Background check for co-signers?

10 Replies

Interested in getting opinions from other Cozy users in particular. We’re using Cozy which is handling the background check, credit report, and application process. I have a potential renter who is moving in from out of state. They are a young couple with no credit history but their parents will co-sign.

1) would you go along with that arrangement?

2) would you have the parents do a background check / credit check as if they were going to be living there?

Also - these people are wanting to rent the house sight unseen bc they’re coming from out of state and won’t be here until they move here, which makes me nervous. Any thoughts on that?

2) would you have the parents do a background check / credit check as if they were going to be living there?

Yes.

Also - these people are wanting to rent the house sight unseen bc they’re coming from out of state and won’t be here until they move here, which makes me nervous. Any thoughts on that?


This is generally regarded as a huge red flag.

If you do decide to go forward, I would definitely background check the co-signers and maybe get first, last, and deposit from them too. Also, be sure to check these people out on facebook and things like that. You can get a good look into people's lives that way. You may be able to see if they are legit or are scammers. Otherwise, if you have other applicants it might be time to move on. I've rarely had good luck with younger people that have no history to look at.

I get lots of messages now asking me for a video tour and people are wanting to rent my units sight unseen. While I understand their dilemma I never do it because I never know if they will actually like the unit or the location. I have been wondering what others thoughts are on this myself because sometimes I feel like I may be missing out on a good tenant.

As far as a back ground check on co signers, I would definitely do that. It is typically young people that need cosigners because they don't have credit. I also don't take cosigners because if the person is old enough to rent a place then they don't need a co signer. If it's their parents are offering to co sign then I feel like the parents would support them financially if they got into a bind so I don't feel like they need to co sign. Even without the parents cosigning you still may get a phone call from the parents (which drives me mad) asking you to do this, or do that for their kids. Bringing a co signer into the situation just means one more person to talk to that isn't even going to live in the house. 

Under no circumstances should you rent it out sight un-seen.

It's better to have vacancy than a nightmare tenant. I have recently shown apartments to international students via Google Hangouts (and actually enjoyed it) but they at least got to "see" the property before we will move forward. 

Yes, treat their co-signer like an applicant because they are. They need to qualify for the apartment in order to guarantee the people you'll be renting to. 

I'm just going through this for the first time (accepting an applicant with a co-signer).  Primary applicant is accepting a position with the city fire department but the offer is conditional. He has finished schooling for paramedic and has maintained a job in the same field.  Their parents will be co-signing.  I am having them fill out an application which will include the application fee, background check and credit check.  They will be listed as a tenant on the lease along with the other two applicants.

As far as renting to someone sight unseen, I've moved out of state and relied on renting the unit unseen.  We are also renting to this couple unseen, although I got to meet the parents who did a walk thru prior to the application.  Based off phone conversations, social media, and judge of character, I believe I will have no problem.  There is additional risk on both sides.  I think you have to trust your gut and take even more caution when any red flag is presented.  You might also consider (if allowed in your arwa) charging additional security deposit.

Of course you need to do it! But there is no need to rent your property to the tenants like them. You can wait for another potential tenants other than stand a nightmare trouble in the future.

Sight unseen doesn't have to be a huge red flag. You can cover your bases with a sight-unseen addendum to the lease that basically says the tenant(s) did not see house before signing lease and are taking possession as is, or something to that effect (not a lawyer). 

I understand why it is a red flag to some folks, but if you have proper documentation then it doesn't have to be a big deal. For people that are renting from out of state, it's sometimes not practical to see a house before leasing. 

@Jon Mason

Always check credit and back ground check on tenants and those who co- sign. You gotta run their credit/background check to make sure they are creditworthy.

Leasing to someone unseen not always red flag. If they have verifiable circumstances that make sense to you. Also it’s not like you leasing someone in 1990’s. It’s 2019, technology like google maps, FaceTime and others almost eliminating the need of time and money spent visiting out of state properties.