What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is a third party, such as a parent or close relative, who agrees to pay your rent if you don’t pay it. Your landlord can ultimately take legal action to recover any unpaid rent from your guarantor.
Your landlord may want to check that your guarantor is able to pay the rent: for example, by carrying out a credit check.
There is a legal requirement for a guarantee agreement to be in writing. The agreement sets out the guarantor’s legal obligations.
Does the guarantor have to live in the UK?
Landlords will usually want a guarantor who lives in the UK, as it’s easier for them to take legal action against a UK resident.
This may be problem for you if you’re an international student. If you can’t get a UK-based guarantor, you may be asked to pay more rent in advance.
Guarantors of tenants who live in shared accommodation
If you share accommodation with other tenants under one tenancy agreement, that is, a joint tenancy, it’s common for the guarantee to apply to all of the rent, and not just your share.
It’s best to check the guarantee agreement carefully and ask the landlord or agent any questions if something is unclear. As soon as the agreement is signed, the guarantor is bound by its terms and conditions.
It may be possible to negotiate with the landlord for a variation to a guarantee agreement. This would ensure that the guarantor’s liability was confined to only your rent payments or any damage caused by you.
Checking the guarantee agreement
It’s always best to check any guarantee agreement carefully so that the guarantor knows how and when their liability ends. It may be possible to negotiate a variation to the guarantee agreement so that the guarantor’s liability is limited. For example, by specifying the start and end dates the agreement applies to, such as the length of the original fixed term only.