There are many teenagers who are eager to start life on their own. Having your own apartment provides a sense of freedom and independence that a lot of teens crave. But due to laws surrounding minors that prevent them from doing a lot of things, many are wondering if minors renting an apartment is possible.
A minor can rent an apartment, but most landlords want to protect themselves since minors aren’t legally bound to the payment agreement. They’re likely to rent the place out on the condition that their parents/guardians co-sign to make the adult responsible should the minor stop paying their rent.
In this article, I will be going over in detail how a minor can rent an apartment and how the co-signer situation works. Read on to learn more!
Minors Can Rent an Apartment
It might be surprising to some that you technically don’t have to wait until age 18 to live on your own (or with a roommate). Different states have their own “age at which a child can be left home alone,” and at the age of 16, a teen can leave home as they please without the parent’s consent.
Let’s take a friendly scenario, for example, a 17-year-old graduated high school and started working full-time, has a great relationship with his parents but wants the privacy of an apartment, and so he decided to look at listings. He finds an apartment that suits him and begins the process of renting it.
The landlord sees proof of income and sees that the teen is responsible and will be able to meet the required monthly payments. However, because a minor can pretty much bail out of not paying and face no legal repercussions, the landlord needs a co-signer, and so the teen gets his parents to do just that.
In this situation, the teen can live by himself as any legal adult would. He goes to work and comes home every day, does all the chores, buys the food, and pays the bills.
Why a Co-Signer Is Needed
Technically a landlord can leave out the requirement of having a co-signer, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one.
When someone isn’t paying their rent, a landlord is legally allowed to take action since the agreements state this. The problem with a minor renting an apartment on their own, as previously stated, is that they are protected from legal agreements, which is not something the vast majority of landlords will like.
On the flip side, it can also be bad for the minor because, without an adult co-signer, the minor has no rights. The landlord can increase rent at will (even if the agreement states that this won’t be the case) and breach other agreements. All around, the law isn’t on either side, and so it is best that the minor get a co-signer for their own protection.
What Happens When the Minor Turns 18?
If the minor who is still renting the apartment turns 18, it is still up to the landlord if the co-signer can be removed or not. Generally, a landlord will still want the parents on board for financial safety. Even if the young adult is able to easily pay his rent every month currently, you never know what might happen.
It is not unheard of for a landlord to require a co-signer regardless of age. It’s safe to say the majority of landlords would prefer that people have a co-signer, and the ones who don’t enforce that rule want a larger pool of tenants to select from.
However, landlords are people too, and if the young adult wants to negotiate to remove their co-signer, so they aren’t spreading a financial burden to them, they may be granted it.
Two Tips for Minors Living Alone
Although these are tips that can also apply to anyone new to living alone, it can be especially jarring to start living alone after living with parents/guardians all of your life. I put together useful tips on how you can make the most out of living alone and avoid financial difficulties.
If you are paying all of the bills and buying all of the food, it is critical to learn how to budget your money. So many young adults fall into the trap of “I have my own money!” and go crazy with spending. Unfortunately, many of these people quickly realize just how fast money can disappear.
If you get paid the same amount every month, you’ll want to budget. You know how much is being taken away with bills and so you must subtract that from your monthly income. The rest, such as gas, food, and entertainment, will have to be something you decide on how much you’d like to spend. I recommend downloading a budgeting app, such as EveryDollar, to track your spending.
You are going to be more incentivized to be careful with spending once you see you have a limited amount in each area. For example, instead of ordering a meal for $20 on Doordash 3 times a week, you might decide to cook something or heat something up in the microwave. Or you might skip that $5 Starbucks in the morning and make your own coffee for mere pennies.
You’d be quite surprised at how much money you’ll be able to save by spending carefully. Being frugal does not equal being a “cheapskate”. It is about sensible spending, so you do have money for the nice things you truly want.
If you have your eyes set on something, see how you can obtain it but don’t blindly purchase expensive things – too many young adults fall into financial traps, as I previously stated. If you’d like to learn more, Budgeting 101 is helpful.
Having your own room is one thing, but having your own apartment opens up a whole host of responsibilities you have to be mindful of. All of this will be on you:
- Washing dishes
- Cleaning the stove
- Sorting through junk mail
- Taking out the trash
- Cleaning the shower
- Cleaning the toilet
- Throwing out old food left in the fridge
Keeping up on household chores will provide a better living situation and is a good mood booster. Additionally, it gives you a healthy routine. Coming home to a tidy house that you made happen is one of the best feelings, and you will likely feel obligated to keep it up.
I am not saying that you have to come home after a 10-12 shift and start vigorously cleaning. Just try to get to things when you can (reasonably). Weekends or on your days off are an excellent time to think about what you can do around the apartment since you will be energized and have plenty of time out of the day to be productive and do the fun things you have planned.
Since there is nobody to tell you to do anything, it can help to create a schedule of your weekly chores to ensure that they are all getting done. It is all too easy to fall behind and have a pile of dirty dishes or a carpet full of debris.
Here is a helpful video explaining things you can do every day to keep your apartment clean:
A responsible minor can rent an apartment as long as they have a trusted co-signer. Living alone is a rewarding experience that comes with a lot of responsibility that can be like entering into a whole different world for a young person. It also prepares one for adulthood since they are essentially living in the real world without adult rights.
I hope this has answered your lingering questions, and the tips above can help you in some way in the future.