What is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is an individual who agrees to take responsibility for a tenant’s rent if the tenant is unable to pay. This person could be a family member or a close friend of the tenant, providing assurance to the landlord that they will not suffer financial loss if the tenant's circumstances change. Typically, a guarantor covers the full amount of the rent stated in the tenancy agreement, rather than just a portion if there are multiple tenants.

When You Might Need a Guarantor

A guarantor is particularly useful if a tenant anticipates potential difficulty in meeting their rental obligations during the tenancy period. For example, you might need a guarantor if you have just started a new job, have an uncertain income, are a student, or have a low income. Unexpected changes in circumstances can happen to anyone.

While landlords are not required to ask for a guarantor, they may do so if they have concerns about a tenant’s ability to consistently pay rent. Situations that might prompt a landlord to request a guarantor include a poor credit history or recent relocation to the UK from another country.

Who Can Be a Guarantor?

Typically, close friends, parents, relatives, or family members of tenants are considered ideal guarantors. However, a guarantor does not have to fit this profile. Landlords usually prefer guarantors who have a good credit history, reside in the UK, own property, and have a regular income or sufficient savings. It is less likely that retired individuals or those living abroad would be accepted as guarantors.

A landlord will conduct a credit check on any potential guarantor to ensure they have a reliable financial background.

What Does a Guarantee Cover?

A guarantor agreement outlines the responsibilities a guarantor will assume, primarily covering rent arrears but also potentially including costs for damage to the property. The agreement will specify which tenants are covered and the duration of the guarantor’s obligation, which is usually the length of the tenancy but can vary. There is no standard duration for a guarantor agreement.

Rights and Responsibilities of Guarantors

A guarantor is liable for any unpaid rent or property damage costs owed to the landlord during the period specified in the guarantor agreement. Before signing, a guarantor should receive copies of both the guarantor agreement and the tenancy agreement to understand their responsibilities fully. They should not be pressured or misled into signing the agreement.

If there are changes to the tenancy terms, such as a rent increase, the original guarantor agreement may become invalid unless it specifies otherwise or the guarantor agrees to the new terms.

Tenants should also be aware of their rights. More information can be found on our tenant advice page.

Claims against Guarantors

A landlord can make a claim against a guarantor if the tenant fails to pay rent or causes property damage and does not compensate the landlord. If the guarantor does not pay the amount owed, the landlord can seek a county court judgment (CCJ) against both the tenant and the guarantor.

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