Renting in London can be a daunting prospect for anyone moving there from another country. From
a saturated market – private renters now account for 30% (2.7 million tenants) of all households in
London – to confusing rules, regulations and jargon, there’s a lot to get your head around.
Understanding guarantors for private renters
One term that will keep cropping up during your search is rent ‘guarantor’. This is a concept you must
understand if you are going to successfully secure a rental on your ideal home.
What is a UK guarantor?
When renting private accommodation in the UK, you will probably be asked to provide a rent
guarantor by the landlord or letting agent. A guarantor is someone that agrees to secure –
‘guarantee’ – your tenancy agreement or contract. Essentially, that person – typically a close relative
– is willing to pay your rent if you don’t pay it.
The guarantor effectively accepts many – or all – of the commitments set out in your tenancy
agreement. Once you sign the agreement, your guarantor will be responsible for fulfilling many of
the terms if you fail to.
The main obligation your guarantor takes on is rent. Therefore, if you fail to pay your rent, the
guarantor will be required to pay it. If your guarantor doesn’t pay, your landlord or letting agent can
take them to court. Depending on the terms of the tenancy agreement, the guarantor could also be
liable for other costs, such as damages.
Your landlord or letting agent might request to check that your guarantor is able to pay the rent in
the same way they’ve checked your ability to pay – usually by conducting a credit history check.
There is a legal requirement for a ‘guarantee agreement’ to be in writing, which defines the
guarantor’s legal obligations.
Why are guarantors required?
Guarantors are often required when there is limited information available to the landlord or letting
agent about a prospective tenant. In the UK, when a property is rented to someone it is normal for
the landlord or letting agent to conduct detailed financial checks and to request references from
previous landlords to assess their suitability.
In the absence of this background information, which the landlord or letting agent uses to make an
informed decision about the suitability of a prospective tenant, they rely on a guarantor to protect
their interests. This provides them with an extra level of reassurance – a ‘guarantee’ – that the terms
of the tenancy agreement will be met, and the rent will be paid.
Who can be a guarantor?
There are no firm rules governing who can be a guarantor; however, there are some common
- The guarantor must be based in the UK: the landlord or letting agent will want to be able to
properly assess the guarantor’s financial credentials and to reduce the legal complications of
making a potential claim against them.
- The guarantor must be able to meet their obligations: a guarantor is useless if they are
unable to meet the obligations set out in the tenancy agreement. Therefore, the guarantor
typically needs to own a property or prove that they earn a minimum amount of money.
- The guarantor does not have to be a parent or family member: the guarantor can be
anyone who is willing to take on the responsibility and meets the criteria required by the
landlord or letting agent.
Rent guarantor agencies
A rent guarantor agency can help you manage this crucial element of the renting process. Using their
services you can secure a UK based rent guarantor, offering protection against any unpaid rent or
damage incurred by you as part of a tenancy agreement.