What are my guarantor’s responsibilities?
Has your landlord asked you to provide a guarantor? Or have you already moved into a property and aren't sure what your guarantor’s responsibilities are? Maybe you’re not sure what a guarantor is or why you may need one? In this article we'll answer any questions you may have.
What is a guarantor?
As the name suggests a guarantor is a person who guarantees something. Finance companies often insist on them. As do private landlords in certain circumstances. In this case the guarantor promises to pay your rent if you're unable to.
Who can I ask to be my guarantor?
In theory you can ask anyone. In reality of course, you need to ask someone you trust. And who trusts you. Most guarantors are close family members such as a parent. Though some tenants will ask their friends to act as their guarantor.
The person you choose will have to sign a legally binding contract. They must agree to pay the rent if you're unable to do so. Your guarantor will also be subject to a credit check and will probably have to provide references. You can see that being a guarantor is more than simply a matter of agreeing to do so. The person you ask will have to jump through some hoops on your behalf.
However, you should think seriously about who you ask. Being a guarantor is a big responsibility. Your guarantor may have to step in and pay the rent because you can't. When this happens, it can often cause friction. When asking someone to be your guarantor you should make sure they are fully aware of their responsibilities. And the financial implications of them agreeing to be a guarantor.
What are my guarantor's responsibilities?
As we mentioned earlier your guarantor must pay your rent if you're unable to do so. But that's not all. In rental properties guarantors are responsible for much more than just the rent.
All renters sign a tenancy agreement. That contract outlines your responsibilities as a tenant. You'll be financially responsible for any damages, cleaning costs etc. Your guarantor assumes those responsibilities too. If you cause damage to the property and don't pay the costs your guarantor will have to. This is something many people don't realise when they agree to be a guarantor.
There is an added complication if you're a joint tenant. In a student house for example. Your guarantor could have to pay for damage caused by your joint-tenants.
This is because a guarantor is legally responsible for all those named on a joint tenancy agreement. Something which can come as a nasty surprise to people who haven't closely read the guarantor agreement they signed.
Why you may be asked for a guarantor?
Some landlords and letting agents ask all their tenants to provide a guarantor. Though this usually applies to students in shared accommodation. Most private landlords will only ask for a guarantor if they believe you may have problems paying the rent. This may also be the case if it's the first time you have rented a property or are claiming benefits .
What happens if I don't pay the rent?
Your guarantor must pay the rent if you fall into arrears. The landlord could choose to pursue the claim through the courts. This could of course cause financial hardship for your guarantor and severe embarrassment for yourself. Again, this is why you must make sure your guarantor is aware of their financial responsibilities should they agree to stand surety for you.
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