Tenants: your guide to rental guarantors
You’ve got a part-time job, you’ve got the deposit and you’ve got a pretty good credit history, so is there any need to worry when it comes to renting a property? Perhaps.
Every tenant has unique circumstances and every private landlord takes a different attitude to risk, which could lead to some renters being asked to supply a guarantor.
What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent on your behalf if you can’t pay it yourself. Usually a guarantor will be a family member – a parent or older relative – and they will need to demonstrate they have the financial means to step in and pay any debts owed to the landlord. In some cases, a landlord may accept a company or employer as a guarantor.
Who may be asked to provide a guarantor?
Not every tenant will be asked to provide a guarantor but there are some characteristics that make it more likely. These include:
- tenants who have a poor or no credit history in the UK
- students or tenants renting for the first time
- renters who are unemployed, have a low income or are working the gig/freelance economy
- tenants who have moved to the UK from overseas
Finding the right guarantor
Many landlords will need guarantors to meet a few minimum requirements, so this should influence who you choose to ask. Commonly favoured characteristics include:
- they should live in the UK
- they should be in employment and not be retired
- they should own their own property
- they should be able to pass credit reference checks
It’s a legal responsibility
Becoming a guarantor is more than doing a family member or friend a favour. There is a legal obligation for a guarantee agreement to be set out in writing, outlining what is expected of the guarantor. This may extend to covering repair/replacement costs if the property is damaged, so you should both read the small print. It’s also worth noting that if your guarantor can’t pay your rent, your landlord can take them – as well as you – to court.
Undergraduates are commonly requested to provide a guarantor but in the case of international students, they may not have anyone suitable to ask. It is possible to pay a fee to a company, who will become your professional guarantor. It’s a growing trend, with service provider Housing Hand seeing a 12% rise in the number of domestic students using its services between November 2019 and November 2020. It’s also good to know that rental guarantor services can also be used by professionals, and not just students.
If you’d like further details about rental guarantors, Citizens Advice provide some useful information, and you can contact us for support during your rental property application process.
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