What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent on behalf of a tenant if the tenant fails to pay their rent, or who can be held liable for damage caused by the tenant.
Why would a landlord ask for a guarantor?
Some landlords might ask for a tenant to provide a guarantor before offering a tenancy as it provides them with additional security that they will receive the rent.
Landlords might ask for a guarantor as a matter of course or if reference suggests that the applicant:
- Has no housing history (first tenancy)
- Has a poor history of paying rent
- Has a poor credit history
Landlords can ask for a guarantor in addition to, or instead of, other securities such a deposit or rent in advance.
Who can be a guarantor?
A guarantor is usually a family member or close friend but can be anyone willing to agree to support the tenant and pay any defaulted rent. A landlord might ask for a guarantor to provide proof that they are able to pay rent on behalf of the tenant and might ask for proof of income or ask if the guarantor is a homeowner. If the landlord is not satisfied with a guarantor, they might reject them, and you may be asked to find another guarantor.
What would a guarantor be expected to do?
As above the guarantor might be asked to provide information such as proof of income or proof that they are a homeowner, in addition they might be asked to provide a credit check.
Once the landlord is happy a guarantor would agree to sign a ‘Deed of guarantee’ , it is important that you read and understand this document as it is binding.
In particular, make sure you understand:
- how long the Guarantee lasts.
- what happens to the Guarantee if the tenancy becomes periodic.
- what happens if there are any changes to the terms of the tenancy (i.e. rent increase)
- whether the tenancy is joint.
If the tenancy is Joint, and therefore the tenant is jointly and severally liable, the guarantee would also be jointly and severally liable.
After signing the Guarantee and Tenancy Agreement the guarantor should expect to get a copy of both documents.
What does a Guarantee cover?
A Guarantee can cover both loss of rent and damage to the property. The details of the Guarantee should be clearly stated in the deed of Guarantee and its important to read and understand this before signing.
How can a landlord make a claim from the Guarantor?
In the first instance a landlord would normally approach the Guarantor and ask for a payment when money is due. If the tenant and guarantor don’t pay a landlord can apply for a County Court Judgement (CCJ) to claim the money.
See a copy of the full guide for guarantors including a example of Deed of guarantee here