A potential renter's father living outside WA state agreed to be co-signer. His credit check is fine. He won't be in Seattle to physically to sign the rental agreement. What procedures do we need to follow to have the right signatures on the right forms? Must we sign the same hard copy he does? Or can he sign a copy, fax it in, we sign the faxed copy and have him mail the actual hard copy and then resign it again at a later date after it arrives? Must the copy be notarized as well? Thank you in advance for your answer.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Many contracts contain a clause that states that it is OK if it is signed in counterparts and a fax copy is as valid as a "wet ink" copy. Ask if he can sign by fax (or by scan) and see what the response is from the other side. I do this routinely with both court orders and contracts; so long as everyone is provided with a copy with all the signature pages attached, it is a valid agreement and enforceable against the party to be charged.
The only reason why anybody's signature would need to be notarized would be if this was a lease for longer than one year. If that is the case then every signer's signature would need to be notarized. He can have a notary witness his signature out of state and add their jurat (that is the notary stamp and the statutory language).
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Usually a counterpart or copy is fine if the contract has a provision allowing counterparts. A notarized version is OK but not necessary for enforcement. More important are the conditions that the co-signer would be responsible as well as a jurisdictional clause so you don't have to sue out of state.
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