What is a guarantor?
As well as signing a tenancy agreement, often landlords and managing agents will ask that you provide them with the contact details of someone you know who is a UK homeowner.
This person is acting as your guarantor and is responsible for any unpaid rent or payments to the landlord for damage to the property, should you not be able to pay. Many landlords and agents will not allow a tenancy to proceed until all prospective tenants have provided an acceptable guarantor.
What does a guarantor do?
There are two ways to become a guarantor:
On the tenancy agreement there may be a clause at the bottom that sets out the liability of the guarantor, which the guarantor will sign.
There may be a separate form for the guarantor to sign - a 'special deed of guarantee'. In which case, a copy of the tenancy agreement must be supplied to the guarantor so they know what they are guaranteeing.
What if you don't have a guarantor?
The landlord may ask you to pay a large portion of rent up front, sometimes this may be the rent for the full length of the tenancy.
If you are unable to provide a UK guarantor you may wish to consider using the services of a company which will act as a guarantor for you. You can gain access to a wide variety of guarantor schemes through a general search on the internet for 'UK guarantor schemes'. There will be a charge for using their services, which will vary across the different schemes so it may be good to shop around. We would recommend you look at a couple of the different schemes, check out feedback and select the one which best meets your needs.
Whilst not all landlords accept students using a guarantor scheme, more and more landlords are willing to do so. To find properties where the landlord has indicated they are willing to accept students who use the services of a guarantor scheme, once you have done a property search click onto the 'Accept Guarantor Insurance' filter.
Additionally, some landlords do not require a guarantor for their properties. To find properties where you do not need to provide a guarantor, once you have done a property search click onto the 'No Guarantor Required' filter.
Joint tenancies and guarantors
Each tenant is liable for the rent for the whole property and condition of the whole property. Each tenant will have a guarantor, so in theory, each of the guarantors could also be jointly liable for money owed to the landlord, should any of the tenants or other guarantors not pay.
Unfortunately, some guarantors may not realise this and think they are only liable for the one tenant that they know and are guaranteeing, however, in a joint tenancy this is not always the case. If you are asked to provide a guarantor when signing a joint tenancy, you should check with the landlord/agent before signing, who your guarantors liability is for (just you or all tenants).
Need further support on guarantors, please contact our Housing Advice Service.