According to, the average monthly apartment rent, as of August 11, 2016, is $1,088 for a studio apartment, $1,030 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,275 for a two-bedroom apartment, and $1,611 for a three-bedroom apartment. Due to these high rates and because some renters do not have the credit to apply for a lease on their own, some renters are forced to seek alternatives, like getting a cosigner.

So, what exactly does cosigning a lease mean? As a cosigner, can you break a lease? Are there exceptions or consequences for breaking a lease as a cosigner?

What Does Cosigning a Lease Mean?

When the primary renter does not have sufficient income or has little to no credit, a cosigner is usually required to rent an apartment. When you cosign a lease, you are basically telling the landlord that if the primary renter cannot pay the rent, you will be financially responsible. So you really should know the primary renter very well because if they default on the rental payments, you will be required to accept liability.

Can a Cosigner Break a Lease?

As a general rule, once you have cosigned a lease, the majority of landlords will not allow you to take your name off the lease. When you initially sign the lease along with the primary renter, you should assume that you are now responsible for the rental payments in the event the primary renter defaults on the lease. It is for this reason that it is then your task to ensure that the primary renter makes the rental payments and makes them on time.

Are There Exceptions When a Lease Can Be Broken?

There are instances when a landlord may allow a cosigner to get out of a lease, but these instances are rare. The most common of these instances is that the landlord finds you are no longer needed on the lease. Maybe the primary renter now has a decent income or has built up their credit. In this case, the landlord may just create a new lease without you as a cosigner.

Are There Any Consequences for Breaking a Lease?

If you have made the decision to default on a lease that you cosigned, you should know that there are consequences for doing so. Most importantly, the landlord has the legal right to try to collect the rental payment from you. If you don't pay these payments, they then have the legal right to take you to court. When taking you to court, they will attempt to collect payments through various means including general funds, selling your assets, or garnishing your wages. If you are taken to court for defaulting on a lease, your credit will be affected, and if you try to rent an apartment somewhere else, you may be denied.

The bottom line here is that under normal circumstances, you can't get out of a cosigned lease. However, like with most other things, there are exceptions to this rule. For more information, talk to a real-estate law firm, such as Garcia, Kinsey & Villarreal, P.L.C.