Understanding what 'a guarantor' means

What is a Guarantor?

A Guarantor is someone, usually a parent, who promises to meet the terms of the tenancy, such as paying rent, if the tenant can’t or won’t.

Why do you need a Guarantor?

When a Landlord agrees to accept a tenant into his or her property, they are taking a risk that the tenant will pay the rent for the duration of the tenancy period, look after the property, and move-out when agreed. They understandably want to takes steps to minimise the risk they are taking. For tenants who are in full-time employment, it is usual to perform credit referencing to check affordability. However, this is not suitable for some tenants, such as students, and in those cases, we ask for a Guarantor. When a landlord hands over the keys to their property, one of their most important assets, they are risking more than just loss of rent. A Guarantor is one way of a prospective tenant demonstrating their suitability and securing the property.

Do I have to be in employment?

Anyone who acts as a Guarantor must be in a position to fund the rent should the tenant fail to pay. This usually means that you should be in full-time employment. However, this is not always the case, so proof that you can fund the rent alternatively, for example via savings may be accepted, or alternatively, you may be asked to undergo credit referencing.

Why do I have to provide proof of address and ID?

We need to ensure that Guarantor Forms are genuine, and that we have correct contact details for you in the event that you are required to fulfil your duty as Guarantor.

 I do not live in the UK- can I still act as Guarantor?

No, unfortunately not, as you are not bound by UK law and court process. In the event that a tenant cannot provide a Guarantor, a landlord will usually request advanced rent for the period of the tenancy as an alternative.

Can I amend the Guarantor Form or change the terms of the agreement?

The Form and its contents are not subject to negotiation or change. We are happy to answer any queries you may have.

Am I responsible for just the named tenants’ rent?

The tenancy is a joint and several Assured Shorthold Agreement. A full guide is available on our website. What it means is that all of the tenants on the agreement are joint and severally liable for the whole property, and all of the rent. This means it is not possible to guarantee a specified share of the rent for an individual on that agreement, as they are responsible together for all of the rent. This is a standard type of agreement, and used by most agents and landlords.

What happens if a tenant does not pay their rent?

It is standard that initially a letter will be sent to that tenant as a reminder. Following on from that, contact will continue through telephone, email and post. If after repeated efforts, the rent remains in arrears, that tenant’s guarantor will be contacted and asked to pay. Should the rent remain outstanding, all of the tenants will be notified, as they are all jointly responsible.

If the rent remains in arrears, it is up to the individual landlord as to the course of action that they take. If the property is in arrears for over two months, they may decide to launch repossession proceedings via the courts. They could launch proceedings to recover any losses via the small claims courts. According to the terms of the tenancy, they can also deduct any outstanding arrears at the end of the tenancy from the tenancy deposit. In the majority of cases the Landlord will make efforts to recover rent from the individual concerned, however, it is within their rights to ask any or all of the tenants and their guarantors to pay an outstanding balance.

I have more questions about the tenancy, rent and deposits, what should I do?

Check out our website for our online guide to securing a property. There is information on tenancy agreements, repair responsibilities and deposit regulations, as well as info on retainer payments and standing orders, and downloadable forms and example tenancy agreement.

Where should I return paperwork to or direct any queries?

Within each of branches, we have people responsible for tenancies, experienced to help. The branch handling the tenancy you are party to will have sent you this letter, so contact them by telephone, post or email, and they would be pleased to assist. It helps greatly if you use the property address as a reference. Please note, we can only accept original signed or E-sign Guarantor Agreements, not scanned or faxed copies.