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Tenant Guarantors

UK Guarantor

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What is a UK Guarantor?

A Guarantor is a person, in many cases an individual such as a family member that agrees to secure or ‘guarantee’ somebody’s tenancy agreement or contract. The Guarantor effectively takes on many (or all) of the commitments that the main party to the tenancy agreement is taking on. In other words, if you sign a tenancy agreement, the Guarantor will be responsible for fulfilling many of the terms of the agreement if you do not. What this means is, if you don’t pay your rent, the Guarantor will be required to pay it. Depending on the type of tenancy agreement, it can also mean that the Guarantor is liable for any other costs, such as damages and even the rent due from other occupants of the property who are on the tenancy.

Why are Guarantors required?

Guarantors are generally required when there is very little financial information available to the Landlord about the prospective tenant. In the UK, when a Landlord rents a property to someone it is normal for them to conduct a detailed check on that person before renting to them. This might include references from previous landlords and a detailed financial checknand so for the majority of students and recent graduates this is not possible as they will not yet have acquired a credit history. In the absence of this background information, which the landlord would typically use to make a decision about who might make a reliable tenant, they turn to a Guarantor to protect their position. This provides the landlord with an extra level of re-assurance – a ‘guarantee’ – that the terms of their tenancy agreement will be met and in particular the rent will be paid.

In some cases you may not require a Guarantor if you pay all or a significant proportion of your rent upfront. This is because by doing that you are removing a large element of the risk so there is nobody required to back up that risk. This is a common requirement for International students who in most cases will not have access to a UK Based Guarantor.

Being a Guarantor

Offering to be the guarantor is a substantial commitment. It is important to consider very carefully if you are prepared to take on this role. Keep in mind that you are effectively becoming liable for the rent on the property, as well as any other commitments you are required to make – damage for example.

As a further consideration be aware that some tenancy agreements are joint & several. Joint tenancies are more typical when students are sharing a house and it means that each tenant in the property has exactly the same rights and responsibilities. Complications can arise as a guarantor if one of the group does not pay their rent. Technically, if this individual and their guarantor does not pay then the remaining students and their guarantors are liable. It is therefore, important to be clear about what type of tenancy agreement arrangement you are committing to.


Who can be a Guarantor?


Some of the more typical requirements are:

The guarantor must be UK based. 
This is a standard requirement and is normally because the landlord wants to be able to properly assess the Guarantor’s financial credentials and to reduce the potential legal complications of making a claim against the Guarantor if deemed necessary.

The guarantor must be able to meet their obligations
It is often required that the Guarantor can demonstrate that they are able to meet the obligations they are taking on. From a landlord’s perspective there is little point in having a Guarantor that is unable to meet these obligations. This can mean that the Guarantor needs to own a property or prove that they earn a salary 3 times the amount of the annual rent a parent or family member because they are the most likely to accept the substantial financial commitments of being a rent guarantor.

Being nominated as the Guarantor on a tenancy is a considerable responsibility and it is particularly important to think about these commitments before agreeing to proceed.