Does a tenant have the right to have a co-signer on their lease?

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Does a tenant have the right to have a co-signer on their lease?

I am a business owner who has recently purchased a retail location. The lease for the location has expired and I am attempting to renegotiate the lease. Unfortunately my credit score is not the greatest, and I’ve had my parents co-sign on leases in the past with no problems. The current owner of the building that I am trying to lease in, is refusing to accept a co-signer or the lease in a separate name all together. Is this legal?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal. No one is required by law to rent his or her property--people become landlords of their own free and voluntary choice. Since it is voluntary on their part, landlords are free to put terms and conditions on their rentals, and to decide who may rent, under what circumstances (so long as they don't engage in illegal discrimination--e.g. no discrimination on the basis of race). A landlord is free to say no cosignors, just as landlords are free to always require cosignors (e.g. many college area landlords will not rent to a college student with a parent or guardian cosigning). Similarly, a landlord can refuse to lease in a separate name.


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