What Exactly Is a Guarantor and How to Get One

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Renting a property in the UK can be complicated, with requirements becoming stricter by the day. Providing a rent guarantor might be one of those requirements. Our guide addresses what a guarantor is, who can be your guarantor, and how to get one.

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What Is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is a third party (individual or company) responsible for making your payments if you fail to do so. The guarantor’s responsibility is to cover all your missed costs, including rent payments and any other expenses that you cannot pay.

A landlord can require a guarantor’s signature on a tenancy agreement as an added form of security to minimise the risk of losing money from their rented property.

The guarantor meaning presupposes that the landlord will receive the money owed. If you don’t pay the rent, the landlord will ask the guarantor to pay. If a guarantor is also unable to pay, the landlord can pursue legal action against them.

DID YOU KNOW? In the four years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, rent prices in the UK soared, and landlords began to implement additional security measures—especially guarantor requirements, which rose by 36% in four years.

Do You Need a Guarantor to Rent?

Many landlords require that new tenants have a guarantor, depending on the tenant’s credit history, current employment status, and income bracket. Guarantors are typically needed when there’s little or no information about the tenant—especially with students or young people who have recently entered the workforce. A landlord may also require a guarantor’s signature if you’re unemployed, a low-income worker, or have a poor credit history. (The same applies to non-UK residents.)

But you won’t need a guarantor for rent if you’re employed and have a steady income, good credit history, and references from previous landlords. Tenant referencing is a common way to determine if someone is a suitable tenant.

DID YOU KNOW? Landlords can get a Legal Expenses & Rent Guarantee insurance policy that covers rent if tenants fall in arrears or for legal costs of eviction, etc.

Key Takeaways

A guarantor is a third party responsible for making payments when the tenant fails to do so.
Landlords often require a guarantor’s signature on a tenancy agreement to minimise risk. 
UK residents aged 18 or above with a good credit history and steady income can become guarantors.
Guarantors must provide proof of identity and income and agree to credit checks.
Parents, relatives, and close friends are the most common choices for guarantors.

Who Can Be a Guarantor?

To become a guarantor for renting, you must:

  • Be a UK resident: You must be a UK resident because the landlord needs to assess your financial situation and be able to pursue legal action if necessary.
  • Be over 18 and under 75: Anyone over 18 and under 75 who has the ability to pay rent is a viable candidate; you don’t need to be a parent or family member.
  • Have a good credit history: To be a guarantor for rent in the UK, you must have a good credit history—reassuring landlords that you’re a responsible payer.
  • Be able to pay your rent: The guarantor needs to have an income sufficient to cover their own expenses and enough left over to pay your rent if you can’t manage the payments.

A prospective guarantor must meet all of these conditions. If they don’t, landlords will not view them as suitable candidates, and their applications may be rejected.

DID YOU KNOW? Guarantors are not responsible for maintaining a property during the tenancy. Regular maintenance costs are the landlord’s responsibility, which they can do individually or via a letting agent.

What Does a Guarantor Need to Provide in the UK?

Since a guarantor is just as liable as a tenant, they must provide documentation proving their identity and outlining their financial situation.

The guarantor needs to provide the following.

  • Proof of identity: Passport or a UK driving licence
  • Proof of income: Bank statement, wage slips, or pension income
  • Credit report (optional): Some landlords may require a copy of the guarantor’s credit report.

These are the primary documents one needs to provide if being a guarantor for rent is what they aim to do. It’s also important to remember that the landlord and letting agent are free to conduct additional checks.

DID YOU KNOW? Some landlords and letting agencies require that the guarantor’s yearly income be equal to at least 50 monthly rent payments. So if rent is £500, the guarantor’s income must be at least £25,000 per year.

What Checks Are Done on a Guarantor?

Landlords have the right to conduct the same checks on the guarantor as on the prospective tenant. Checks that are typically undertaken on guarantors include:

  • Credit checks
  • A CCJ check
  • History of loan payments
  • Employer checks
  • Bank statements
  • Savings accounts
  • Right to Rent checks
  • Ownership of property in the UK

Once all of the listed checks are conducted and satisfy the landlord’s criteria, they will accept the guarantor and move on to signing a guarantor’s agreement. But landlords must always ask the guarantor’s permission before conducting any checks.

So what do you need to be a guarantor? Considering all the above requirements, it’s clear that landlords and agents expect a guarantor to be more financially stable than the tenant. And sometimes, the guarantor checks are more extensive than those for tenants.

DID YOU KNOW? The Tenants Fee Act 2019 prohibits landlords from asking for more than five weeks’ rent as a security deposit. Even if you want to pay a higher security deposit, you’re legally forbidden.

Does a Guarantor Have to Be a Homeowner?

Depending on the landlord, one doesn’t need to be a homeowner to be accepted as a guarantor. Many landlords and letting agencies, however, have started listing ‘homeownership in the UK’ as a requirement for guarantors. And even if this is not a requirement imposed by the landlord, homeownership can significantly improve your chances of being approved as a guarantor. Fortunately, most landlords and agencies are open to negotiation when choosing guarantors.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2018, the homeownership rate in the UK stood at 65.5%. But young homeowners are scarceless than 12% of homeowners are 35 or younger.

How to Get a Guarantor

Considering all the above conditions a guarantor must meet, perhaps you’re wondering how to obtain a guarantor. Before asking someone to be a guarantor, consider the following recommendations.

  1. Explain the shared accommodation agreement to the guarantor.
  2. Tell the guarantor they must sign a guarantor’s agreement and agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Make sure that the guarantor can fulfil their obligations and liability.
  4. Seek rent advice if you or the guarantor are unclear about any aspect of the agreement.

So what is a guarantor in relation to letting? Our guide has addressed who is eligible to become a guarantor and their obligations. You can now proceed with asking someone to become a guarantor for renting a property.

Choose someone you know and trust. The person you choose must be reliable and financially stable. The most common choices for guarantors are parents, close relatives, or a friend willing to help you. If you have trouble finding a suitable candidate for a guarantor, you can turn to one of the rent guarantor companies operating in the UK.

So with the question of what is a guarantor for rent, you can also select a company to take on this role. These companies are the go-to choice for international students who need accommodation in the UK and those who receive benefits.

DID YOU KNOW? In 80% of cases, the guarantor is a relative of the tenant. Parents, family members, and friends are ‘physical guarantors’ in real estate.

Conclusion

Being a guarantor is a responsible role. So asking someone to take on this responsibility for you is no small matter. Our guide should help you understand what a guarantor is and who can be a guarantor for renting a property so that you can begin thinking about who to ask to be your guarantor.

FAQ

Who can qualify as a guarantor?

Anyone can act as a guarantor as long as they are over 18 years old, a UK resident, and have a good credit history. The most common guarantor choices are parents, relatives, or close friends.

What is a guarantor liable for?

The guarantor is liable for making rent payments if the tenant fails to do so. They are also accountable for covering any costs incurred by property damage that the tenant cannot pay.

Can a guarantor be a parent?

Parents are the most obvious choice for guarantors. The familial relation doesn’t matter as long as the guarantor and tenant have separate bank accounts.

How much do I need to earn to be a guarantor?

What is a guarantor in relation to their income? You must have a decent income to become a guarantor. Although there’s no set figure, landlords typically want the guarantor’s monthly income to be three times the rent or their yearly income to equal rent x 50.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Alex is an IT wizz gone SEO gone fire-juggler. We’re not even joking. When he isn’t researching why one personal loan is better than the other and which piece of hardware you should buy next, he’s rollerblading or selling homes (because he does that, too, the smarty-pants).

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