What's a guarantor? Definition and meaning

Being a student, not having a renting history or having previous problems with keeping up with payments are just some of the reasons a landlord may ask you to provide a guarantor before they’ll approve your tenancy. However, when asked to provide one, many tenants’ first thought is ‘what’s a guarantor’? Never fear, Roomlala is here to explain all you need to know.

What’s a guarantor?

The definition and meaning of a guarantor is someone, often a parent or close family member, who agrees to be responsible for covering your rent payments, and often damages that cost more than the deposit, if you can’t afford to pay for them yourself.

Landlords often ask for a guarantor if the tenant:

  • Is a student
  • Is low paid
  • Doesn’t have a good employment history
  • Doesn’t pass the vetting process

As these groups of people either don’t have much of a renting history or can’t provide enough evidence that they will be able to keep up with rent payments to incite confidence in the landlord, they are often asked to provide a guarantor to allow the landlord to feel confident that there isn’t a risk of losing money.

As of 1st June 2019 due to the Tenant Fees Act, landlords and agencies will no longer be allowed to charge tenants for any admin involved with processing a guarantor. You can read more about the Tenant Fees Act in our blog post here.

Who can be a guarantor?

Now you can answer the question ‘What’s a guarantor?’ as you know the definition and meaning’, you need to know the guarantor requirements that must be met before someone can act as a guarantor for a tenant. It is required/preferred for them to be:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Living in the UK
  • A home owner or an owner of assets
  • Working at a steady job with enough disposable income to be able to cover any rent arrears/damages for the tenant.

Please note: You must ask the person before you put them down as a guarantor as if you use any false information or forge signatures, you may be committing a crime. Furthermore, landlords/agencies will nearly always run checks on the proposed guarantor, so make sure they do in fact meet all of the guarantor requirements.

What to do if you don’t have someone who can be a guarantor?

If you don’t know anyone who meets the guarantor requirements and is willing to be your guarantor, there may be a few things you can do.

  • As a student, you can find out if there is a University Guarantor Scheme available at your university/college. If there is, you may be able to put your university/college down as your guarantor as long as you don’t owe them any money and your ample academic record is good enough.
  • As the requirement of living in the UK can often decide who can be a guarantor and who can’t, it often makes finding one difficult for international students. If this is the case for you, contact UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) to see if they can help.
  • Using a private guarantor is often an option for students and young professionals. For a fee, they will act as your guarantor, however, they are entitled to get their money back from you if they have to pay your landlord.
  • Negotiating with your landlord can also help solve the problem as some landlords will accept a larger deposit if the tenant can’t provide a guarantor.
  • Renting from a live-in landlord may mean you have to share a kitchen, bathroom and/or living room and they can ask you to leave with less notice but, as they are often more flexible, you normally don’t have to provide a guarantor based in the UK. Why not sign up to Roomlala and find your new live-in landlord today.