Most landlords and letting agents require a UK resident to act as a guarantor for your tenancy – find out how to get one and what you need to do.

What is a guarantor? 

A guarantor agrees to take liability for any unpaid rent or charges above the security deposit amount.

Guarantor requirements

You may be asked to nominate someone to act as your guarantor before you sign your tenancy agreement. You should ask your landlord or letting agent what their guarantor requirements are before paying a holding deposit.

A guarantor agrees to cover the costs of things like rent, bills or damages, if you fail to pay.

A guarantor can be a:

  • parent
  • guardian
  • family member
  • friend.

Your guarantor must be:

  • based in the UK
  • a homeowner
  • have a minimum household income per year (usually 36x your share of the monthly rent).

A guarantor signs their own legal agreement, which outlines their responsibilities.

Important: Be aware that if you live with others and sign a joint tenancy agreement, your guarantor may be responsible for the costs of the entire property (such as the whole rent and not just your share) if your housemates do not pay. Ask your landlord or letting agent about their process for recovering unpaid costs.

You and your guarantor should understand the responsibilities you both have before you commit to the agreement.

If you are unable to provide a guarantor, the landlord or letting agent may ask for six to 12 months’ rent to be paid in advance, or may allow the use of a guarantor service.

Shelter has some additional information regarding guarantor requirements.

If you don't have a guarantor

If you can’t pay the rent in advance, or do not know someone who can be your guarantor, there are private guarantor companies that, for a fee, will act as your guarantor.

Not all landlords or letting agents accept guarantor services and some have preferred service providers, so it is important that you check with them before you commit to a property, sign any paperwork, or pay a holding deposit. Two of the most common guarantor services are Housing Hand and Rent Guarantor.

Before choosing a private guarantor, you must do your research – find a company suitable for you, check their terms and conditions, and look through reviews from previous customers.

The charges for these services vary, but will typically be equivalent to 60% to 95% of one month’s rent. For example, if your share of the monthly rent is £500, you could be charged up to £475 to use the service. They will usually allow you to split this across monthly payments.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, the University may be able to offer support through a Welfare Loan or the Hardship Fund.

Find out about financial support at Sussex.

Important: If you do not pay for costs during the tenancy, such as your rent, the guarantor service will compensate the landlord. The guarantor service will then endeavour to recover these costs from you, and may take court action if necessary.

Not all guarantor schemes will guarantee rent for students with families, or they may have conditions attached, so be prepared to check with a scheme before relying on using their services.

University of Sussex rent guarantor scheme

In some cases, we can act as a guarantor for you. There is no monthly fee associated with this, although an administration charge will apply if you are accepted on to the scheme.

Find out about our guarantor scheme.

Get a reduced rate for guarantor services

We have teamed up with Housing Hand to give you a reduced rate for their rent guarantor services. This can provide an additional option for students who may not meet the University’s rent guarantor scheme.

Housing Hand services come with a fee and not all landlords or letting agents accept private guarantor companies, so we strongly recommend asking if Housing Hand are accepted when booking any property viewings and before signing any paperwork for the property if you intend to use them.

Find out more about the reduced rate for Housing Hand’s rent guarantor services.

Properties without a guarantor requirement 

Most resident landlords do not require you to have a guarantor. A resident landlord is a landlord who resides in the same property as you, and will typically have more flexible requirements.

Find out more about resident landlords.

Private halls providers

Some private halls providers accept international guarantors, who do not need to reside in the UK. 

Find out more about private halls.

See more from Signing a tenancy agreement