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How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent an Apartment?

Moving out of your parent’s place is a big step towards adulthood. But how old do you have to be to rent an apartment? While most people would automatically say 18 years old – this isn’t always the case. As first-time renters, you should understand that there are limitations when it comes to rental leases for tenants who are under the legal age. Today, we guide you through everything you need to know about renting an apartment, even if you are a student or below the legal age. 

How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent an Apartment? 

As experienced local property managers in Baltimore, Bay Property Management Group is well-versed in the legal requirements such as the ages at which tenants can rent an apartment. In the United States, once you reach the age of 18, you’re considered an adult. Since renting an apartment involves a legal contract, this is the most common age you need to be to rent an apartment.

However, it is not the same everywhere as there are different laws from different states. In Alabama and Nebraska, you’re not considered an adult until you’re 19. And in Mississippi, you have to wait until you’re 21. 

Why does this matter?

Signing a lease to rent an apartment involves significant legal and financial responsibilities, and you need to be considered an adult to do that on your own. In addition to signing a lease and being responsible for the monthly rent, tenants must also be able to set up utility accounts and other home services in their name. 

For instance, let’s say you’re under 18 and a landlord allowed you to rent an apartment – but you failed to pay your rent. Since you’re below 18, in the eyes of the law, your landlord could do nothing about it. This is a risk most landlords and property managers face when they allow a tenant to rent an apartment below the legal adult age. 

NOTE: That doesn’t mean you cannot rent an apartment at all when you’re below 18. 

Can You Rent an Apartment at 16 or 17? 

The short answer is YES. However, renting an apartment at 16 or 17 is more challenging than for those over the age of 18 because of legal limitations. One example that will allow you to rent an apartment by the age of 16 or 17 is through:  

Legal Age of Emancipation 

This is a legal process or a set of conditions under which a minor is granted the legal status of an adult. This means if you’re emancipated, you get to do a lot of adult things before you turn 18.  

Minors can be emancipated for different reasons, such as: 

  •  Wanting to make their own decisions without their parents or guardians. 
  • Getting married (in some places, if you get married, you’re automatically considered an adult). 
  • Joining the military. 
  • Being able to take care of themselves financially (this includes signing contracts like apartment leases) 

How Can Students Rent an Apartment?

Let’s say you’re currently a student and you want to rent an apartment. Here are some tips for you: 

  • Get a Co-signer: To be considered renting an apartment if you’re a student, you will need to get a co-signer. If for some reason you can’t pay the rent, (we hope this will not happen,) your co-signer is there to cover for you.  

This person could be a parent, another family member, or a really good friend who trusts you. It is best if your co-signer is of legal age. 

Truth: Landlords feel more comfortable renting to students when there’s a co-signer involved. 

  • Offer to Pay a Bigger Deposit: Sometimes it helps to offer to pay more money upfront as a deposit. It’s like putting down extra cash to show the landlord that you’re serious about taking care of their property. This can reassure them, considering this is your first time renting an apartment and it is important for you to prove that you’re a responsible tenant. 
  • Find a Roommate: Having a roommate means you can share the costs of things like rent and bills, which can make it more affordable for both of you. Also, landlords might prefer renting to a couple or a group of students rather than just one person. 

How to Prepare for Renting Your First Apartment 

Let’s say you’re ready to rent your first apartment. Here are some tips to make sure you’re totally prepared: 

  1. Set Your Budget: Think about how much money you can spend on rent each month. Remember, there’s more to living on your own than just rent. You have to cover utilities, groceries, and other expenses. 
  2. Start Saving: Before moving in, you’ll likely need to pay a deposit plus the first month’s rent. This is common for rental properties. Saving up will make it easier when the time comes. 
  3. List What You Need: You need to decide what’s important to you in an apartment. This is because not all rental properties have the same amenities. 
  4. Research, research, and research: You need to look at different places to get an idea of what’s available. You can research online. This can help you be aware of the differences between each rental property.
  5. Know/Check Your Credit: Some landlords check credit scores to see if you’re likely to pay rent on time. Let’s say you’re below 18. This tip might not apply to you, but it’s good to be aware of for the future. 
  6. Plan the Move: When you’re going to rent an apartment, of course, you’ll have things with you. You need to figure out how you’ll move your belongings. 

Note: Don’t forget to consider the additional costs associated with moving your stuff. 

How Bay Property Management Group Can Help 

We hope after the tips mentioned above, you can secure that apartment regardless of whether you’re a minor or of legal age. Whether you’re a landlord or investor, we understand the demands that come with managing multiple rental properties.  

Our team at Bay Property Management Group are experts in removing that burden off your shoulders. Our property managers are equipped with the expertise, the tools, and the local knowledge to effectively manage your rental properties. Whether it is about rent collection, direct tenant communication, or maintaining the condition of your investments, we’re here to let you rest and focus on your time with your family. 

Whether you’re a landlord, an investor, or just starting, Bay Property Management Group is here to help.