Navigating the rental market in London can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to the city. With private renters now accounting for 30% (2.7 million tenants) of all households in London, securing a rental property involves understanding several key concepts, one of which is “guarantors for private renters.” A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you fail to do so, providing landlords with extra assurance. This practice is especially common for students, first-time renters, and those new to the UK.

Understanding how guarantors for private renters work is crucial to securing your ideal home in such a competitive market. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about guarantors, including their responsibilities, legal requirements, and alternatives if you can’t provide one. Whether you’re moving to London for the first time or looking for a new place, having the right information about guarantors can make the process smoother and more efficient. Let’s delve into the details of how guarantors can impact your renting experience and how to navigate this aspect of the London rental market successfully.

What is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you can’t. This person, often a parent or close relative, signs a legal agreement. The guarantor ensures your landlord gets paid, even if you fail to pay.

Why You Might Need a Guarantor

Students and First-Time Renters

If you’re a student or renting for the first time, landlords may want extra security. They might ask for a guarantor to ensure rent payments.

Low Income or Benefits Recipients

People with low income or on benefits may also need a guarantor. Landlords want to ensure you can cover the rent.

Newcomers to the UK

New to the UK? Landlords might ask for a guarantor since they can’t check your rental history. It’s a common practice to protect their interests.

Lack of Previous Landlord References

If you can’t provide references from previous landlords, a guarantor can help. It reassures the landlord about your reliability.

Poor Credit History or Bankruptcies

A bad credit history or past bankruptcies can make landlords nervous. A guarantor provides them with the confidence that rent will be paid.

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Responsibilities of a Guarantor

Rent Payment Obligations

The main job of a guarantor is to pay the rent if you can’t. This ensures the landlord receives their money on time.

Liability for Property Damage

Guarantors might also cover costs for property damage. It’s important they know what they’re signing up for.

Credit Checks and Financial Verification

Landlords usually check a guarantor’s credit and finances. They need to be sure the guarantor can afford the rent if needed.

Legal Requirements for Guarantors

Written Guarantee Agreement

A guarantee agreement must be in writing. This document outlines the guarantor’s legal responsibilities.

Ensuring Guarantor’s Understanding

It’s vital that the guarantor understands their obligations. They should read both the tenancy and guarantee agreements carefully.

Who Can Be a Guarantor?

UK Residency Requirements

Landlords often prefer UK-based guarantors. It’s easier for them to take legal action if necessary.

Financial Stability Criteria

Guarantors need to prove they can meet their obligations. This usually means owning property or having a stable income.

Relationship to the Tenant

While often a family member, a guarantor can be anyone who meets the criteria. Friends or even employers can sometimes act as guarantors.

Joint Tenancies and Guarantor Liability

Joint and Several Liability Explained

In joint tenancies, all tenants are responsible for the rent. This means a guarantor might have to cover the entire rent, not just one person’s share.

Negotiating Limited Liability

It’s possible to negotiate with the landlord. You might limit the guarantor’s liability to just your share of the rent.

Duration and Termination of Guarantor Liability

Open-Ended Agreements

Many guarantee agreements are open-ended. This means the guarantor’s liability continues until the tenancy legally ends.

Ending the Guarantor Agreement

To end a guarantor agreement, it must be clearly stated in the document. The agreement should specify the start and end dates.

Impact of Changes in Tenancy Agreement

Changes in the tenancy, like rent increases, might end the guarantor’s liability. Unless the agreement says it applies to future changes, the guarantor’s responsibility ends with the original terms.

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Dealing with Unfair Terms in Guarantor Agreements

Identifying Unfair Terms

Some terms might be unfair if they create an imbalance. For example, if they heavily favor the landlord over the guarantor.

Legal Recourse and Reporting

If you think a term is unfair, you can ask the court to decide. Unfair terms can be reported to Trading Standards for further guidance.

Alternatives to Having a Guarantor

Paying More Rent in Advance

If you can’t find a guarantor, you might pay more rent upfront. This can reassure landlords about your financial stability.

Using Rent Guarantor Agencies

Rent guarantor agencies can also help. They provide UK-based guarantors, offering protection against unpaid rent or damages.

How Can Help offers expert assistance for those navigating the complex London rental market. Whether you need advice on guarantors for private renters or help finding the perfect home, their experienced team ensures a smooth relocation process. They provide tailored support, from understanding tenancy agreements to securing reliable guarantors, making your move to London as stress-free as possible.


Understanding the role of guarantors for private renters is essential when navigating London’s rental market. A guarantor provides landlords with peace of mind, ensuring rent is paid and property conditions are maintained. Whether you’re a student, new to the UK, or facing financial scrutiny, knowing the ins and outs of guarantor requirements can significantly impact your ability to secure a rental home. From the responsibilities of a guarantor to the legalities involved, being well-informed can help you avoid potential pitfalls.

If you don’t have a guarantor, options like paying more rent in advance or using rent guarantor agencies are viable alternatives. For those sharing accommodation, understanding joint liability and negotiating limited liability for your guarantor can make a big difference. is here to help you through this process. With their expertise, you can find the perfect rental property and navigate guarantor requirements with ease. Whether you need advice on tenancy agreements or help securing a guarantor, their experienced team is ready to assist. Don’t let the complexity of London’s rental market overwhelm you. Get in touch with today and make your move to London as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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What to do if I can’t find a guarantor?

If you can’t find a guarantor, consider paying more rent in advance or using a rent guarantor agency to provide the necessary security for landlords.

What are the alternatives to rent guarantors?

Alternatives include paying several months of rent upfront, using a rent guarantor agency, or applying for discretionary housing payments if eligible.

Who can be my guarantor?

A guarantor can be a parent, relative, friend, or anyone willing to take on the responsibility. They usually need to be financially stable and based in the UK.

How to get a UK guarantor as an international student?

International students can use rent guarantor agencies that cater to non-UK residents. These agencies act as guarantors for a fee, providing the necessary assurance to landlords.

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