How To Get A UK Guarantor For Student Accommodation

Guarantor For Student Accommodation

No idea why, but I’ve noticed a sudden spike in emails from concerned students, many of them international, enquiring about how to overcome the requirement of a Guarantor (because they don’t have one), in order to stand a better chance of finding private student accommodation.

I suspect one of my blog posts on tenant guarantors – which are all geared towards assisting private tenants – has pleased Google in one way or another, and it’s climbed up the rankings. Alas, I don’t have any specific information to help students, so most likely proved to be useless for the future generation. But I’m about to change that!

Most landlords WILL require a UK based guarantor (even from international students)

Yes, it’s perfectly normal. Don’t feel discriminated against or hard done by, although I appreciate it can make it difficult for those that aren’t in a position to provide a guarantor (for whatever reason). The reality is, students are high-risk tenants. Please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying.

So, in fact, I’d argue that any landlord that doesn’t require a guarantor from a student, or at least negotiate an alternative arrangement to compensate for the lack thereof, is careless.

A guarantor is a useful tool for landlords to help mitigate their risks against losses, including rent arrears and expenses to cover damages.

Landlords will usually require a UK based guarantor, which can often be a problem for overseas students. But then again, it’s also a common problem for UK Citizens, particularly if their family support network or their parents don’t earn enough to qualify as a suitable guarantor.

Your best options (if you’re a student without a qualifying guarantor)…

First and foremost, I’m going to presume the following obvious steps have been taken and/or are not relevant:

  1. Talk to your university/college – if you’re struggling to find accommodation, the institute where you’re studying will likely have a system in place to help. In some cases, they will have an obligation to assist. So it’s always worth contacting them to find out the situation.
  2. Negotiate with the landlord/agent – often landlords/letting agents will imply that a guarantor is mandatory, but it’s entirely possible to negotiate with them, especially if you’re willing to pay above the asking price. That can sometimes sweeten the deal.

    Some students are prepared to pay a significant amount of rent upfront (i.e. several months), but I personally advise against using this as a bargaining chip, because it will put you in a vulnerable situation, and quite frankly, at the mercy of the landlord. For example, if your landlord turns out to be a scumbag, it will be more difficult to vacate and recoup your money.

  3. Find student accommodation that doesn’t require a guarantor – while your options will become limited, it’s entirely possible to find landlords that don’t require a guarantor. The best place to look are tenant-find portals which specialise in student accommodation:

If they’re not feasible or relevant…

Use a Private Guarantor Company

Over the recent years, companies have been set up to help students without a UK guarantor. Essentially, they will act as your guarantor (i.e. they will guarantee your rent), usually for the whole of your tenancy, in return for a service charge (prices can vary).

The most popular companies offering student Guarantor services seem to be the following:

UK Private Guarantor Companies for Students
Guarantor ServiceRatingNotesPrice From
Rating

4.5

TrustPilot Reviews
Notes

  • Available to students and persons in employment
  • Available to people receiving benefits and/or with poor credit history
  • Online application
  • Instant quote (after completing application)
Price
£249
Per annum
More Info
Rating

4.6

TrustPilot Reviews
Notes

  • Available to students only!
  • Online application
  • Possible to secure a UK Guarantor on the same day you apply
  • Price guarantee (will refund you the difference if you find a better price)
Price
£249
Per annum
More Info
Rating

4.3

TrustPilot Reviews
Notes

  • Available to students and professionals
  • Online application
  • You can pay their fee over 8 months
Price
£336
Per annum
More Info

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each company up-to-date, but you should read the T&C’s from their website for the most up-to-date information.

The typical sign-up process

  1. Find your new accommodation
  2. Complete an application to determine whether they will act as your guarantor

In order to apply, you will usually need the following:

  1. Proof of Study – correspondence from University, UCAS form or a Student ID.
  2. Proof of ID – passport, drivers license or a national ID document.
  3. Co-Signer – this can be a parent, family member or friend, and is used as a point of contact. As long as they’re working and over the age 18 they’ll usually be suitable (they won’t be credit checked).

Don’t forget to do your due diligence

Before I sign off, I do want to emphasise how important it is to do your due diligence when choosing your private student accommodation. Unfortunately, there are plenty of rogue tenants and landlords alike, roaming the streets, eager to take advantage of desperation. So even though you might feel a sense of desperation due to the lack of guarantor, please do NOT allow that to be a reason to lose grip of your common sense.

For example:

  • Ensure the landlord actually is who he/she says they are (i.e. check their identity and proof of ownership)
  • Ensure the property is safe
  • Ensure the landlord has fulfilled their legal obligations e.g. gas safety checks, electrical safety checks, has the relevant license(s) etc.

For more information, I have a whole host of blog posts, full of tips to help you along your way, in my Checklist For New Tenants section.

Right, so I hope that’s been useful.

I wish you the best of luck.

If anyone has any experience with a private guarantor company, I’d love to hear your feedback.

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