Who can be a guarantor for renting?

🕑 4 minute read

A guarantor is usually a family member over the age of 18, who is in a strong financial situation.

When a person agrees to become a guarantor, they will be responsible for paying the rent, if the tenant isn’t able to pay. They will also have to pay for any damage to the property. If a guarantor doesn’t cover outstanding rent or damage costs, they could be taken to court.

This is why picking a guarantor is a big decision. Many landlords will request a guarantor, for their peace of mind that the rent will be paid for the length of the contract, if you are not able to.

What is a guarantor and who can be one?

The guarantor is the person who ‘guarantees’ they will pay the rent. Guarantors have to be over 18, have a good credit history and often have to have a certain amount of savings or income.

They are usually a close relative or a friend who has the capacity to pay the landlord if for any reason you can’t.

They must be a UK-resident who has known you for at least two years and can vouch for your application.

What does a guarantor need to provide?

Guarantors will need to provide information to a landlord or letting agency to ensure they can take on the responsibility of being a guarantor:

  • Proof of identity, like a passport or UK driving licence.
  • There will be credit checks that they need to pass. This looks at their past borrowing and gives an indication of how financially stable they are.
  • Applicants will have to provide wage slips or proof of income if they are retired.

Guarantor responsibilities

Your guarantor will have to sign a contract with the letting agent or landlord. This will set out the terms of the guarantor and their responsibilities to the property.

Most contracts will state that a guarantor is liable to cover any unpaid rent for the length of the tenancy. They can also be liable for fines that are levied for non-payment of rent or damages.

Make sure both you and guarantor are fully aware of the terms of the contract, and they accept their responsibilities.

If you are unclear on any of the terms and conditions set out in the contract, please speak to the landlord or the letting agent before you sign. 

When might you be asked to provide a guarantor

There are lots of different situations where you might need to provide a guarantor.

  • Little credit history.
    If you’re a young adult with little or no borrowing history, there’s not much for a landlord to base a decision on.
  • Bad credit history.
    If you’ve defaulted on repayments, missed bills or had a County Court Judgement against you, it might be harder to rent without a guarantor.
  • Recently moved to the UK.
    To have a credit check, you’ll need to have lived in the country long enough to have a credit history. Without this, a landlord might require a guarantor before agreeing to rent to you.
  • Unemployed or low-income.
    If you have a lower income or receive Universal Credit, a landlord may require a guarantor in case you fall into financial difficulty. A guarantor may still be required in those circumstances.
  • You’re a first-time renter.
    If you are renting for the first time and have no references from previous landlords, you may need a guarantor. If your income is high, you may not be required to supply a guarantor.
  • You’re a student.
    In the majority of cases, if you’re a university student who’s renting a private property, you’ll need to provide a guarantor. This is usually a parent or legal guardian. 

How long does a guarantor agreement last?

It is always best to check the terms of the contract thoroughly, but most guarantor agreements end once the tenancy has ended. Your contract should state when the guarantor’s responsibilities will end.

If there is rent outstanding, the landlord can refuse to end the agreement.

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