So, who can be a guarantor for renting? While a guarantor is usually a close relative or friend, they don’t have to be. To answer some questions and share the ins and outs, let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you can’t pay it for any particular reason.
If you don’t, or can’t, pay your landlord what you owe, they can ask your guarantor to pay instead. This also means they can be taken to court if they also cannot pay. An agreement will be signed that defines their responsibilities and when/what they’ll need to pay.
Why might you need a guarantor?
Some landlords and letting agents may ask private renters for a guarantor if:
- You’re renting with bad credit
- It’s your first time renting
- You’re a student renter
- Your income is low
- You’re unemployed
- You’ve recently moved to the UK
Who can be a guarantor for renting?
A guarantor is usually a close friend or relative of the tenant, for example a parent. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Individual guarantors can be any adult, providing they have a good credit history, stable income or savings over a certain amount.
When might a guarantor be rejected?
Landlords will likely check your guarantor’s credit score, as well as proof of their income and other financial information, such as savings.
A landlord might refuse a guarantor for a number of reasons, for example if they’re retired. They may also be rejected if they live abroad or don’t own a property. If a guarantor doesn’t live in the UK, it can be harder to take legal action against them, which is why a landlord may refuse them.
Are they only liable for unpaid rent?
Guarantors may be liable for more than unpaid rent, depending on the agreement, such as damage to the property. It’s vital that guarantors check the agreement carefully so they fully understand what they’re obligated to do.
Are things different in shared accommodation?
If you share accommodation with others, such as an HMO, under one tenancy agreement (i.e. a joint tenancy) the guarantee may apply to everyone’s rent, not just your own. This means your guarantor would have to pay if one, or more than one, tenant didn’t pay their rent.
This is another reason why it’s essential to check the guarantee agreement carefully. Once signed, the guarantor will be bound by the terms and conditions. It might be possible to negotiate the terms before it’s signed, but not after.
Of course, an HMO can also be a sole tenancy agreement; for example in the case of shared rooms in house, it’s usually one tenancy per room.
Understanding the guarantee agreement
It’s vital that both tenant and guarantor understand the following:
- What is the guarantor liable for? (e.g. is it just rent? Is it multiple tenants’ rent?)
- When their liability ends
- How long the guarantor agreement lasts
- What happens in the case of a joint tenancy
- The terms and conditions
- Is the agreement open-ended?
- This could mean that the guarantor is agreeing to rent increases, or that their liability could extend beyond the fixed period
What if you can’t get a guarantor?
There are options if you can’t get a guarantor, such as:
- Using a guarantor service
- Offering to pay your landlord more rent in advance
- Reaching out to charities or your local council for rent deposit, bond or guarantee schemes
- Students should speak to their university or college to see if they can provide funding, support, or even just advice
Need to check your credit score?
Your credit rating will be extremely important, not just for renting but also for other reasons, such as if you need to take any loans out in future. Checking your credit score is the first step to improving it. It’s free to do. You could also produce a report with specific recommendations to help improve it. Get started below!
Last Updated: October 13th, 2021