Real Estate Law
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Welcome to JA and thank you for your question. The lease should be in writing and the lease should set out a section on notice is to be provided to the tenants. Do you have a copy of the lease? The only way a renewal would be effective without the co-signer's signature would be if this was an automatic rule and there are issues with automatic renewals. The automatic rule language MUST be stated in the lease and be very clear. http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/automatic-renewal-clause/
Can you tell me what the NOTICE section of the lease states? If you were required to receive notice at your out of state address the renewal would not be proper if it was just sent to the apartment.