It’s very common for landlords and letting agents to ask you to provide a UK-based guarantor when signing a tenancy agreement. A guarantor is someone who agrees to cover your rent and other housing costs if you don’t pay them. It’s usually a parent or guardian, family member or close friend.

Most landlords insist that your guarantor is based in the UK. They may also need your guarantor to pass a credit check or provide proof of income. Landlords may set these conditions to maximise the chance of recovering any unpaid rent or charges.

Guarantor agreements:

Your guarantor may need to sign an agreement that confirms their responsibilities. A guarantor agreement is a legally binding document. It is important for your guarantor to check what they are agreeing to.

If you’re signing a joint tenancy agreement with a group of friends, then it’s important for your guarantor to check what they could be liable for. Joint tenancy agreements create a legal situation in which any tenant can be liable for any of the costs associated with renting the property. This is known as joint and several liability. This means if one tenant doesn’t pay their share of the rent, the landlord can ask the remaining tenants to cover this cost.

Some guarantor agreements ask the guarantor to take on this joint and several liability. This can lead to a legal situation where your guarantor could potentially be liable for your housemate’s unpaid rent.

If your landlord asks your guarantor to agree liability to rent and charges for all tenants, you may want to negotiate this before they sign the agreement. Ask the landlord if they will change the  guarantor agreement so that your guarantor is only liable for your portion of the rent and other charges.

Options if you don’t have a UK guarantor

Manchester Student Homes:

We recommend trying to find accommodation through Manchester Student Homes. This is the University run housing service for students. The properties advertised on their website are accredited to a University approved set of standards. They also have an International Friendly Standard for some of their landlords which means they won’t ask you for a guarantor. You can use this as a filter when searching for available properties on their website.

Negotiating with landlords and letting agents:

If you can’t provide a UK-based guarantor then it’s likely you’ll be asked to pay a certain amount of rent up front. You may be asked for 6 or 12 months up front.

Before signing the tenancy agreement and making any payment, consider negotiating the amount. It is possible to ask the landlord if they are willing to compromise and accept a lower amount of rent up front. Make sure you put your request in writing.

Try to appeal to the landlord on compassionate grounds. Explain any difficulties in finding a UK guarantor and the reasons it is not possible to pay all the rent up front. State the new amount you are suggesting. We recommend offering 2-3 months’ rent upfront as a starting point for negotiation. However, some landlords may insist on a minimum of termly or half yearly payments.

Guarantor Services:

The University does not currently provide a guarantor service. There are private companies that offer a UK based guarantor services. These companies will act as your guarantor in exchange for a fee.

We cannot recommend any in particular company. If you would like to explore this option, you should be able to find these by doing an internet search for UK guarantor companies.  If you decide to use a guarantor service we recommend you check the terms and conditions of the agreement carefully. Once you have signed up to the service, you may only be able to change your mind in limited circumstances. Contact us if you have any concerns.

Financial Support:

If you are currently studying at the University and you are struggling financially, you may be able to get some financial support. If paying your rent up front would put you in hardship but you can’t find an alternative, consider applying to the University’s Living Cost Support Fund.

How we can help:

The Advice Service can offer help and support with a range of housing related issues. Get in touch with us if you have any questions on guarantors.

We can help with:

  • Checking guarantor agreements
  • Negotiating with your landlord
  • Applying to the Living Cost Support Fund
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