You might need a guarantor for your tenancy. This is someone who promises to pay the rent, or pay for any damage, if you do not.
What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who promises to pay anything you owe the landlord. This can include
- rent you haven't paid
- the cost to repair damages to the property
- rent or damages owed by other people you live with.
Who can be your guarantor?
There are no rules about who can be a guarantor. But, most landlords will ask for someone who lives in Northern Ireland and
- owns a house or property, or
- earns over a certain amount.
These requirements can be difficult for some people. Get advice if you're having problems finding a guarantor.
What if you don't have a guarantor?
The landlord or agent may not agree to let you live in a property if you can't find a guarantor. The guarantor reduces the risk to the landlord, so you could think about other ways you can reduce the risk. You could offer to
- pay a higher deposit, or
- use a deposit alternative as an insurance policy against damage.
Acting as a guarantor for someone
Make sure you understand what you've agreed to before you sign as someone else's guarantor. You could end up with a large bill, or with a court judgment against you, if
- the person you've guaranteed doesn't pay their rent
- the person you've guaranteed causes damage in the property, or
- other people in the property owe rent or caused damage.
Whose responsibilities are you guaranteeing?
You could be asked to cover money owed by the other people living in the property, if
- the tenancy agreement says it is joint and several, and
- the guarantee they signed is not limited to an individual's debts.
Read a guarantee deed carefully before you sign it. Ask the landlord to write the deed in plain language if it is not clear whose debts you will be responsible for. You can negotiate if you are not happy with what it says.
How long does a guarantee agreement last?
The guarantee will last until
- the tenancy ends and the tenant moves out, or
- it is replaced by a new guarantee agreement.
It can last for a lot longer than the term of the original tenancy agreement.
Get advice if you're being asked to cover debts that you thought you were no longer responsible for.