What is a guarantor?
As well as signing a tenancy agreement, often landlords and managing agents will ask that a student provides them with the contact details of someone they know who is a UK homeowner.
This person will be acting as a guarantor and is responsible for any unpaid rent or payments to the landlord for damage to the property, should the tenant 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.
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 a student is asked to provide a guarantor when signing a joint tenancy, you should check with the landlord/agent before signing, who the guarantors liability is for (the individual tenant or all tenants).