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Throwback Thursday: What is a guarantor, why do you need one & what does it mean?

5 Nov 2015
A guarantor is someone who agrees to sign an agreement (most typically a lettings agreement) and in effect guarantees that they will undertake the full obligations under the tenancy agreement on the tenant’s behalf.  If for some reason the tenant cannot pay the rent, the guarantor will make the payments. What-is-a-guarantor This most commonly happens when a student needs to have a parent sign onto the lease as a guarantor so the Landlord feels comfortable that if the student cannot make the payments, the parents will. In the case of a lettings agreement a guarantor pays the landlord any losses, expenses or damages where the tenant fails to carry out their obligations under the lease. With residential lettings those people who have low credit scores may be asked by the landlord or estate agent for a guarantor. There are many reasons why a tenant may have a low credit score when credit checks are carried out. These include:
  • Never having borrowed money or used credit cards
  • No fixed address and/or not listed on the electoral role
  • Lived at current address less than 6 months
  • Lived abroad and returned to home country
  • Worked for less than 6 months
  • Student or job with low earnings
  • History of debts, late payments or Count Court Judgements (CCJs)
If a guarantor is required then they will be referenced, just like a prospective tenant. What happens if the gurantor does not pay? The guarantor is contractually bound to accept the legal liabilities of the tenant and will be sued if they don’t comply. In recent years there have been far more claims filed against guarantors and therefore assuming the role of a guarantor is a very serious one that should be considered very carefully. Who can be a guarantor? The guarantor would usually need to be a home owner with steady long-term employment if they are to meet the requirements of a good credit score to become a guarantor. Parents of young people or students are often asked to guarantee their children’s rent.  Although it seems more likely that a parent can trust and therefore guarantee their child, parents need to realise that many students live in communal settings with other students.  The parent who acts as a guarantor in this case is then guaranteeing all the residents of the property and not just their own child. How do you become a guarantor?
  • Complete a Guarantor’s Application form – this form is similar to the tenancy application. Credit searches and references will be checked
  • Sign a Guarantor’s Agreement
Reference checks will look into:
  • The individual’s identity
  • The property to be let
  • Guarantor’s personal details
  • Residency information
  • Legal history
  • Employment history
  • Accountants, solicitors, character referee
  • Declaration allowing credit search & signature
Acting as a guarantor is a very serious undertaking.   Think carefully before entering into long-term commitments. Do you need advice about acting as a guarantor?  Ask our award-winning lettings team by calling 020 8799 3371 or tweet your question @northfieldslive or ask via our Facebook page.

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