a rental agreement as a co-signer

While you may want the best for your child, and no matter how much faith you have in your child, once they are on their own, they could change in a heatbeat. While your responsible child goes to work and school daily, once he finds himself free of rules and punishment, there could be trouble. Parties, a job that becomes less of a priority, and the lack of knowlege pertaining to “real world” rules can all put the co-signer on the hook for big bucks. If the rent goes unpaid, the landlord won’t go after your child, he will take you to court. And, as an adult, you will be responsible for your child. However, if your child pays rent on time, doesn’t damage the unit, and is responsible, once he or she turns 18, it is likely that a new lease can be drawn up. The new lease would not require a co-signer, allowing your child to become an adult.

8 Responses to “Renting Laws: Underage Tenants and Parental Consent”

  1. September 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm, Sarina Capri Gilmore said:

    my daugther was 17 and cosigned a lease without my consent- the apartments were very rude- but stated that they would remove her- they didn't- now her credit is messed up and she owes $7000. what do I need to do to dispute this?


    • December 08, 2016 at 1:40 pm, Deric said:

      > Let her fix her own problem. In the grand scheme of life, $7000 is a cheap lesson to learn. If you fix it for her, she'll probably make a much larger mistake later. By all means, answer questions she has about next steps, but don't tell her what to do or jump in and 'find her questions' for her.


  2. November 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm, Arlene Rubenstein said:

    My daughter, age 19, lives with me 2 months out of the year. The rest of the time she is out of state in college. Now that I am renewing my lease, they want an application FROM HER with a $42 fee. I do not understand this. She is still my dependent and does not have a job. Why does she need to make application? We have been here 8 years now and last year, when she was 18, she never had to make an application then. Thank you.


  3. December 05, 2016 at 6:47 pm, Denelle said:

    What if you have an adult (not a parent or legal gardian) that would be living with you?


  4. January 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm, Tyler said:

    I'm 21 in 6 months, and they're saying i need a co-signer to rent from them. Why would they make that rule? I'm obviously an adult, and no "parental" co-signer is willing to take the potential heartship, as they shouldn't. It's a redicilois stipulation.


  5. February 09, 2017 at 1:46 pm, Angel said:

    i am 20 and rent an apartment with my husband who is 22. I still cant find Washington state laws about being able to drink in my apartment. ive been told a lot that as long as my husband who is of drinking age is on the lease then I can technically drink in my own home and its compliant with the law. again, I cant find this anywhere. please help!


  6. February 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm, Amy Bonney said:

    My Landlord wants to enter my apartment to show potential tenants and I will not be here, My son is a minor, Can I tell her that I don't feel comfortable with this. And she cannot enter, even though it's in the lease?


  7. March 30, 2019 at 5:05 pm, Zaynab said:

    I am 12 but i want plan ahead, and when i am 14 i can get a
    job, so i will be saving to get an apartment as soon as possible. Are there specific apartments or any apartments
    that will take underage tenants?


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