Is a co-signer of anoriginal lease responsible for any defaulted payments under a renewal lease?

UPDATED: Dec 26, 2011

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Is a co-signer of anoriginal lease responsible for any defaulted payments under a renewal lease?

My friend could not get the apartment without a co-signer’s signature so I signed for him for a 2 year lease. After that, he renewed the lease for another term without notifying me. Now he is 7 months behind in rent. Management just called me telling me that I am his co-signer. Since he did not get my approval for another term am I responsible? Can they take actions against me? And what can I do to avoid future complications?

Asked on December 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are responsible for the unpaid rent as the co-signer under the initial lease that expired depends upon what the language states in the document you signed. You need to carefully read it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed you by the landlord and vice versa absent conflicting state law.

Most likely if the initial lease expired subject to renewal by the friend, you would not be obligated for the renwed period of time unless you agreed to it. Most importantly, I presume the initial lease that you signed had a set term that you agreed to co-sign for. If you did not sign the renewal which has an additional term not mentioned in the document you signed, I have a hard time seeing how you would be responsible for the new term. 

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