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Guarantor advice and tips

A guarantor is someone who has agreed to pay rent if the tenant falls into arrears. They are also usually responsible for any damage to the property caused by the tenant.

In the next few weeks students will begin signing up to tenancies in the private rented sector for the next academic year. Most will have to provide a guarantor. It’s important to understand what that involves before signing any agreement. 

4 May 2022
  • Guarantor

Know what you are responsible for

Read the guarantor agreement before you sign it. Make sure you understand what you are agreeing to. Before signing ask for

  • a copy of the guarantor agreement
  • a copy of the tenancy agreement

These documents will set out all the responsibilities that you agree to cover. 

Look out for any extra costs or charges you could become responsible for like 

  • rent arrears
  • late rent fees 
  • utility bills
  • rates
  • damage to the property 

Guarantor’s liability can extend beyond one tenant

Most student rental contracts say the tenants are “jointly and severally liable”. This means that each individual tenant is responsible for the actions of all the other tenants.

This joint and several liability extends to the guarantee. This means you can be held responsible if

  • any tenant owes rent
  • any tenant causes damage to a property

Ask the landlord to amend the guarantor agreement so it is clear that

  • the joint and several liability does not extend to your guarantee
  • you guarantee only extends to one named tenant

The landlord does not have to agree to this.

Length of a guarantor agreement

The guarantor agreement should say how long responsibility will last. Usually, a guarantee will last for as long as the tenant lives in the property.  This could be for 

  • a fixed term of 9 or 12 months or
  • several years if the tenant stays in the property after the agreement ends

A tenant might sign a new tenancy agreement when the original agreement ends. If the terms of the tenancy agreement change a lot, a guarantor could argue that the tenancy has ended and been replaced by a new one. This could mean that the guarantor agreement is now void.

Getting your money back

You can take Small Claims Court action against the tenants if you’ve had to pay the landlord because of their actions. You will need addresses for the other tenants and their guarantors to file court papers.

Understand the risks

Signing a guarantee means you have accepted responsibility for the tenant’s actions.  In the worst-case scenario, you could end up paying thousands of pounds to cover damage or unpaid rent.  

Make sure you understand the risks before taking on this commitment.

Our helpline staff can give advice if you are considering becoming a guarantor. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm