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What is a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay a tenant’s rent if the tenant is unable to. They could be a family member or close friend of the tenant, and offer an assurance to the landlord that they will not be out of pocket if there is a change in circumstances for the tenant. A guarantor will usually cover the full amount of rent in the tenancy agreement, and not just one person’s share if there are multiple tenants.

When you might need a guarantor

A guarantor is useful if a tenant or co-tenants think there may be a possibility that they may not be able to meet their obligations during the period of a tenancy. For example, you may have recently started a new job, or your income may be uncertain, or you are a student or on a low income. Anyone can experience a sudden change of circumstances.

A landlord does not have to ask for a guarantor, but they may do so if they feel a tenant’s ability to cover the rent could be compromised. You might be asked for a guarantor if you have a poor credit history or have recently moved to the UK from overseas.

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Who can be a guarantor?

Close friends, parents, relatives or family members of tenants are usually considered good guarantors, but they do not have to be. Landlords will look for people who have good credit histories, live in the UK, own property and have a regular income or savings above a certain level. It is unlikely that people who are retired or live abroad would be accepted as guarantors.

A landlord will carry out a credit check on a potential guarantor to establish if they have a good credit history.    

What does a guarantee cover?

A guarantor agreement will include the liabilities a guarantor will cover – rent arrears mainly, but also the cost of damage to the property. It will set out in writing who the guarantee agreement applies to – usually all the named tenants in a tenancy agreement. The document will state how long the agreement with the guarantor will last – usually the length of the tenancy but not necessarily. There is no rule about how long a guarantor agreement should be.

Rights and responsibilities of guarantors

A guarantor is responsible for paying any money owed to the landlord arising from unpaid rent or damage to the property, during the length of time covered by the guarantor agreement.

A guarantor should be given copies of both the guarantor agreement and the tenancy agreement before they sign them. A guarantor should not be forced, pressured or misled into signing a guarantor agreement. If the terms of a tenancy change, such as an increase in rent, this would normally invalidate the guarantor agreement, unless otherwise specified or your guarantor agrees to the change.

Tenants should also know what their rights are. Find out more on our tenants advice page. 

Claims against guarantors

A landlord can make a claim against a guarantor if rent has not been paid by the tenant or tenants named in the guarantor agreement. They can also ask the guarantor to pay if damage has been caused to the property by the tenants and the tenants have not compensated the landlord.

If the guarantor does not pay, the landlord can apply for a county court judgement (CCJ) against the tenant and the guarantor.

Contact your local haart branch for help with your next move

We hope this guide to rental guarantors is useful. If you are looking for your next rental property start your search today with haart.