Renting in London Without a Guarantor
Finding a new home is difficult enough at the best of times – but doing it in a new country amplifies the stress levels. Having navigated an overwhelming number of rental opportunities and head-scratching technicalities you’re subject to comprehensive checks, only for the outcome to hinge on your ability to find a guarantor: someone – typically a close relative – who agrees to secure your tenancy agreement or contract by paying any rent arrears on your behalf if you fall behind with payments or are unable to meet your obligations.
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Master all the steps needed to rent a home in London – including how to secure a property, understanding deposits, and checking the tenancy agreement before signing. Updated May 2023.
Do you always need to provide a guarantor?
However, there’s a common misconception in the renting process: that you always need to provide a guarantor. Unless you’re a student – who are almost always asked to supply this financial safety net – you’ll be relieved to hear that a landlord or letting agent will only request that you provide one if they suspect that you might struggle to maintain the rental payments outlined in the tenancy agreement. This brings two non-negotiable elements of the rental process into sharp focus: credit checks and referencing – with the pressure on to pass.
A crucial part of the application process involves checking that you have sufficient finances to pay the rent and agree to look after the property – this typically includes a reference from a previous landlord or letting agent verifying that you’re trustworthy and a credit check to assess your financial health. For example, if you have a poor credit history or low credit score, have a fluctuating employment history and income, or are receiving housing benefits, you will almost certainly receive a request to find a guarantor.
When moving from overseas you inevitably won’t have any credit history in the UK – and your credit histories from abroad will not be taken into account. What they will take into consideration is your future income in the UK – if your gross yearly income is more than 30 times the monthly rent you should not be asked for a guarantor.
Paying rent upfront
There is a way you can allay any concerns the landlord or letting agent may have about your suitability – although it might be beyond your financial means: pay all the rent upfront before you move in to cover the length of the tenancy agreement. Landlords are typically happy to agree to this arrangement as they benefit from a nice lump-sum payment and don’t have to worry about the prospect of rent arrears. What’s more, if the property you have your heart set on is particularly desirable with plenty of demand, paying upfront could sway the landlord’s decision in your favour.
Don’t let the prospect of finding a guarantor cause you undue stress during the rental process. If you pass the referencing and – crucially – the credit check processes, you will avoid this requirement – and even if you fail you might be able to pay the rent upfront.