How to Remove a Cosigner
What happens if you need to remove a cosigner from a loan or lease? And why would you want a cosigner released?
November 3, 2021
A cosigner can help you qualify for a mortgage, lease a better apartment or buy the vehicle of your dreams. But what happens if you want to remove the cosigner?
The cosigner release process can be complex, so it’s important to come prepared. This article gets into how to remove a cosigner from a car title, a lease agreement or even a mortgage contract.
Why would you want to remove a cosigner?
Breakups are the most common reason why individuals want to remove a cosigner. If a couple cosigns on a new lease or a car loan, then breaks up, things can get… awkward, to say the least.
Other reasons to remove a cosigner could include:
Your credit has improved and you no longer need a cosigner
The cosigner no longer wants to be included on the agreement
You’re selling the vehicle/house and paying off the loan
The cosigner’s credit score is rapidly dropping and you don’t want your own credit to be affected
Can you remove a cosigner from a loan?
The answer depends on the specific loan agreement you signed. Some loan agreements have what’s called a “cosigner release” clause, which allows a cosigner to be removed if certain conditions are met.
For instance, an auto loan agreement may allow the cosigner to be released once a certain number of on-time payments have been made.
How to remove a cosigner
Read through your loan agreement and contact the lender for details. Ask if it’s possible to have a cosigner removed — and what steps are necessary to do so.
If the cosigner can be removed and you meet the requirements, you may simply need to file a cosigner release form. You will likely also be asked to supply income verification and/or have your credit report pulled.
If the loan agreement does not permit a cosigner to be removed, you have two other options: Refinancing, or paying off the loan.
Some lenders don’t allow cosigners to be removed. In this case, a solid option may be to refinance the loan. This essentially means you’ll take out a brand new loan, and the new bank will pay off the old loan.
To refinance, you must be able to qualify for the loan without a cosigner. That means your financial standing will need to have improved since the original loan was issued.
In other words, if you originally required a cosigner to get the loan, it could be difficult to qualify for a refinance without the cosigner — unless you have substantially more income, less debt or a better credit rating.
Once a loan has been paid off, all parties (including the cosigner) will be released from the loan agreement. If you have the savings set aside, paying off the loan in full may make sense.
Can a cosigner be removed from a mortgage?
What about larger agreements, like mortgages?
The process is largely the same as any other loan agreement. Some lenders allow cosigners to be removed (if you can qualify for the loan on your own), while others do not (in which case a refinance would be necessary).
The difference, of course, is in the size of the loan. With something like a car loan, lenders have more flexibility as the risk is lower. With a mortgage, the amount of money on the line is substantial, which can make lenders more resistant to removing a cosigner.
Qualifying for a mortgage without a cosigner
To remove a cosigner from a mortgage, you need to qualify for the loan amount on your own. This means having a good credit score and adequate income.
One of the main metrics that lenders look at is the debt to income ratio (DTI), which compares your monthly debt payments to your monthly income.
You may need to improve your DTI ratio before you can refinance or remove a cosigner. Paying off debt (to lower your monthly debt payments) is a great way to do just that.
If credit card debt is contributing to your monthly debt payments, consider using Tally†. Tally is a personal finance app that helps you pay off credit card debt more efficiently.
Can a cosigner be removed from a lease?
In the case of a lease for an apartment or home, the process is a bit different.
To remove a cosigner, you will need to qualify for the lease on your own. You’ll be asked to show proof of income (pay stubs, bank statements, etc.) that demonstrates you can pay the full rent. Many landlords require that tenants show income levels at approximately 3x the monthly rent.
Some landlords will allow a cosigner to be removed, often through a lease addendum. Essentially, the landlord will draft a modification to the original lease, which allows the cosigner to be released of responsibility (while keeping the other terms of the lease unchanged).
Other landlords will ask you to sign a new lease — in which case you'll need to apply for the apartment again. You may even have to pay an application fee, as the landlord will pull your credit report and other details.
How to remove a cosigner from a car title
Cosigners will typically be on the loan or lease agreement without exception. But for a vehicle, they may or may not be on the vehicle title itself. If their name is listed on the title, they are considered co-owners.
In this case, you may be wondering what rights does a cosigner have on a car, and how to remove their name from your car title.
If the cosigner is also a co-owner, they essentially have the same rights to the vehicle as you do. That means they technically own it and are legally entitled to use it.
To remove a co-owner from a car title, you will need to work with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state.
If the title lists your name AND/OR the other person’s name, you can go directly to the DMV and have the title transferred to your name only.
If the title lists your name AND the other person’s name, you will need that person’s permission in order to remove the name from the title.
In short, removing a cosigner is possible when:
You can qualify for the loan or lease without the help of the cosigner
The lender or landlord allows for the cosigner to be removed, or
The lease is re-done or the loan refinanced, without the cosigner’s name
Ultimately, it’s smart to simply contact the lender or landlord to see what’s possible and ask how to proceed.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. Based on your credit history, the APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% - 29.99% per year. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.