What Is A Guarantor For Student Accommodation In The UK

What Is A Guarantor For Student Accommodation In The UK?

Applying to university is an exciting time. As you prepare to start on this new chapter, finding suitable student accommodation is one of the first steps. When applying for student accommodation in the UK, most landlords require tenants to provide a guarantor before signing a rental contract. This is especially common for student housing. 

But what is a guarantor and why do you need one? Let’s break it down.

What Is A Guarantor For Student Accommodation?

A guarantor is someone who agrees to be legally and financially responsible for paying your rent if you’re unable to. By providing a guarantor, landlords have the security that the rent will be paid even if the tenant runs into financial difficulty. 

This provides them with peace of mind when renting to students who may not have a proven credit or rental history.

What are the obligations of a guarantor?

When someone agrees to act as your guarantor for a rental, they are taking on some significant obligations. Firstly, the guarantor must sign the tenancy agreement along with the tenant. This makes them equally bound to the contractual terms, including paying rent on time each month.

If the tenant fails to pay rent for any reason, the landlord can pursue the guarantor for the outstanding payments. This remains the case even if the tenant and guarantor’s relationship breaks down. Guarantors cannot remove themselves from the contract without the landlord’s consent.

In some cases, the guarantor may also be responsible for covering any damages to the property caused by the tenant. They can be legally pursued for compensation by the landlord. As you can see, acting as a guarantor is a big commitment and risk.

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Who can be a guarantor for student accommodation?

When looking for a suitable guarantor, you need someone financially stable who you trust. Ideally, a parent or close relative is the first choice for many students. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a family member.

Some other options include:

  • A close family friend your parents trust
  • Another relative like an aunt, uncle, or grandparent
  • Your academic tutor or mentor
  • Someone else willing to accept the obligations on your behalf

The guarantor must be a UK homeowner aged over 21. They’ll need to pass credit checks and affordability assessments too. 

Most landlords will not accept guarantors who are unable to prove they can cover the rent if needed.

Documents required by a guarantor

As part of the application process, a guarantor needs to provide several documents to the landlord. This is so they can be thoroughly vetted to determine suitability. Common documents required include:

  • Photo ID (like a passport or driver’s license)
  • Proof of current UK address
  • Bank statements covering the last 3 months
  • Proof of homeownership or renting
  • Credit check consent form
  • Contact details for character references

By assessing these documents, the landlord can verify the guarantor’s identity, financial situation, credit score and character references. This provides the necessary reassurance that they can fulfil their obligations if required.

Why do students need a guarantor for accommodation?

Finding affordable yet comfortable student accommodation is a priority but landlords are naturally wary of the risks involved. By requiring a guarantor, landlords secure a safety net that the rent will be paid on time. 

Some key reasons why guarantors are standard for student rentals and accommodation are:

  • Most students have limited rental histories so landlords need extra security.
  • Students usually rely on part-time work or parents for income which can be unsteady.
  • The risk of falling behind on rent may be higher for students adjusting to independent living.
  • Damages are more likely with younger tenants renting in groups.
  • Having a guarantor provides accountability so rent is prioritised.
  • It ensures landlords have someone to pursue if the tenancy runs into difficulty.

Do international students need a UK guarantor for accommodation?

For international students travelling to the UK, sorting out accommodation is even more challenging. 

Being new to the country, they do not have an established local rental or credit history. This means landlords will nearly always require an eligible UK guarantor before renting to students from abroad.

Unfortunately, it is often not possible to use an overseas guarantor. Even parents living abroad cannot properly fulfil their obligations from outside the UK. To be accepted, the guarantor must reside in the UK and meet all the eligibility criteria.

Who can be a guarantor for an international student?

Finding a suitable UK-based guarantor is tricky for international students unfamiliar with life in Britain. If you don’t have relatives or family friends in the country, there are a few options:

  1. Ask your university for help connecting with local guarantor services or landlords open to international students.
  2. Check if your home country has a UK Guarantor Scheme to assist students.
  3. Reach out to expat communities that could help you identify potential guarantors.
  4. Consider specialist guarantor agencies that provide guarantors for a fee.
  5. Ask if your academic department or tutor can act as the guarantor.

Look into student accommodation that provides a guarantee scheme for international tenants.

Persevering with the search is important as most landlords will not compromise on having a UK guarantor.

What if I can’t find a guarantor?

Despite your best efforts, you may struggle to find a suitable guarantor willing to act on your behalf. If so, don’t panic! 

Below are some options to explore so you can still access student accommodation:

  • Consider university halls of residence – they often don’t require guarantors for student tenancies.
  • Look for private halls that offer a nominated guarantor scheme for international students.
  • Explain your situation to landlords – some may be willing to waive guarantor requirements with a larger deposit.
  • Search for properties that only require a guarantor when issues arise with rent payments.
  • Find housemates in a similar position to apply together without needing guarantors.
  • Check out companies like Housing Hand that act as guarantors for students for a small fee.
  • Ask your university for assistance – they want to ensure students are housed.

While trickier to arrange, having a guarantor should not make student accommodation impossible. Get creative and you’ll find landlords or providers able to offer solutions. The key is being proactive and not afraid to ask for help when you need it.

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