Many states have an age cap that allows you to enter a legally binding agreement—including a rental lease. Anybody below 18 years is usually viewed as a minor, and landlords can refuse to let you in as a tenant. That’s due to the obvious reason–enforcing a contract against a minor if they breach contract terms, such as default on payment or property damage may be difficult.
Besides, at 17, you’ve probably started building your credit score, which may still be lower than the required minimum for renting an apartment. However, situations arise that may require you to separate from adults and live alone. These may include a legal emancipation or a call to serve in the military. Here are tips you can use to rent an apartment if you find yourself in a situation that requires you to separate from parents or guardians to live alone.
Get a Co-signer
At 17, many landlords and property owners consider you a high-risk tenant in multiple ways. First, you’re not of age to sign a legal contract. But most importantly, you’ve probably not established a good credit score or secured a steady income to rent an apartment. In that case, getting a co-signer such as your parent or guardian is your best alternative. Such people will be responsible for rent payment and property damage repairs on your behalf. Many apartments in college towns allow minors to rent through a co-signer, preferably a parent.
Pass Basic Screening and Background Checks
It’s possible to start renting from as young as 16 through a co-signer if you’re a college student or have legal emancipation. In that case, just as your older counterparts, your potential landlord may request to see your rental history report or a credit score if you have one.
Ensure the rental report is free from previous evictions or criminal or disorderly offenses. And while a good credit score shows that you’re a responsible person who meets their financial obligations, lack of one may not be an issue to some landlords when renting as a minor. You’re still building your credit, and many landlords will allow you in if you can demonstrate the ability to pay. It’s different from an adult looking to rent a house with bad credit.
Partner with a Senior
Look for an adult with a good credit score and partner with them. Many college towns have apartments with that arrangement where students share a house. Just ensure you find reliable roommates to share a house with. Avoid sharing a room with many people. If you can afford half the rent, then one partner is enough. Otherwise, three people in one apartment is not a bad idea if you agree on timely rent payment.
Can You Get an Apartment at 18?
Most states primarily allow adults to enter into legal agreements. Anybody who’s attained 18 years is considered an adult who can make sound decisions and take responsibility for any of their actions. State regulations allow you to rent an apartment at 18, but landlords also have the right to decline your quest for tenancy if you can’t meet the requirements. These may include a bad credit score, a poor rental history report, or not meeting the minimum age requirement.