Q: What is the difference between a cosigner and a guarantor?

A: While many people use the terms interchangeably, there is a difference between a cosigner and a guarantor. A cosigner is someone that actually signs the lease while a guarantor is someone who signs a guaranty. Both parties are financially liable for the term of the lease, but the difference is, only one has a right to occupy the property. When a person signs the lease as a cosigner, they are actually a tenant and have the right to occupy the property. On the other hand, a guarantor never signs the lease and only signs a separate guaranty whereby they agree they are financially liable for all obligations of the lease. This is important because you cannot serve a guarantor in an eviction action by posting and mailing the summons and complaint, because they do not live in the unit. Rather, you would have to file a separate civil action against them to pursue the amounts owed.
Mark B. Zinman, Williams, Zinman & Parham P.C.

Information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should always contact an attorney for legal advice and not rely on information published here.

By Mark B. Zinman, Attorney
Mark B. Zinman, Williams, Zinman & Parham P.C. (Zona Law Group)