A lease or rental agreement is a legal contract, and people under 18 cannot enter into a legally binding contract in the United States, according to Nolo. As a result, most landlords do not risk renting to someone under legal age without a co-signer, explains AskTheJudge.info.
There are two exceptions that allow minors to sign contracts. One exception is a minor who has been legally emancipated and is therefore deemed an adult, according to FreeAdvice. The other exception is that a minor can contract for essential items, such as medicine and food, and lodging is considered to be an essential item in some states.
A significant complication from a landlord's point of view is that a minor can void a contract after the fact in most states, according to LAWCHEK, making it risky for landlords to choose to rent to minors even though it is not illegal.