Our non-emancipated 17 year old son has signed a lease with another friend. The friend's parent co-signed and ours will pay that parent directly. It appears that our son is simply listed as a recognized tenant. He will not live in the dwelling until he is 18. However, all of this was done without our consent. That being said, what is our financial obligation/risk if our son should default on his rent either to the lease or the other parent?
Your question involves whether a 17 year old can legally enter a binding contract, or if such a contract could be enforceable against the minor and/or his parents if it is breached. Part of the answer would be ascertaining exactly what your son has signed by carefully reading the lease and all of its provisions. In addition to being a minor, if he is simply recognized as a tenant and not a lessee, he may not have any contractual obligation to pay on the lease.
The correct answer depends on the lease. You should consult with a contract attorney who can review the lease and determine your son's obligations, if any, under the lease as well as what it might mean in terms of liability for you as a parent.
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